I was sent a book to review for a journal. Book reviews of the particular journal are peer-reviewed. It has been 3 months after my submission but I still haven't heard from the editors.

How long does it take to decide if a book review is accepted or not? Since a book review is rather short in length, I am wondering if the time frame for peer review will be shorter too... Is it a common practice that editors will contact author even if the book review is rejected?

Many thanks.

  • 2
    Ask back, if in doubt. The email might have been lost into a spam trap, or somehow lost otherwise. Or it is just slowly working its way through the machinery.
    – vonbrand
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 13:40
  • 1
    Thank you. I will wait until late January to ask again then.
    – Les M
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 15:41
  • 1
    I have emailed them in mid-January this year and the editor replied that they have not yet reviewed my essay due to a considerable amount of backlog. It's almost been another 2.5 months. Will I sound pushy if I contact them again in late April?
    – Les M
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 21:28
  • 1
    @Les-M What's the latest on this question? Would you be able to answer your own question?
    – G-E
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 17:05
  • 5
    @G-E The review was published 13 months later. It seems that they had a huge backlog to process.
    – Les M
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 10:41

1 Answer 1


In two of the journals I help edit (both in the field of medicine and health), book reviews are commissioned by the Editor. We identify potential authors, choose one and invite him or her to participate as a book reviewer. Those that agree are sent a copy of the book together with some instructions about what is expected of them. Then, they are entered into the manuscript management system under a separate code set aside for commissioned pieces. This system differs in two distinct ways from that used for typical submissions.

  1. The Author is reminded of the deadline.
  2. The Commissioning Editor is allowed expedited review.

When the submission is received, it goes onto peer-review and the Commissioning Editor makes a recommendation that is discussed during the typical manuscript meeting. Whatever the disposition of the manuscript -- Accept, Revise, Reject -- the author is informed. This is true at any stage in the process.

Book reviews are way way down on our priority list. They serve as "space fillers". No one cites them, very few read them, no one reacts to them. Thus, they are regularly bumped for more of the regular fare -- research articles, editorials, clinical practice briefs, etc.

We have never had a case in which a manuscript was rejected without the authors being informed. This is because they have the right to appeal the decision. More importantly, it's just plain wrong.

I note that this has been resolved already. However, I want to end by saying that the Associate Editors, Commissioning Editors, Deputy Editors, Managing Editors and the Editors-in-Chief are human. You should feel free to contact them if you have questions in the same professional manner you would contact the teachers or principal of your child's school. After all, it's your manuscript and they wouldn't be doing so well if you'd submitted elsewhere.

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