PDA

View Full Version : Amazon's latest policy: authors can't review other authors' books



aruna
12-27-2012, 11:30 AM
...because they have a "financial interest" in the product.

I read of this today on Jenna Glatzer's Facebook page; someone in her comment thread cites this article: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/02/entertainment/la-et-jc-why-is-amazon-deleting-writers-reviews-of-other-authors-books-20121102

That's what Weddle wanted to know. He followed up, stating that he had no financial interest in the book. The response reiterated what Amazon had already stated, using the same language as before. "We do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing
product. This includes authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product," Amazon repeated. The company added a new closing: "We have removed your reviews as they are in violation of our guidelines. We will not be able to go into further detail about our research.
Jenna says that she wrote to Amazon about this and received a weird reply. I'm going to ask her if I can use her full quote, but the gist if it is that amazon replied to her and said they won't accept reviews by authors writing in the same genre of books they are reviewing.

And they will only accept positive reviews from other authors.

Words fail me.

aruna
12-27-2012, 11:39 AM
I ought to add that I do understand the policy a little bit. I had written a negative review for a version of The Mahabharata that I felt was quite bad. The review was up for several years. Then last year I self-pubbed my own Mahabharata version, and one of the first things I did was remove that bad review. I felt it reflected badly on me to have a negative review up for a book that mine was competing against directly. But it was the SAME book, the same story, that is, just written differently.

But to think I cannot write negative reviews for novels I want to throw against the wall - again, words fail me!

aruna
12-27-2012, 11:42 AM
OK, Jenna has given permission to quote, so here's what she says:


[This is bizarre. I read about Amazon's new policy of not letting authors review books, and I wrote to them to clarify. Here's what they wrote back:

Hello Jenna,

I understand you would like to know if Amazon.com is going to take away the ability of Authors to reviews books. Thanks for taking the time to contact us about this.

Authors are allowed to review books on Amazon.com as long as they are not in the same genre as the reviewer's own book. Also, the reviews must be positive and within guidelines. Please see our posted guidelines on what is acceptable content:

http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines/

------------
The reviews must be positive?! I don't... even...

And I've written 21 books now. Odds are that every book I want to review is in a genre I've written. I can never review a memoir again? Or a children's book? Or a self-help book? Or a book for writers? Or a YA book? Or a biography? Or... oh, my head hurts.

Sunwords
12-27-2012, 12:25 PM
Amazon - no, I don't need to understand this. Getting crazier and crazier, I suppose.

Old Hack
12-27-2012, 01:10 PM
I've been reading about this elsewhere.

Writers who write in a specific genre are often the most well-informed within that genre, as they tend to read widely and to understand its history and conventions. That means the're better placed than most of us to review books within the same genre, as they can bring a broader context to their reviews.

This new policy is both extraordinary and ridiculous. I understand what Amazon was hoping to achieve: but this isn't going to do it.

Amanda R.
12-27-2012, 02:10 PM
That is ridiculous. Fellow writers are going to be the bulk of reviewers and they are probably more qualified to review books than most people. The only change I was hoping to see was that writers shouldn't be allowed to reply to (that is "attack") reviewers who left negative feedback on their books since it discourages honest reviews. But it looks like authors can still do that.

And as for the "the reviews must be positive" requirement, that is just stupid. Don't tell me how to review books. If a book is bad, I should be able to tell other readers why. I guess we will all have to make dummy accounts to get honest reviews out there.

EMaree
12-27-2012, 02:35 PM
Oh boy. Looks like I can expect all my book reviews to mysteriously vanish from Amazon.com at some point in the future. :(

ChristinaLayton
12-27-2012, 02:52 PM
This is crazy. I think experienced authors who write in the same genre as other authors they would be reviewing, I think those reviews will help this author because the reviewer has the experience and the knowledge to know what he or she's talking about.

Amazon's policies are getting more and more nonsensical. Looks like we're going to have to work with some other online bookstore, guys.

EMaree
12-27-2012, 03:47 PM
I think I'm going to have to stick to Goodreads to share my reviews. I'm not always the biggest fan of GR because of it's tendancies towards drama and snarky reviews, but at least they're never tried to tell me how to write a review.

(And my own site will always be the main place for my reviews. There's no beating having your own domain when it comes to control.)

Katrina S. Forest
12-27-2012, 04:01 PM
So the whole problem that I thought this might solve when I read the title (authors swapping 5-star reviews with each other when they've never read each other's books) is actually still permitted by this policy?

