Let me just bitch for a moment. I know, I said I was trying to lay off, but sometimes I find things annoying and have to vent a little. Anyone can create an email account at Yahoo or Hotmail, sign up with Amazon, and purchase a single book for 99¢. And as long as they have made that single purchase, forty-eight hours later, they are allowed to drop their precious words of wisdom on anyone and everyone. That’s right, as many reviews on as many books as they want to write. The price of admission to the reviewing party is one item.
A very small (miniscule really) part of me wants Amazon to stop letting people post reviews on books they didn’t pay for, unless they acquired them under the Prime program. At least under that program, the reader has paid an annual fee, and if the book is downloaded, the author sees some return.
It falls under, “If you don’t pay for my book, you shouldn’t have the privilege of commenting on it.” Paying for the book earns you the right to bitch and moan. One of the common complaints among authors who have offered one of their books for free is the bad review from the idiots. Most of whom appear to have downloaded something outside their normal genre. These are the folks who got something for free and then bitched that it wasn’t something they ever would have bought anyway.
I love these rubes and their comments.
About a Sci-Fi:
“I don’t read Science Fiction but thought I’d give it a try. This is awful, I didn’t get it, and you won’t either. It wasn’t even worth one star.” (Looking at the reader’s other reviews makes it clear they were outside their genre, but I love that they think no one else will get it.)
About an espionage thriller:
“Well, I normally read romance, but thought I might try this. Who wants to know all about that city and the political stuff? It was just way too much to take in. I quit in the second chapter. Boring! (Well, yeah! We didn’t see Jason Bourne’s rippling abs and dark passionate gaze in the first two chapters. And nothing else in the world matters but short paragraphs and snarky prose.)
About a paranormal (a book with the word vampire right in the title!)
“I don’t see what all the fuss is about with vampires. I found this book to have entirely too much sex and it’s not even Christian! The description should say that it has graphic sex and lots of it. I finished it, but I can’t recommend it to my friends.” (If you’re worried about the Christian aspect – what the hell were you doing with a vampire book??? As soon as I finished that review, I downloaded that book. I also found the contact info for the author and sent her an email, telling her to post that review in the product description and raise the price!)
Thanks, folks! Appreciate your participation in the review system. Not!
The only drawback with not allowing someone to review without purchasing the item would be that the so-called professional reviewers couldn’t post since most of them are supplied with the books by either the author or the publisher. Perhaps they need to be registered – like lobbyists.
Amazon has now added something that says “Amazon Verified Purchase” next to the review. You will notice that most reviews do not have this beside them. This is also a fairly new feature so I’m doubtful they went back too awfully far in their records to verify purchases. Amazon encourages people to post reviews about any book they’ve read, whether purchased from them or not.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but the validity of the really good and the really bad can always be called into question when it comes to reviews. I have heard about one author (and no this is not a joke) who has created separate accounts and posted reviews on her own books under different names. She at least purchased her own books so I suppose that gives her the right. It’s beyond shallow and base, but some of these folks are desperate and needy beyond belief.
The one thing that Amazon really MUST put a stop to is the ability to post a review on an item that has not yet been released. Not too long ago, I popped on to look at an upcoming release for one of my favorite authors and found that two weeks before the release the book already had over 100 five star reviews. It was just a bunch of happy fans talking about how excited they were. Three months later, when there were only 200 total five star reviews and several hundred more that were significantly lower, the overall rating was still up in the four range. Those chatty pre-release people had definitely skewed the numbers. Let those fans talk on the message boards and fan sites, not in the review section of a bookseller site. The review capability should only be turned on when the book is actually released for sale and not before.
Lastly, Amazon, I need a DISLIKE button. You have an unqualified like button (sort of a waste in my opinion), but you should be fair and provide a DISLIKE. It couldn’t be any more useless.
Okay, I’m done bitching for the moment, and I will now return you to the regularly scheduled blog.