Booksprout is an online review service where you can post your books (you must upload your book formats to the website) and request reviews. Its purpose is to bring together those who like to read with authors looking for reviews. This is my review of Booksprout.

I started with the free service option, and for fairness sake, I’m trying one month of the paid option.

So far – not impressed.

UPDATE: 7 reviews promised for Knight of Cups. Used their highest setting to prevent “freeloaders” and got one review that was simplistic (“I liked the book”) and not posted on the platform I designated as required.


Let’s talk about the free option first. With free there are some major problems which are BIG issues for me:

1.) No protection from piracy with the free version. This sucks and, personally, did not give me any faith in their system from the get-go. What this tells me is they are a-okay with people stealing your work on their own website!

They obviously have the technology to stop piracy as they offer that with the paid version. They simply want to extort you to level up with to the paid plan.

So if you decide to use Booksprout’s free plan, don’t put up your big books, use it to run a short story or an entry level story that you don’t care if it is stolen.

With Booksprout’s lack of accountability, they are setting up a storefront to have your book stolen.

2.) When reviewers don’t follow through, you have no method to block that reviewer so they can come back and freeload again and again.

With free or paid – you put your book on their platform, get freeloaders who sign up to get access to your files, but they never review. Later, they can come back and feed out of the same trough as much as they want.

Booksprout block options

Booksprout does not provide the free or paid plans a way to block these freeloaders unless the freeloader emails you that they had a reason (and only that person you can block).

Here is a screenshot showing you what I mean. I had 7 claim the Wicked Wolves book, but only 3 actually carried though (less than 50%) with a review. Of those that did not review, only one contacted me with a reason which meant I could not block the other two.

I’m a Power User, and my husband is a programmer with over 35 years of experience. Getting this option where you can block someone from reviewing you in the future is a no-brainer.

What I believe is Booksprout has decided to back piracy and freeloaders over the authors. So why would they do that?

My guess is it would reduce the number of people/readers using their website. Booksprout wants to sell you on this idea your book will reach ten of thousands of reviewers. So if they blocked freeloaders those numbers would plummet.

It’s not only an ego thing but something they can leverage to investors. It’s a fake to show how big they are, so give us more money. This is an educated guess on what I know about the software industry and what investors want to see.

Booksprout blocking non-reviewers

There is a LIMITED way you can reduce some freeloaders from getting your book by managing your settings.

When you set up your book that you will be promoting, you need to choose a Freeloader protection option. More details from Booksprout here about how to do that and what it means.

I’d go with at least Standard and maybe Ultra.

Booksprout plans comparison

Let’s talk about the quality of the reviews I’ve received so far. Of the 3 reviews that were posted, only one was of any real content value. The other two were basically – “I read it, it was fine.”

If I’m going to all this trouble (and RISK) on a platform, I prefer some real meat to the review. What a waste of time!

Is there really a good reason to upgrade?

With the upgrade you get their piracy protection (and I’ve already told you that was a joke), and you can have more reviews! Authors want more reviews – but will you really get any?

With the free plan you get up to 20 copies people can claim. But only 7 claimed my book so where is the incentive to upgrade to the next paid plan which allows readers to claim up to 50 copies?

These results (which were also duplicated with the Knight of Cups short story), make me believe that their platform isn’t that big. I simply don’t believe they have that many reviewers.

In addition, they offer no way to collect emails for a fan newsletter etc. so why not just go with BookFunnel or StoryOrigin? Hm…

However, after reading some author forums, I wondered if I wouldn’t get more requests for reviews if I went paid? I wondered if at the free level, Booksprout wasn’t letting my book be seen (as it doesn’t benefit them as I am not paying)?

So I decided to go with the $10 a month version for one month. I wanted to see if that would change the number of potential reviewers and their follow through.

Booksprout plan options

After signing up to the paid plan, and trying to put up another ARC, I was immediately informed by Booksprout I could only have one ARC book in play at one time. WHAT? How ridiculous! So you are paying $10 a month to get essentially only one book seen and reviewed?

You can do a book promo in addition to your ARC, but my point is why are you paying for a service that is this limited?

