Review Methodology

It is important for you, the visitor to this site, to understand what I do - and don't do - when reviewing books. Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of Awful Books is that I DON'T review the quality of the writing. It doesn't matter to me if I'm reviewing the latest and greatest Stephen King epic or something your kid sibling convinced a publisher to print. What does matter, though, is the care in which that prose is packaged. This is the reason for Awful Books' existence.

A book is evaluated here primarily based on three factors:

A book that leaves a positive impression on me must possess these elements. If any one of the above is severely lacking, the book will probably not receive a good rating.

What does that mean? Let's take a hypothetical example. A book is published by a small press at a $250 MSRP, which is a typical price for a lettered edition. It comes with a nice customized traycase, a 250+ pagecount, and the book itself is bound in leather and includes special endpapers, a frontispiece of the numbered dustjacket artwork, an extra section, and a few other nice enhancements from the numbered run. As such, this book will likely receive high marks on here.

However, a $250 book that is only 150 pages, comes with an unremarkable traycase, and is otherwise the same as its $40 numbered counterpart will probably receive a very negative rating. Its value-for-money is extremely low, even if the author is famous worldwide.

There are five tiers in which books will fall:

Of course, these are, except for third-party reviews, MY opinions. However, I try to base them on objective and measurable qualities. This is another reason why I don't review prose, as that is extremely subjective (and, to be brutally honest, I just don't have the time to critique both). Please keep this in mind before sending me hatemail because I've atomized a book from a beloved author. The writer isn't my target and never will be, but rather how much care was put to present the author's material versus the assigned MSRP. A stellar presentation = a high recommendation. A lazy presentation = stay far, far away.

Now, go read the reviews (or better yet, send me one)!