Monday, February 13, 2006

OK, now they've gone too far...

The latest review for Dr. Phil McGraw's Love Smart is by a reviewer using the pseudonym "Library Journal." This is dirty pool, folks, since there is, in fact, a respected publication called Library Journal, which does indeed review books (among them, SHAM, back in June. I'd include the link, but you'd have to subscribe to see it, and it costs $149/year. I know how much you love the book and want to voraciously devour everything ever written about it, but...). There is something particularly odious about this attempt to confer credibility on one's review by using--which is to say, stealing for yourself--the name of an actual publication. It's as if I sat down and wrote a review for SHAM under the name "The Wall Street Journal." (Thankfully, The Wall Street Journal reviewed my book on its own, and glowingly so. Again, you'd have to pay money--a lot of it--to see that review in the flesh.)

What's even flukier is that the reviewer spends much of his/her time talking about another book, Smart Man Hunting by Liz Kelly, that apparently is reviewed in Library Journal (the real one) this week. So perhaps this is Ms. Kelly's way of trying to horn in on Dr. Phil's action by cross-referencing her own book?

The more I continue tracking the reviews for Love Smart, the more I have people in the industry telling me things like, "Hey, chill out, Steve, this kind of stuff happens all the time." Still, it boggles my mind that no one polices the situation more closely...or that no one even cares to.

UPDATE, 7:30 p.m. I'm sure they'll correct it before long--I can't imagine that even Amazon would put up with this--but the first five reviews of Love Smart right now all belong to one "Tracy Miller" of Rochester, NY. All identical, all posted today sometime. Oh, and guess who's back with a brand-new date again? Do the initials (Dr.)MRB mean anything...?

UPDATE, 9 p.m. "Tracy Miller" is down to a single review (as it should be). Interestingly--and I hadn't noticed this earlier--"Marilyn R. Barry" reappeared with a fresh date on the heels of a scathing 1-star review, "You could have said it better yourself," by "Goody2Shoes." I give you "Goody's" first line, a true classic: "If Dr. Phil was a single woman aged 30-60 and he wrote this book, he would have to wear a paper bag over his head to keep women from beating him with their briefcase." Naturally, the McGraw camp couldn't let that stand...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it isn't a real Library Journal review? I'd have thought approppriating their name would be illegal.

Steve Salerno said...

I thought of that--and if it turns out to be the case here, I will offer my profound mea culpas. However, I find it highly unlikely that a publication would take it upon itself to post a review on an author's site; normally that's something Amazon reserves the right to do, and the reviews in such cases get special placement above the reader reviews. And if this really is the authentic Library Journal, I think (a) the name would look more official than it does on the Love Smart posting, and (b) why is this only the third review "Library Journal" has seen fit to post...among the hundreds of thousands of books featured on Amazon? Is Dr. Phil really *that* special?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps an e-mail to the real Library Journal inquiring about this is in order.