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This Site's Massive Collection of Book Reviews Grows Weekly

Since 1976, The Midwest Book Review's (MBR) Editor-in-Chief, James A. Cox, has been reviewing books. Now, more than 40 years later, the MBR has developed into a useful online resource for librarians, booksellers, and the general reading public with its extensive collection of book reviews and tools for writers and small-press publishers. In fact, according to the site, its core mission is to promote literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. While Cox personally reviews between 30 and 40 books a month, he also oversees the 600+ reviews that are contributed each month by staff, volunteers, and freelance reviewers.

Navigating the site

With content expanded monthly, the MBR organizes and links everything from "How to" articles to its extensive list of book reviews and writer resources. Along the left-hand side of the page, you'll see links to the reviews that have been written, divided as follows:

  • The Bookwatch—This is a monthly library newsletter of book reviews generated by the editorial staff of the MBR. It includes titles in all genres and categories.
  • California Bookwatch—This page includes reviews of books, music, games, and DVDs that are by California authors, California publishers, focus specifically on California history and issues, or are suggested for California readers or community collections by the MBR.
  • Children's Bookwatch—This page features reviews of books, music, games, and DVDs for preschool through young adult readers.
  • Internet Bookwatch (The Bookwatch, Library Bookwatch, and Wisconsin Bookwatch combined)—This monthly library newsletter is a compilation of book reviews written by the editorial staff of the MBR for titles in all genres and categories and are highly recommended for community and academic library collections.
  • Library Bookwatch—Library Bookwatch is a monthly library newsletter of book reviews generated by the editorial staff of the Midwest Book Review for titles in all genres and categories, as highly recommended acquisitions by academic and community librarians for their collections and their library patrons.
  • MBR Bookwatch (reviews by senior volunteer reviewers)— The MBR Bookwatch is a published monthly online and showcases specialized reviewers, author interviews, as well as expert editorial observations of various aspects of publishing world.
  • Reviewer's Bookwatch—This is a forum in which volunteer reviewers make their reviews accessible.
  • Small Press Bookwatch—This page is dedicated to posting reviews for self-published fiction and non-fiction, or books that have been published by small press or Print-On-Demand (POD) services.
  • Wisconsin Bookwatch—This monthly newsletter of book reviews is created by the editorial staff of the MBR and includes titles, genres and categories that are highly recommended by Wisconsin's academic and community librarians for their collections, their library patrons, and the general reading public.
  • Publisher's Bookshelf—Reviews of books written on the topics of publishing and self-publishing.
  • Writer's Bookshelf—Reviews of books written for writers to hone and develop their craft.

Becoming a reviewer for the MBR

One great feature of the MBR is they accept volunteer reviews of books, audiobooks, ebooks, music CDs, movies on DVD, and computer software. This is a strictly volunteer position and all volunteers retain the copyright to their reviews, making it a great way for review writers to get their name out there. The reviews are also nonexclusive, which means they can be published elsewhere without copyright infringement. These reviews are run in the MBR's Reviewer's Bookwatch and reviewers who submit two or more reviews per month will also get their own bylined column.

To submit a review, email it to and be sure to copy and paste it in the body of an email with "REVIEW" written as the subject line. The MBR sets volunteer review submission deadlines on the 25th day of each month at 12:00 a.m., and any reviews submitted after that time and date will be held for publication the following month.

When your review is published, the MBR will send an email to you notifying you that it has been included on the website and in the newsletter. If your review is rejected, they will likewise notify you by email. To ensure that your review isn't rejected, be sure to include the following information in your review submission:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Publisher's address
  • 13-digit ISBN number (a 10-digit ISBN is accepted)
  • List Price (in U.S. Dollars, if possible)
  • Your name
  • Your e-mail address
  • Your website URL (optional, but can be a part of your byline)

Getting your book reviewed

Every indie author knows that getting your book reviewed is an important step to book sales, and the Midwest Book Review accepts submissions for reviews of print books, audiobooks, CDs, and DVDs. It's important to note that they give priority consideration to small publishers, self-published authors, academic presses, and specialty publishers, and provide reviews for free.

However, if you need to submit an eBook, pre-publication manuscript, galley, uncorrected proof, ARC or PDF file, they do charge a $50 reader fee. These fees are sent to the specific reviewer and not sent to the MBR directly.

If you want to submit your work for review, the MBR requires the following:

  • Two copies of the published book.
  • A cover letter
  • A publicity or press release. This (or the cover letter) must include either a physical address or an email address to send the review to.

Keep in mind that there is an approximate 4 to 6-week "window of opportunity" for a book to be assigned out for review.

Advice for writers and publishers

Writing is a difficult process and knowing how to navigate the publishing world is even harder. That's why the advice of others who have written and published is so valuable, and the MBR offers articles that do just that. Topics cover everything from "Amazon Book Review Guidelines" and "Author Photo Advice" to "Tips on Working with a Publicist" and "TV Interview Tips For Authors" and are written by experts in the industry.

Book publicity and marketing

The Midwest Book Review's book publicity and marketing link takes visitors to a list of resources available for book publicity and marketing services. There is also an extensive, alphabetized list of independent publicists that MBR's Editor-in-Chief, James Cox, deals with on a regular basis. The list includes each publicist's contact information, as well as a brief description of the services they offer.

Additional resources

The Midwest Book Review's side menu contains dozens of additional resources for writers and small publishers, including links to bookseller associations, copyright resources, distributors & wholesalers, interviews & testimonials, Jim Cox reports (collections of opinions, advice, open letters, and answers to individual questions, written by the Midwest Book Review's Editor-in-Chief Jim Cox), publisher associations, publisher resources, URL submission lists, and Web Search Engines (hint, there's more out there than Google!).

A final note

With such an extensive collection of reviews, searching for a specific one might be challenging without following the advice given on this page. The reviews are also published elsewhere on the Internet in several other databases and online discussion groups, such as

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