But another author who's honestly read the book and doesn't think it deserves 5-stars can't say so?

The only thing this solves is revenge reviews. And I'm not sure the trade-off is worth it.

fireluxlou
12-27-2012, 04:26 PM
This was recent and is all because of what happened with RJ Ellory really and his fake pseudonymous reviews. So you can thank RJ Ellory for the new policy.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/9738552/Author-backlash-over-Amazons-new-online-review-crackdown.html

EMaree
12-27-2012, 04:34 PM
Joanne Harris [snip] called for an overhaul to the review guidelines, particulary for the "star system" to be abandoned.
"To be honest I would just rather Amazon delete all their reviews as it... has caused so much trouble," she said.
"It is a pity. Orginally it was a good idea but it is has become such an issue now. The star rating has become how people view if a book is a success and it has become inherently corrupt."

I was surprised to find myself agreeing with Ms Harris. This seems like a good idea, and the best way to salvage the review system. I doubt it would be as commercially effective, though, unless they ordered reviews by 'likes' or reviewer popularity like Goodreads does.

Alessandra Kelley
12-27-2012, 04:47 PM
Oh, dear. I've had the annoying problem that Amazon has thought I was my husband since the day I first registered, and nothing seems to convince them otherwise.

I don't mind that that means Amazon prevents me from reviewing his books (which feels like it skirts the unethical anyway), nor even that Amazon would prevent me from reviewing books he has reviewed.

But if Amazon deletes not only his reviews, but all of my reviews of books in his genres because of this, I shall be seriously honked off.

Alessandra Kelley
12-27-2012, 04:52 PM
I also wonder at this policy, which in one fell swoop eliminates the best qualified most professional reviews in every category.

What about really prolific authors who write in lots of genres?

Isaac Asimov, it is said, had books published in all ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal system.

By Amazon's new rules that would disqualify him from reviewing anything in any of them.

I would rather read Asimov's opinion on a science book than that of someone with no published science cred.

This is an astonishingly stupid and short-sighted policy.

ArachnePhobia
12-27-2012, 05:48 PM
I demand this policy be fair. If people who write books cannot review the books they read because of a "conflict of interest," then musicians should not be able to review albums, college kids who get drunk and make slasher movies with corn syrup and whatever they have around the dorm should not be allowed to review DVD's, engineers and fabricators should not be allowed to review the tools they use (conflict of interest, y'see), and nobody with any tenuous connection to the thing they are reviewing that might put them in a position to actually, y'know, review it should be allowed to review it. Then consumers will be assured they are reading reviews that come only from pure motives, like:

"This product rocks! But the box got dented in shipping, so I'm giving it one star."

BigWords
12-27-2012, 05:48 PM
(And my own site will always be the main place for my reviews. There's no beating having your own domain when it comes to control.)

This^

Personally, I find that Amazon is irrelevant as a source of reviews. I've tried to read some of the reviews there, but the "OMG, just WOWOWOWOW. Sososogood." comments make me want to smash my had against the monitor repeatedly in a futile attempt to damage the braincells used to process the things I am reading.


This is an astonishingly stupid and short-sighted policy.

And thus perfectly in keeping with everything else Amazon has done in the last few years.

Phaeal
12-27-2012, 06:32 PM
They just make GoodReads look better and better. This is the sort of scorched earth policy that institutions apply when they won't or can't winnow the wheat from the chaff.

I think Amazon has a financial interest in displaying nothing but positive reviews.

Filigree
12-27-2012, 08:13 PM
I agree. Barely literate 5-star reviews serve Amazon perfectly well, to drive other clueless readers to fluff that might or might not sell on its own. They don't help informed readers.

I don't use GoodReads to its full extent, but I'l concentrate my review efforts toward the GR boards in the future. I want to be able to give a poor review to work that deserves it. I don't mind possible revenge reviews in return.

veinglory
12-27-2012, 08:23 PM
I think Amazon reviews are still hugely influential with the general readership. And they are with me too.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
12-27-2012, 08:46 PM
I've tried to read some of the reviews there, but the "OMG, just WOWOWOWOW. Sososogood." comments make me want to smash my had against the monitor repeatedly in a futile attempt to damage the braincells used to process the things I am reading.

