Some of the benefits of getting reviewed on the web:
- More accessible. Anyone with a computer can find you.
- Free, both to read and to publish.
- Easier to network. One person reviews your book, another blogger reads the review and links to it, someone visiting the blog clicks on the link, then clicks to Amazon for more info. People are more likely to search for further information that's just a mouse-click away than if they have to boot up their computer or go to a bookstore to find out more.
- Endless space. Unlike print publications, web zines can publish as much as they want without fear of wasting money or precious trees. That means more books getting reviewed.
- More personal. Usually there isn't a huge corporation behind a web publication. For the most part, it's one or two people who started the website for the love of books. There are less hoops to jump through to get a book reviewed, unlike a print publication where a book passes through a few pairs of hands before reaching someone who'd actually consider reading it.
So what are the downfalls? Prestige for one. Despite our shift toward a digital society, we still deem newspaper blurbs more prestigious. Maybe it's because you know that anyone getting reviewed in a print publication had to jump through all those hoops. Maybe it's because a newspaper is tangible. Either way, a blurb from the New York Times or the Washington Post holds a lot more weight than that of a web zine.
But which sells more books? A publication that anyone can stumble across or one that you have to go out and purchase? Yes, a blurb from a newspaper would grab people's attention, but when the odds are stacked against you, isn't it better to send your ARCs to those more likely to review it? And what is more important, prestige or book sales?
Yes, I am still one of the rare few that prefers to get my fingers inky reading the book section of the Sunday paper and I hope that print publications will always have a place in our society. But with the current trends, I have to agree that digital publications are the way to go as far as getting your book reviewed and that web-based reviews sell more books than those printed in the newspaper.