Book reviews can be based on opinions and are not necessarily fact-based. However, before they get published, some book reviews might get peer-reviewed, but then again, most do not. Book reviews are not often peer-reviewed. Book reviews that are not scholarly aren’t peer-reviewed.
Continue reading to learn about the instances where a book review does and doesn’t need to be peer-reviewed before publication.
Why Book Reviews Are Not Peer Reviewed
Book reviews for significant sites and platforms are naturally sent through editing and proofreading channels to ensure they fit the standard.
However, it’s improbable that a book review will be peer-reviewed before publication. A peer review isn’t needed when editing and proofreading are already implemented, primarily because book reviews are opinion-based and thus can’t generally be peer-reviewed.
Editors and proofreaders can point out issues or potential changes during the review process, send the review back and ask that specific changes be made.
Once all the necessary changes are made, the reviewer’s work will be published. However, not every book review is considered for publishing, especially if you’re trying to get published on a well-known, mainstream platform.
Publishers on a platform can send your manuscript to external editors, reviewers, or copywriters to decide which reviews to accept and which to reject. This is typical for a more prominent organization, which means you won’t have to go out on your own and pay someone to edit, proofread, and review your work.
Emerald Publishing provides book review formats with examples that you can use to structure your book reviews.
Book Reviews for the Casual Writer
The question of “to peer review or not to peer review” is quite simple if you’re not reviewing for a significant network. Peer reviews are not needed for a personal blog or an author who has approached you to review their book.
Casual writers, hobbyist reviewers, and people starting their reviewing careers don’t need to consider peer reviewing their book reviews, as they can publish what they like on their sites or online forums.
Even if they plan to profit off their reviews, they don’t need to put their review through peer review or editing and proofreading before putting their work out there. That said, peer-reviewing your work can significantly benefit you if you need feedback and want to learn more about book reviews.
How To Get a Book Review Peer Reviewed
We know that a book review will seldom require peer review. That’s not to say that you can’t go out on your own to get your review peer-reviewed if you feel it would help you improve your work.
If you are self-publishing a book review, you can seek peer reviewing online if you want.
It’s quite simple and accessible to find peer reviewing services, and it can be pretty beneficial. There are countless forums and online communities for writers. Community members share their writing and advice and will gladly review or comment on others’ work.
The forums you can visit to find inspiration and feedback are WritingForums.org, Mythic Scribes, and Wattpad. The most significant advantage of seeking feedback on community groups, forums, and websites is that they are free.
Professional review services can become quite costly, which won’t be worthwhile if you’re writing book reviews for a casual purpose like a personal blog. You can freely access advice, information, and new ideas from fellow writers who, like you, are trying to improve their skills and possibly publish their work.
The average amount that reviews and editing services charge depends on the word count and type of editing you want. The more demanding the editing process, the more money you will pay.
Consider that reviewers who work for major networks and publish on mainstream, well-known platforms likely don’t need peer reviewing or proofreading as much as beginners, as they have honed their craft significantly.
Exceptions: Scholarly Journals and Academic Papers
Book reviews more commonly sent for peer review relate to an academic journal or scholarly book. These include textbook reviews, journal articles, and other books with literary value.
Sometimes these reviews don’t get peer-reviewed. Still, they get set to an editor or proofreader to ensure that the review fits their standards and desired format.
Formatting and Guidelines for Book Reviews
Writing style and standard formatting differ from journal to journal, so in the case of an academic book review, you must consider who you’re hoping to publish your review with.
However, even journals that commission book reviews rarely send these reviews for peer reviewing.
Usually, a book review is handled by an in-house editor, copy editor, or proofreader. So, although this is the only situation where a book review could be peer-reviewed, it’s not common.
See USC Libraries for more information on how to write an effective academic book review and how to format scholarly book reviews correctly. Note that this is a general guideline and does not reflect the preferences of every platform.
An example of a journal with specific formatting requirements is IJKIE Journal. This is a scholarly source that publishes books and book reviews. They have a detailed list of formatting guidelines, line spacing, and indentation.
Book reviews are rarely peer-reviewed because they’re predominantly based on opinion and not hard truth.
Though not necessary and hardly ever done, peer-reviewing a book review can be valuable if you seek to publish your review. However, you probably wouldn’t even consider this unless you publish on a major platform due to the cost of editing and reviewing services.