Right there you can see this isn’t value for money. I could spend my $10 a month elsewhere more productively than having possibly 3 reviews and a bunch of pirates take my book!

,Oh and with my little bit of investment on Booksprout, I already had my email spammed with a “reader” telling me that she couldn’t download my book and send her the booklink to it.

booksprout spam email

Some authors are successful with Booksprout buy my opinion at this point is don’t bother with Booksprout., Bookfunnel and StoryOrigin offers far more advanced options and provides more bang for the buck. See my

I’ll do my paid version for December, then cancel my subscription. If I change my mind, I’ll come back and update this review.

    1. I know! Ridiculous! Why would I trust this brand with my credit card if they can’t protect my personal works??? I’ve had romance writers tell me they love this platform and get many reviews – not for me – NO THANKS!

  1. Thank you so much for this article. I recently had a similar experience and was debating whether to continue with Booksprout. I had 6 downloads but no reviews. IMO a complete waste of time. It’s my understanding that they cannot protect you from piracy; if you use the fee paying choices they just attach a code to each download so if the book is pirated they can trace it back to the email that downloaded.
    I have cancelled my participation.

    1. Exactly – Booksprout makes a lot of promises and under delivers. The fact that you can’t track the emails to block future freeloaders or get them to join a newsletter list etc.. (like BookFunnel) makes their service more unpalatable.

  2. Thanks for the warnings. I joined the free sub yesterday and was immediately put off that their system for directly uploading is “still in development” and recommend a third party WideWizard which doesn’t work on Safari on iPad, I think I managed to upload a file for cover and text, but get no acknowledgement that it was there and available. Then going to my personal page I see my book entered twice. I can’t view either, so I delete one. Their interface is crap. I like to read so I want to search for my fav genre, no search filter, so I troll through 37 pages of almost exclusively (going by the covers) slushy/raunchy teenage romances, finally find a promising title with 360pp and successfully load into my safari browser and read 112pp first sitting. When I pick it up again next day, it disappeared into a bad gateway. Look on their Facebook to see if temp problem, and no posts since 2019, so presume it’s kaput. Not wasting any more time on it.

    1. Gosh it sounds like things have gotten worse since I used them! I can’t say the amateur hour surprises me. There is something fishy and incompetent over at Booksprout. It could be they simply don’t have the funding to pay for development and thus have these glitches, but why bother when there are other better options?

      I am sorry to hear about your experiences. Being an author looking for good programs, services, and apps can be SO frustrating!

    2. I’m guessing you had problems because it looks like Booksprout is doing a rebuild of their entire platform. I just received this email:

      An update on our rebuild progress
      You’ve probably noticed that things have been pretty quiet around here lately. Trust me, we’ve got a good reason for that! The Booksprout team has been focusing nearly all of our time and energy towards a complete rebuild of the Booksprout website. I’ve been working with some talented designers and programmers to bring this to fruitition, but it really is a huge project. We’ve been working hard on it for nearly two years already to incorporate most of the frequently requested features you’ve been asking for. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to re-launch with our new website in Q1 or Q2 of 2021.

  3. I’ve just signed up and I’m using the free version. I decided to go with one of my shorter works just in case. So far I’ve had 9/20 claims and zero reviews.

    This is surprising after all the glowing reviews I see from people. The deadline I selected has a couple of days to go but I’m not holding my breath.

    1. Agree. I don’t get the love for Booksprout, mainly because they take your money and you have no accountability or way to block users. Right now there are more services than ever for the writer to find potential reviewers and I’ve tried many of them for mixed results.

      My main concern is 1.) that I can reach out to reviewers and give them a nudge to leave a review (or that the service does this w.o giving me their email/contact info; and 2.) that the service weeds out the abusers (and I have no feeling Booksprout does).

  4. Thank you for the very thoughtful and informative review you left for BookSprout. I didn’t get a good feeling reading their information, and you have validated my thoughts with proof and details. Promoting books for reviews is so much more difficult than writing and publishing. Your review is GREATLY appreciated.

    1. Booksprout has made some changes so sometime this month I’ll go back and see what those are. My main issue is not being able to block reviewers or hold reviewers accountable. I’d look at BookSiren for that – or use BookFunnel to control who gets your books.

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