Unless you have a lot of free time on your
hands, chances are you don’t spend hours online, scouring newspapers and
magazines for book reviews.
Which can be a problem if you’re a book
lover looking for something great to read.
And even if you do have the time, chances
are The New York Times probably has a
different opinion of a title than The New
Yorker does. And don’t get us
started on People vs. the not-always-kosher
reader reviews on Amazon and GoodReads where, as a Cornell sociologist recently
pointed out (referring to Amazon), “…a very good book could be killed by a
group of people for malicious reasons.”
Sounds crazy that a small group of people
(or, sock puppets, who post fake online reviews that wreak havoc with the whole
system) could have so much power over how certain books are judged. And choosing your next read is hard enough
without a Mission Impossible-type counter espionage scenario going on. The truth is, even if there’s not any
hanky panky, there’s still the question of whether a title is worth the cash
and time it will take you to read it.
So where can a book-lover go to find a compilation
of trusted reviews and a snapshot rating of the newest traditionally published
titles or a brilliant place to sort out all those indies?
The answer is Rabble, a website that will
aggregate trusted, verified reviews into consensus, like Metacritic and Rotten
Tomatoes do for movies. Rabble’s team, made
up of zealous and intrepid book-lovers (and many of the same people who brought
you IndieReader), will scour the publishing landscape, pull a sentence or two from each review (pre-vetted to
insure its credibility, with a link to the complete review source) and come up
with a consensus for a final Rabble score—to insure that you, the
busy reader, don’t have to.
In addition to being able to see
immediately where a book rates on the Rabble scale, the site will also be a
brilliant place to explore. There will be lists, via the Rabble Listatron
300, that include the best to worst rated titles, author
interviews, and much much, more. And for
the first time anywhere, indie titles—those cool books that are being picked up
weekly by the Big 5 publishers but are still mostly shunned by mainstream reviewers—will
rub shoulders with traditionally published books, just like god intended.
Fact is, the publishing world is changing
faster than you can say Random-Penguin-Schuster. Indie bookstores, those
bastions of helpfulness which gleefully recommended the best new titles, are
scarce. What's needed, almost more than another season of Homeland (right NOW), is a great place to find out how your faves rate, and discover new authors and
With your help, Rabble will be that
Back in ’07, when self-published books
were still considered mostly vanity projects, Amy Holman Edelman—author,
voracious reader and life-long PR pro—launched IndieReader, the essential
consumer guide to self published books and the people who write them. Today, IR
gets over 100,000 visitors a month and its weekly best seller list is a
must-read for those in both the trad and indie publishing biz.
Tyler is the owner of Tyler Doornbos Design and has been
IndieReader’s “resident geek” since its launch in ‘07. He designs, builds and
keeps the show running from the technical side and aims to do the same for
Daniel is the author of the independently published comic book “The Portland Underground” and a contributing columnist at IndieReader. He also works as a freelance filmmaker and is the person responsible for bringing those drunken sock puppets Zelda and Erwin to life for the Rabble Kickstarter project.