Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday Talking: Amazon's Disappearing Reviews

Have you been reading the articles about Amazon deleting reviews?  If you are an author who has taken the time to read and review a book written by one of your peers, that review may no longer be eligible to be posted on Amazon's site.  There have been quiet a few authors commenting on the issue. 

I appreciated Joe Konrath's view.  The new guidelines are what appears to be an attempt to stop sock puppet reviewers.  One article suggested that all authors are considered to be in direct competition with one another; therefore, their reviews are not reliable. 

I am not a published author.  None of my reviews are in jeopardy of disappearing.  I have always tried to compose honest reviews of the books that I have read.  I am curious to know that, if I were to become a published author, would all my previous reviews become null and void.

What are your thoughts on the guideline changes, and do you think it will have much of an impact on your personal publishing journey? 


  1. such an interesting issue. i think all authors will agree, we are not in direct competition. i think it's the opposite actually. when you read a great book, chances are it will make you hungry to read another like it.

    that being said, since i decided to take my publishing journey seriously, i have stopped posting anything other than 5-star reviews on my goodreads account. i think it's too unprofessional to do anything else. the minute i score an agent i will go back and delete any critical reviews i have ever posted. (which will be a lot. i think i have more than 500 reviews.)

    and although i think this choice by amazon is absolutely bizarre, we still have goodreads or shelfari, so authors who do want to review their peers' work can still do so.

  2. I think Amazon were in a difficult position and I can understand how they have come to the decision. I bought and read an indie book a while ago which had a clutch of rave reviews, but was absolutely dreadful, one of the worst books I have ever had the misfortune to read. A bit of digging and it proved that the reviews were all from other indie authors who had been busily scratching each other's backs. And a closer read of the reviews and it was clear that none of the reviewers have read the book either. "A lovely story, well written and highly recommended", but no specifics at all.

    Obviously this is unfair and is akin to duping people into spending money on a substandard product. Amazon are quite right to have put an end to it. But the problem is that I am a reader as well as a writer. And I might want to post a review of a Charles Dickens book without for a moment expecting the late Mr Dickens to return the favour.

    The ideal solution would have been more moderation of reviews, but there are just so many of them it would probably prove impossible. So maybe Amazon have done the right thing here after all.

  3. I don't think Amazon has made a wise move here.

    There's such a thing as due diligence with a book. If I were in a physical bookstore and saw a book I'd heard a lot of people praising, I would open the thing up and take a look first. Because I'm rarely in a bookstore nowadays, I will often check it out from the library first. I avoid highly annoying books this way.

    The same attitude needs to be extended to Amazon. Yes, I suppose someone could rework the sample Amazon offers such that that's the only part that gets edited, but I think ego won't allow for it in most cases.

    As a side note, I also wonder if Amazon will one day get rid of KDP, or sever it entirely from its main business as a way of improving the Kindle brand. They've already started their own imprint. As a self-publisher, I wouldn't like it but I can see why they would do it.



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