The Ethics of Blurbs vs Reviews

I’ve been asking around and trying to find people who would do book reviews for me. I asked one literary friend and she emailed back that she couldn’t do it because it would be unethical. I didn’t really understand. I had asked friends/writing mentors to do blurbs, but I couldn’t do the same with reviews? Why the difference?

Here’s what I learned.

Reviews are supposed to be unbiased responses to the book.

Blurbs are understood to be marketing tools. They are done as a favor. Blurbs are a two or three sentence overview of the book to give an average reader an idea of the book to see if they are interested in reading it.


Reviews are opinions from people within the book industry. Being a reviewer can be a paid job. The reviewer must be free and unattached to the writer.

My friend Lisa Ohlen Harris wrote a great blog post on the ethics of book the review. She also wrote a post on how she started to write book reviews.

Want to read a few reviews to get a handle on what they are? Here’s three of the big players:
The New York Times Books, Kirkus Reviews, NPR Reviews.

And the grandmother of them all: Oprah.

PHOTO: Cotton chitengi fabric purchased in Kalabo Zambia, in a kiosk named “No Sweat, No Sweet.” 

Jill Kandel
  • Gianna
    Posted at 17:45h, 28 October Reply

    That’s so, is it?

    I just keep learning.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 05:54h, 29 October Reply

      Me, too. Just when you think you know it all … you don’t!

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