I was thinking how really nice it would be if a million readers would march into their favorite bookstore and order a copy of the new Science Fiction Trails. That would just be wonderful. Alas, that ain't gonna happen.
One thing that bugs me when I read reviews, both professional and amateur, is when the reviewer trashes the book or magazine or movie, but provides no examples to support the assertion. Case in point, there is a new anthology out that I wanted the local library to get. I mainly wanted it because a lot of the stories are written by people I know and I'm too cheap to buy it myself. Well, the library is not very enthusiastic. Their reasoning is there aren't any reviews out about it in any of the review places like Publishers Weekly, etc. And, the reviews on Amazon are negative.
The reviews on Amazon are often written by simpletons. Most of the time they're overly positive and written by friends of the author. The opposite, where an enemy of the author bashes a book relentlessly also happens. My friend Dan had four reviews pulled by Amazon without explanation at all. So, Amazon reader reviews are pretty much garbage. Most folks know that, but not my librarian. Concerning the anthology I inquired about, there are two reader reviews, actually. One is positive, but no examples are given. The other very negative, saying the book is no good, but providing no examples for why this is so. Hence, my assertion the reviews are crap. I'm not saying the name of the book. If I break down and buy it I may review it at some point and my review will have examples for why I like or don't like it. I don't review stuff often, but I know how and can do it when I want to. I'm reviewing the process, not the specific book today.
So, what's a prospective reader to do? I do not know. I've sometimes wanted to offer reviews at my magazine, Science Fiction Trails, but there are so few western sci fi books that it's hopeless. It probably doesn't matter anyway. My science fiction short story collection Flying Saucer Stories got some awesome reviews and no one ever buys it.