Originally Posted by ebusinesstutor
I don't think we were better off when professional reviewers were all we could read in newspapers and magazines because critics were notoriously wrong. Many times, a movie that critics panned became box office blockbusters. Critics often had an elitism or snobbery about books, feeling they should have some deep literary value - an approach that was useless in my favourite genres of science fiction and fantasy.
I generally don't care much about a reviewer's opinion of a book's literary merit, but a professional review is usually going to give you some idea of plot and characters and setting, whereas some individual might just say "I really liked this book; it was good." That's not at all helpful.