While I was building the new Contests feature for BookBlitzer, I read a handful of articles about on paying for book reviews. It seems that it’s largely dependent upon the author/editor about whether “paid” reviews can be unbiased or not since $$$ is involved.
Interestingly enough, I found that many of the detractors of paid or “expedited” reviews are also typically detractors of self-published books, POD books, and now independent-authored eBooks. The establishment/industry doesn’t seem to like us newcomers very much.
The question that seems to be missed is why did POD publishing become popular in the first place? The reason is because the publishing industry couldn’t keep up with increasing demand and there are so many decent authors (and/or books) who couldn’t get “published”.
The same holds true with book-reviews — there are simply so many books out there now that traditional book-reviewers simply can’t keep up with the demand and authors are wasting valuable time and money trying to get good, honest reviews.
BookBlitzer was created to give authors more control of the review process, primarily by providing them the means to name their own price and choose reviewers. Authors can spend an enormous amount of time and money trying to get reviews for their books, with little or no real results. BookBlitzer has the capability to change that.
We encourage our reviewers to write decent, thoughtful, and HONEST reviews about each book they review. Many reviewers are new to the process, and the quality of the reviews will improve with time and practice (just like writing books). But at $10-20 per review (at least for mine), the reviewers are much more likely to write honest reviews than a reviewer at other sites which require $50, $100, or even $250 for a review.
With the advent of POD publishing and Kindle eBooks, the publishing industry is rapidly changing AWAY from the traditional publishing houses/markets and now the authors are taking the future of their books into their own hands — where it should’ve been all along.
The same will likely hold true for book-reviews — especially in a market being flooded by new and unknown authors seeking new readers for their books.