Every day, the Book Marks staff scours the most important and active outlets of literary journalism in the US—from established national broadsheets to regional weeklies and alternative litblogs—and logs their book reviews. When a book is reviewed by at least three outlets, each of those reviews is assigned an individual rating (Rave, Positive, Mixed or Pan). These ratings are then averaged into a result and the book becomes part of our Book Marks database.
Each book’s cumulative rating functions as both a general critical assessment, and, more significantly, as an introduction to the range of voices and opinions that make up the world of American literary criticism. These opinions are accompanied by pull quotes representative of the overall stance of each individual review, and readers can click through to the full review at its source.
Readers can express their own opinions alongside those of the critics in each book page’s What Did You Think Of… comments section.
Book Marks exists to serve as a consolidated information resource for the reading public and a link between the worlds of literary creation, criticism and consumption. We hope it will bring more attention to great books and great criticism.
The writing community benefits from a multiplicity of voices.
We’re eager to hear yours.
Are all reviews weighted equally in creating an overall grade?
Yes. All accepted reviews are created equal.
I’m a writer/reader/publicist/critic/curious human, how can I get in touch with Book Marks?
We’re always excited to hear your thoughts. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do lists and interviews count as reviews?
Lists do, as long as they contain a substantive critique. Interviews do not.
Are trade reviews included?
Yes. Trade reviews are now included.
Can I see all the books an individual critic has reviewed? Yes. Just click on a critic’s name and you’ll be taken to their page, allowing you to see every on-site book they have reviewed, and to engage more deeply with their work.
Can I see the individual rating for each review?
Yes. Each individual review pull quote on site is accompanied a representative rating.
Can I see the Book Marks Rating System? Yes!
Compelling content · Does something new / profound with form · Reviewer enthuses
Compelling content and competent form, or vice versa · Flawed in a way that slightly diminishes the book but doesn’t destroy it
Book has some good points either in content or in form but flawed in a way that is distracting
Totally or mostly negative · Book may be structured around a decent idea but is deeply flawed
I’m a professional book reviewer. Can I assign my own rating to my own review?
Of course! We care about reflecting your critical opinions as accurately as possible, and encourage you get in touch if feel your review has been assigned an inaccurate rating. If we receive a rating from a critic, we will always use it on our site.
While we understand it may be difficult to summarize the nuance and complexity of a review into a single word rating, we believe that Book Marks will lead more readers to your reviews, and amplify your voice in a way that benefits readers and writers alike.
How are Biggest New Books decided?
Biggest New Books are selected based on the number of reviews received, the number of award wins and nominations garnered, and the level of general media and word-of-mouth buzz surrounding each book’s release. Selected books will appear in this section for a maximum of 90 days.
How is the Review of the Day selected? Each day we select a notable recent book review to spotlight, with an emphasis on showcasing both quality criticism and a diverse range of titles, voices and review publications.
What constitutes a Classic Review? We dig through the archives of a selection of long-running publications to find reviews of classic titles from the past 100 years. Winners and finalists of major awards, cult classics, and books that influenced or reflected seminal historic moments/eras will all be included.
What is the First Readers’ Club Galley Giveaway? The First Readers’ Club Galley Giveaway is a chance for Book Marks fans to receive an advanced reader’s copy of some of the most anticipated titles of the year ahead, weeks before the publication date.
How are review outlets selected?
Our growing list of review outlets includes publications large and small, national and regional. As well as consolidating the reviews of the nation’s major literary critics, our aim is to represent the views of as broad a range of active and visited outlets as possible.
Check out our full list below:
4 Columns . The Asian Review of Books . Asymptote . The Atlantic · The AV Club · The Baffler . Baltimore City Paper · The Barnes & Noble Review · The Believer · BOMB . Bookforum · Booklist . BookPage . Bookslut · The Boston Globe · Broadly . The Buffalo News . The Chicago Reader · The Chicago Review of Books . The Chicago Tribune · The Christian Science Monitor · The Cleveland Plain Dealer · Creative Loafing (Atlanta) · Crime Fiction Lover . Crime Spree . Criminal Element . The Daily Beast . The Dallas Morning News · The Denver Post . The East Bay Times . Ebony . The Economist . Electric Literature · Elle · Entertainment Weekly · Esquire · Fiction Writers Review . Financial Times . Flavorwire · Full Stop . The Guardian US · Guernica . Harper’s · The Houston Chronicle . The Huffington Post · The Kansas City Star · Kirkus . Lambda Literary . The Las Vegas Weekly · Library Journal . LitReactor · The Los Angeles Review of Books · The Los Angeles Times · The Memphis Flyer · The Miami Herald · The Millions · The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . The Minneapolis Star Tribune · Mother Jones · The Nashville Scene · The Nation · The National Book Review . The New Republic · Newsday · The New York Daily News · New York Magazine/Vulture · The New York Review of Books · The New York Times · The New Yorker · NPR · O: The Oprah Magazine · Paste · People Magazine . The Philadelphia Inquirer · The Philly Voice . The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette · The Portland Mercury · The Portland Press Herald . Publishers Weekly . The Real Book Spy . The Rumpus · The Sacramento News & Review · Salon · The San Francisco Chronicle · The Seattle Review of Books . The Seattle Times · Shelf Awareness . The Shepard Express (Milwaukee) · Slate · The St. Louis Post-Dispatch · The Stranger · The Tampa Bay Times · TIME · Time Out New York · Tor . The Toronto Star . USA Today · VICE · The Village Voice · Vogue · Vox . The Wall Street Journal · The Washington Independent Review of Books . The Washington Post . Wired . Zyzzyva
Think an outlet merits inclusion but isn’t listed above? Let us know.