Independent publishers should use Kirkus Reviews to verify and validate the quality of their products. Book buyers want to discover the best books, but they need help choosing from the endless sea of available publications. Buyers trust the integrity of Kirkus Reviews to help them find appropriate stories to purchase and read.

Jimi & Isaac Books for kids are full of short sentences, short pages, short chapters, and really big ideas. We work hard to craft unapologetically aspirational stories that engage, teach, and entertain. Like most modern publishers, we’ve found that connecting with our customers and accessing markets has been challenging. The self-publishing revolution has created a flood of books; librarians, booksellers, and readers count on gatekeepers and guides to help them sift through new offerings.

Kirkus provides a fantastic service. Their reviews are highly regarded and are welcomed by booksellers and book buyers alike. Our starred Kirkus review, which appeared in “Best Indie Books of 2015”—flipped a switch, giving us instant access to press and library-stocking opportunities. Our own local library would not carry Jimi & Isaac Books, citing a published policy against stocking self-published titles, until we received the Kirkus Star and were put on the Best Books list. Then they purchased several full sets of books and are now happy to promote them. Many other libraries have similar policies in their collections process but recognize a favorable Kirkus review as a suitable qualification for purchase.

Book buyers want good books to read, but they are fully aware that many (maybe most) online reviews are dubious at best—produced by family and friends, traded on author forums, or simply bought from nefarious review providers. Kirkus Reviews, on the other hand, is widely perceived as fair and reliable. The cost is modest for the service provided and very small compared to the overall cost of producing and marketing quality books.

Jimi & Isaac Books will be introducing five new titles in 2017. All five will be submitted to Kirkus for review. We hope that Kirkus will continue to find our books worth reading and promoting, but we also trust that Kirkus will be honest and ruthless in their reviews so that a positive review will continue to mean something to our customers. Integrity is everything. Kirkus has integrity.


Phil Rink is an author, a professional mechanical engineer, an award-winning inventor and entrepreneur, a licensed ship captain, and a private pilot. He’s run science fairs and coached kids for years in sports (mostly soccer) and Science Olympiad teams.