Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fun with Reviews

A TV comedian joked that when she feels at a low ebb she goes onto the Argos website and reads the reviews of the batteries...

Reviews are great aren't they? Just today I went to Amazon and chose a new shopping basket for my bicycle - the photo showed a study wire mesh basket with a blue zip-up insert. It seemed a bargain at only £8, but when I read the reviews I found lots from angry people who felt that they had been misled because the item they received was only the blue insert  not the basket itself.  So, thankful to those reviewers, I will be cycling down to my local bike shop instead to see what they can offer me. It's not the first time customer reviews have prevented me from making an expensive mistake.

Book reviews are a little more subjective, because everyone has different taste. However I have come to the conclusion that five-star book reviews on Amazon should be ignored. Entirely disregarded. Any book which has only five-star reviews is instantly a bit suspect. I recently reviewed a book with twelve glowing reviews. One reviewer one had written "I hope this book does really well for you" (leading me to conclude that she knows the author), and three more had quite clearly never read the book. (I gave the book two stars.)

Amazon knows that this croneyism is a problem, and they are working on it, In the meantime I thought it's important to remember the good side of reviews. Not only do they help us in our purchasing decisions, but some are extremely funny. I hate Fifty Shades of Grey (not that I've read it, you understand) but I love reading the hilarious reviews. The one-star review by Lazycatfish is a work of genius. I'll never buy a book by EL James, but if Lazycatfish ever pens a novel I'll be first in the queue at the booksigning.

Then there are the reviews of Bic's ballpoint pens designed just for women. Over 500 of them, all extremely funny. Take a look.

We authors crave reviews, but also dread getting bad ones. I've yet to get a funny one. Go on people, knock yourselves out writing reviews!

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