Professional Book Reviews: List of Paid Book Review Sites

In our latest annual publishing industry research, in which where we polled hundreds of publishers, publicists and writers, 91.2% reporting that professional book reviews are important or very important. This is no surprise, as countless studies of consumers all industries consistently show that in terms of influencing sales, reviews are as statistically powerful as recommendations from friends and families.

In an age where any reader can post amateur ratings and reviews books on sites like Amazon, GoodReads and Barnes and Noble, discerning readers still look for independent sources to make their books stand out from the rest. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, books with critical acclaim have a leg up on the competition.

How Professional Book Reviews Compare with Movie and TV Reviews 

The need for independent professional reviews is not limited to the book world. It pertains to movie marketing as well.

Look no further than Rotten Tomatoes, that wellspring of cinematic knowledge, employs both critic scores and audience scores to cast a discerning eye upon the reception of movies and TV shows. The critic scores, determined by seasoned reviewers from established publications, provide an authoritative measure of the film’s merit. These individuals are oftentimes esteemed practitioners of the craft, experts in the field who have dedicated their lives to the study of cinema.Professional Book Reviews - list of paid review services

In contrast, the audience scores are reflections of the opinions of the common viewer. These scores, garnered from individuals who have invested their time in viewing the film, offer a glimpse into how the movie has resonated with the public. Through the combination of both scores, Rotten Tomatoes paints a complete picture of the film’s overall reception. The result is a powerful tool for those seeking to make informed decisions about what they watch, as well as to uncover those films and TV shows that are held in high regard by critics and audiences alike.

How The Profile of Book Reviewers Has Changed

Once upon a time, every small, mid and major market newspaper, most magazines, and virtually every weekly publication had salaried book reviewers on staff. These reviewers were often journalists with journalism degrees.

That all changed with one-two punch of the digitization of media and the Great Recession. With the exception of a chosen few publications such as the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, many professional book reviewers have been downsized or eliminated.

This dire situation has left independent authors vying for the attention of a precious few book reviewers – the same few that are already working with major publishers. And to be completely realistic, if you’re a genre writer – romance, mystery, horror, thrillers and the like – your odds of getting reviewed by mainstream publications aren’t much better than winning the lottery. For the most part, reviewers at mainstream publications prefer to take on either non-fiction or “literature” that doesn’t fit neatly into any genre.

That’s why today professional book reviewers are far less likely to work at major newspapers. While there are still journalists who work in the field, there are also many librarians and professionals with publishing industry experience or a strong passion for literature. Compared with decades past, these individuals are now more likely to write for companies that specialize in professional book reviews than newspapers or magazines.

List of Professional Book Review Outlets

To help, here’s a list of several paid book review services that work with independent authors and small publishers [full disclosure: reviews mystery and thriller books].


Professional book reviews by BestThrillers.comPublishing since 2010, is solely focused on the mystery and thriller genres. We do not discriminate between independent authors or books from large publishers and everyone in between. Fees range from $199-$499, with turnaround times ranging from two weeks to nine weeks.

Reviews are posted on, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Goodreads and distributed to our list of email subscribers.

2) Midwest Book Reviews

Midwest professional book reviewsPublishing since 1976, the MBR reviews books “free of charge.” The service begins with a 4-6 week “window of opportunity,” during which a review could be assigned to a reviewer (it’s not guaranteed). Next comes a $50 “reading fee” if your book does find a reviewer.

Here is the MBR’s policy on format as of this writing: “We review audiobooks, CDs, and DVDs, but we can only accept physical review copies in CD, MP3-CD, or DVD format. We cannot accept download links, digital media, or digital media that has been “burned” to a CD.” Check with MBR on process and pricing.

3) Clarion Reviews

Clarion Reviews is the paid book review arm of Foreward Reviews. Clarion offers constructive feedback to improve books and is used as a valuable marketing tool to help sell books.

The service is clear and straightforward. As of the time of this writing, reviews cost $499 per book with an express delivery option of 4-6 weeks. Check with Clarion for the latest information on process and pricing.

4) Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus professional book reviewsKirkus has reviewed America’s top publishers since 1933. As of the time of this publication, indie book reviews take 7-9 weeks. As of the time of this writing, prices range from $450 to $750. Check with Kirkus for the latest information on process and pricing.


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