by Donna Huber
Reading Alley. It is from the people who run The Romance Reviews. I've never done much with The Romance Reviews outside of some client work, mostly because I'm not much of a romance reader. With that being said, I did check out the Reading Alley.
Reading Alley proposes to be a review repository site for all genres of fiction and non-fiction. It appears that they will be similar to Netgalley, but presumably offering lower cost options to authors and publishers. (The introductory offer is $25). That's great for indie authors and publishers who found Netgalley to be cost prohibitive.
But I wanted to focus on the benefits to readers. I know a lot of readers are hesitant to purchase indie books, particularly the ones in the $2.99 to $4.99 (or higher). Looking at the available titles right now many are indie published books. So one benefit of being a member of the Reading Alley is getting to read for free some of the indie books that you are interested in trying.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Who can join the Reading Alley? Any reader! That's right, you don't have to have your own blog or write for a publication, You can be a regular reader. The only catch is that you have to write a review of any books you get through the program. The review will be posted at Reading Alley and if you want you can post it on Amazon or Goodreads as well. And if you do run a blog you can post it there.
Another benefit of the program is the rewards. For each review you write, you earn reward points, which can be redeemed for prizes. As of right now there is no information on how many points will need to be earned in order to redeem a prize. Also there's not a lot of information on what the prizes will be, though it does look like Amazon gift cards will be at least one of the prizes. If you sign up right now during the soft launch period you can earn 20 reward points.
Reviewing takes work and it is nice to be able to earn a bit of a reward. That is definitely in the plus column for the program.
It is the early days of the program and it looks like most of the initial books available for review come Romance Reviews site. There's only 4 books in the young adult category. And the covers I saw in the mystery and thriller category had me double checking to make sure that I clicked on the right link because I thought was in the erotica category. So that's a drawback. at least for now. Hopefully they will be able to quickly remedy this problem.
I have signed up for an account (why not get the 20 bonus reward points) and will see how things develop. Not that I need more books to read, but being able to earn some rewards is too tempting. If you are a casual reader that wouldn't mind writing a review in exchange for free ebooks, then I definitely think it would be a good thing. For book bloggers who are having trouble getting books for review this is probably a nice way to get your foot in the door. For experienced reviewers, it's your call. Right now, I don't see anything negative about it. For galleys I get from Netgalley, I post reviews on their site so I don't see how this would be any different.
Here's the link again for you to sign up: The Reading Alley (and no I don't get any extra reward points for recommending the program).