Grading books on a curve ➚

Via Marginal Revolution, I found this Guardian article on a study that compared professional reviews to Amazon reviews. The Guardian’s summary:

Amazon reviewers were more likely to give a favourable review to a debut author, which the Harvard academics said suggested that “one drawback of expert reviews is that they may be slower to learn about new and unknown books”.

Professional critics were more positive about prizewinning authors, and “more favourable to authors who have garnered other attention in the press (as measured by number of media mentions outside of the review)”.

I have some qualms about the methodology, but I’m glad that someone has started this kind of research. I’m not surprised by the above results. I’ll note that I have only read the news article on the study, What Makes a Critic Tick?, not the study itself. Sometimes news articles aren’t so good with the summarizing.


Administrivia: With this post, I am trying out a new method of posting about links (rather than Link Irresponsibly roundups) that is provided by the new template. I’m sure it’ll look good on the site, but I’m not as certain how it will show up in RSS. I’ll be playing with it until it works like I like, so bear with me.

Edit: On the web site, this post appears in truncated form on the front page. Normally, you would click on the title to take you to the main post. But that takes you to the target of the link instead. To get to the main post, you’ll need to click on the timestamp to the left of the title. As these things aren’t 100% clear, I’m going to think about changing that up. But obviously not tonight. There are probably similar issues with the RSS.

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