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January 10, 2012


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Dan Markel

David, I think it's a very good idea to send the review to the author. There are both prudential and non-prudential reasons for doing so.

I have frequently benefited from the responses (or at least my work has improved as a a result), and that's the most important issue.

You of course are under no obligation to change what you wrote but you might find that you hit on something that in fact was addressed elsewhere, etc.

Here's something I wrote once about this and there's an interesting set of responses.



While you might send it as an advance copy, I disagree that you should send it for comments. Most authors are exceptionally prickly about reviews and book reviews are valuable, not just as a summary, but as an untainted evaluation of the merits. Giving the author an opportunity to respond/comment may interfere with that process, and it is also something the journal may not want. The exchanges in the NY Rvw of Books after publication might give you a good sense of why an advance copy may not be advisable.

Kevin Jon Heller

I'm with Dan. I've been on both ends of the review process, and on the author side I very much appreciated seeing the review in advance. It's true that authors can be prickly -- including me. But I would still do it.

Eric Muller

I have published two books that have been fairly widely reviewed, and have never ever received any sort of personal communication from any reviewer, either before of after the publication of the review. My sense of the culture is that, rightly or wrongly, it is one of studied distance and detachment. Thus, I entirely disagree with Dan, and I would not even advise you to send an advance copy of the review in its final format.

Kelly Anders

Like Eric, I am the author of two books, and I agree with his assessment. It is very thoughtful of you to raise this issue, but sending an advance copy of the review could also prove to be ethically problematic for the journal.

Steven Lubet

You most definitely should not share the book review with the author in advance, and I doubt that any serious journal would publish a review that had been vetted by the book's author.

If the point is to give the author a courteous heads up before the review appears, then it would be sufficient to send the final copy a few days in advance. But a book review is not a collaborative effort, and the book's author should not have any input.

The only exception would be a review essay in a law journal, which is really an article that uses a book as a point of departure. In that case it would be fine to seek the author's input, but that should be explained in the first footnote.

sugar huddle

Thanks for the thoughtful post and comments. I have a book review essay forthcoming in a law journal that is fairly critical, and I'm also going on the teaching market soon-- it has crossed my mind that the review won't be well-received by the authors but as mentioned, I wouldn't want that fear to affect the piece.

I'm curious about the idea of it coming as a surprise, though, because so many academics put drafts on SSRN (my piece will have been there for almost a year by the time the journal prints it). If the book authors Google themselves or the book, they'll likely find it. Would posting on SSRN satisfy your feeling that the author deserves a heads up? If not, I like Steven's idea of sending an advance copy after final edits are made but just before it actually comes out.


I have done reviews and been reviewed numerous times. The idea that I would send a copy of the review to the author, or that I would get an advance copy of a review of my work so that I can comment, is unfathomable to me. The journals and magazines I have dealt with prefer reviewers not to even say they are reviewing a particular book,let alone get involved in a conversation with the author about it.

moncler jacken

Like this blog ,the colour of the flame changes during the process from a dazzling white to a yellow-white, orange-yellow, blue and yellow, green, violet, and blue and green.thank you!


I've published four book reviews, but have never sent them to the author before hand. In part this was because I didn't want to be pressured into changing criticisms that I made. (I don't know that any of the authors I have reviewed would do this, but I thought it better for everyone to simply avoid the problem.) The only time I can imagine communicating with the author before hand would be if I were very unsure of my analysis of some part of the book and wanted clarification, and could not get it any other way. Even then I might hesitate. I've only sent the review to the author (or rather, in this case, the editors) once, for a book I reviewed for the Concurring Opinions book review project, and that only because I thought these particular editors would not be likely to see it otherwise. (In the other cases, I figured that the authors would see the reviews on their own.) (Oddly, two of the reviews now provide blurbs for the books on Amazon, but I don't get credit!) I do think that authors should know that a review is "out there", though in most cases that won't be hard to find out w/o special effort.


I have to admit I am very impressed with the quality of your blog. It is certainly a pleasure to read as I do enjoy your posts.

Thaddeus Mason Pope

I have been tempted to share my draft reviews, but have never done so. I have been informed by more senior colleagues at many universities that it simply is not done. Perhaps the author should have the chance to respond with a "rebuttal" as with letters to the editor in peer-reviewed journals.

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