I have been reviewing books since the days of having to write or type the reviews on a type writer and send them in via snail mail in an envelop to the publishing company. Sometimes the company published your review and sometime they didn’t. Either way you got a free book or magazine. No, they did not pay you for the reviews.
Yes, my reviews are on the back cover of some pretty well-known books.
I don’t know if publishers still use this format of collecting reviews or not, now that the internet exist but publishers used to send books to avid readers who have purchased numerous books and was recommended by a book store as a prized reviewer. They sent letters asking you for a review. Sometimes the book you got was slightly different from the one published. Today it’s called an ARC. Back then, it was simply a free book.
The second round of reviewing came during my college years. The library I worked at during my college years is another place I wrote reviews for. I wrote the views for the books, and magazine for library who sent them to the publishers.
I reviewed all types of books. Some, I liked and some I didn’t. My job was to tell the public about the book or article and its strong or weak points. I wrote some editorial reviews as well.
I was writing reviews before the days of asking stellar amounts of money for a book or article review. You couldn’t ask for $50.00 – $2,500 for your opinion. That was unheard of back then except something like a professional reviewing firm like Kirkus Reviews.
[ Guess what? Virginia Kirkus got started doing the same thing I was doing.]
I doubt they would’ve paid had I asked. Sometimes, sponsors of the magazines sent you free stuff like free pizza coupons, free meals at your favorite restaurant, free movie tickets, free box office rentals, free clothing or shoes, free make-up [that was never the right colors.] and etc., but you didn’t know you would be getting these things until they arrived in the mail. Some of the magazines paid a small penance of something like five dollars and some didn’t.
Sometimes a local radio or television station would pick up your review and read to their audience what you wrote.
I was a teenager and young adult back then, I liked the idea of reading a famous author’s book before the general public or getting in to a see a movie before it hit the theatre. The experience was exalting.
The hardest things to review were text books. LOL!