WordPress Book Review Plugin

The WordPress Book Review Plugin enables you to add details such as title, author, cover photo, rating, purchase links and more to each of your review posts. You can also show review archives by title or genre.


The WordPress Book Review Plugin offers the following functionality and features:

    • Automatically populate the details of a book.
    • Customizable background and border colors.
    • Ability to optionally show ratings on the home page.
    • Use the built-in star rating images or specify your own.
    • Configure up to five links of your choosing. These can be text-based links or you can provide your own images.
    • Open your custom links in the same tab or in a new one.
    • Show an archive of your reviews by title or genre.


On the Book Review Settings page, you can customize position, colors, rating images and links (click on any image to enlarge it):

WordPress Book Review Plugin Settings

WordPress Book Review Plugin Settings


In the Appearance section, you can decide whether you want to show the review box that contains a book’s information at the top or bottom of a post. You can use the color pickers to change the background and/or border colors of the review box. As well, you can select a pre-defined format for the release date. If None is selected, the release date will be displayed as it was entered.

Rating Images

In this section, you can choose whether or not to show ratings on your home page. You can also decide whether to use the plugin’s built-in rating images (stars) or your own. If you prefer to use your own, you will need to provide URLs to five different images, one for each possible rating. Once configured, the plugin will use your custom images instead of its default images.

You can add up to five of your own links by choosing the appropriate value from the Number of Links drop-down. For each link, a new row will appear in the table below it. You will need to fill out the Link Text for each row. You can also optionally choose to provide the URL to an image that represents that link. If you leave Link Image URL blank, however, then the links will be text-based links that use the value supplied in the Link Text field.

For every link added to this table, a new field will be shown in the Book Info section of the post where you can specify the URL to be followed when the link is selected (see Usage section below). Links will be added below the rest of a book’s details.


In order for the details of a book to be auto-populated, you must create a Google API Key. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Developers console with your Google account. If the Terms of Service appear, read and accept them.
  2. Click the Create Project button to create a new project. Fill out the dialog box that pops up and then click the Create button:

    Create a New Project

    Create a New Project

  3. After accepting the Terms of Service, click on APIs & auth and then on APIs if not already selected. Activate the Books API by setting its Status to ON:


    Activate the Books API

  4. Next, go to the Credentials pane. In the Public API access section, click Create New Key. In the dialog box, click on Server key:

    Create a New Key

    Create a New Key

  5. If you know the IP address of your server, enter it here. Otherwise, you can leave it blank:

    Create a Server Key

    Create a Server Key

  6. Copy the value in the API key field and paste it into the Google API Key field of the Book Review Settings:

    Copy the API Key

    Copy the API Key

If interested, you can read more about the Google Books API here.


Once the plugin is installed, you will see a Book Info section below the WordPress editor of every post. Fill this out whenever you would like to show more information about a particular book. Note that, at a minimum, Title must be filled out in order for the details to show. Any fields that you leave blank will not appear in your post.

While most of the fields you see in the screen shot below are not configurable, the exceptions are the URL fields. The appearance of these fields are entirely dependent on whether or not you have configured the Links section on the Book Review Settings page.

WordPress Book Review Plugin Book Info

WordPress Book Review Plugin Book Info

Getting the Book Info

If you have created a Google API Key, you will see an ISBN field and a Get Book Info button. Enter an ISBN value and click the button to automatically populate a book’s details. Any fields that already had values when the button was pressed will not be overwritten.

Please note that there are some known limitations:

  • It is possible that a particular ISBN will not be found. This is a limitation of the robustness of the Google Books database and is not indicative of a problem with the WordPress Book Review Plugin.
  • The Series and Format fields will remain blank unless manually entered. Google Books does not return this information as part of its API.
  • The cover images that Google Books provides are rather small. If the size is not appropriate for your site, or if you’d rather not rely on Google to host the covers, you can always upload your own images and use those instead.


To add archives to a page or post, you can use the book_review_archives shortcode. For example, to show archives by title, use the following shortcode format:

[[book_review_archives type="title"]]

This is the default archive type. Only those posts that have the Title field filled out will be displayed. Note that titles that start with “A”, “An” or “The” will be sorted using the second word in the title. For example, The Hunger Games would be shown as Hunger Games, The.

Archives by TItle

Archives by TItle

To show archives by genre, use the following shortcode format:

[[book_review_archives type="genre"]]

Only those posts that have the Genre field filled out will be displayed.

Archives by Genre

Archives by Genre

You can control whether or not a particular post should appear in the archives. There is an Include post in archives checkbox in the Book Info section of every post, which is selected by default. If you don’t want a particular post to be listed in the archives, simply uncheck this box. This setting is especially useful for non-review posts such as cover reveals or book blitzes.


All of the review posts on Book Wookie use the WordPress Book Review Plugin. Below is a sample screen shot of the content that may be generated by this plugin:

WordPress Book Review Plugin

WordPress Book Review Plugin


You can install this plugin by using WordPress’ built-in plugin installer:

  1. Go to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Under Search, enter “Book Review”.
  3. Click Install Now to install the plugin.
  4. Customize the settings by clicking on Book Review in the Settings menu.


The WordPress Book Review Plugin has been tested up to WordPress 3.9.1. The plugin will not work properly in a version older than 3.5.


Have questions or suggestions on how to improve the WordPress Book Review Plugin? Please contact me at donnapep@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you!