I read a review like that, and I wonder whether the reviewer is actually saying aloud, "Wow-wow-wow-wow! So-so-so good!" Because at least then it would be onamatapoetically representative. But if the sounds they are actually trying to represent are "WO----W! So--- good," then there's nothing for it but the spray bottle.

Compare also:

Said: "Oh my God! That is sooooo niiiiiiiiiice."
Texted: "OMG! Ssssooosososososo niiicccceeeeee!"

...Nnnnnaiiiii-ssseeeeee? Urgh. It makes my forehead hurt.

Old Hack
12-27-2012, 08:49 PM
This was recent and is all because of what happened with RJ Ellory really and his fake pseudonymous reviews. So you can thank RJ Ellory for the new policy.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/9738552/Author-backlash-over-Amazons-new-online-review-crackdown.html

It wasn't just Ellory who brought these problems to everyone's attention: Stephen Leather's admission that he wrote sockpuppet reviews--positive ones for his own books, negative ones for those of other writers--kicked things off, I think.

aruna
12-27-2012, 09:00 PM
I think Amazon reviews are still hugely influential with the general readership. And they are with me too.

Me too. And the thing is, it's the negative reviews that I always go to first, even when I loved the book. I just like reading what other people have to say.
The article linked to in the OP makes a good point in referencing the reviewer ranking system. For me, a ranked reviewer carries far more weight than someone I never heard of. I used to be belong to the amazon Reviewer Community (this was years ago, before I joined AW) and so e of these people take reviewing as seriously as we take writing. I was always happy to get a review from a ranked reviewer for my own books.

BigWords
12-27-2012, 09:09 PM
I read a review like that, and I wonder whether the reviewer is actually saying aloud, "Wow-wow-wow-wow! So-so-so good!" Because at least then it would be onamatapoetically representative.

Having spent too long looking at Amazon already (and subjecting myself to the kind of "reviews" which makes me look forward to losing my eyesight) I can safely state this - there hasn't been a single thing written on Amazon's reviews which has changed my mind about anything I was on the line about. There have been threads here which have convinced me to pick up a title I was unsure about. There have been reviews on Goodreads which have made me pick up books. There hasn't been anything on Amazon which has pushed me to spend money. Not a single review.

I'm not saying that all of the reviews on Amazon are bad. I'm just stating that I have yet to be sufficiently encouraged to hand over money due entirely to a review there.



BTW, I hang out on a reading forum from time to time, and I read through my Goodreads update emails for things to add to the TBR list. I also spend time perusing review blogs I trust, and ask people what I should be reading. There are places where reviews are appropriate, and I still don't see the point of either eBay or Amazon carrying reviews. I don't go into Tesco and get reviews of the various breads they have on sale before I decide which to purchase. Those sites are for shopping, and I do the ground-work on what I want to purchase before I venture forth to the wilderness.

James D. Macdonald
12-27-2012, 09:59 PM
A snarky one-star review is better for sales than no review at all.

fireluxlou
12-27-2012, 10:07 PM
It wasn't just Ellory who brought these problems to everyone's attention: Stephen Leather's admission that he wrote sockpuppet reviews--positive ones for his own books, negative ones for those of other writers--kicked things off, I think.

I forgot about Leather. RJ Ellory just doesn't quit, he's now banned from wikipedia, he tried to amend his page the other day.

shadowwalker
12-27-2012, 10:07 PM
I never pay attention to reviews on sites that are selling that item. I look (if at all) for independent review sites or friends' recommendations.

CrastersBabies
12-27-2012, 10:26 PM
What the holy F?

Seriously. Could authors just create a 2nd account and review with that one? I don't know. I mean, if another author reviewed my work (fairly), I would feel pretty honored. You get a decent review from another author in your genre and that can mean more sales.

This is just, I don't know. Are other writers actually giving bad reviews to competing writers just to be douchebags? You have an open reviewing system and you're going to need to account for assery regardless, but this is really fracked up.

frimble3
12-27-2012, 10:41 PM
This is an astonishingly stupid and short-sighted policy.


Amazon's policies are getting more and more nonsensical.

No, this is all an outgrowth of Amazon's original stupid and nonsensical idea: crowd-sourcing reviews.
Of course, writers were going to game it. Of course, people were going to use it to get their petty revenge. Of course, writers were going to bug innocent readers to leave a review. Of course, every monkey with a keyboard was going to write a review of Shakespeare.

Once upon a time, book reviews were written by professionals, or by amateurs with an interest in a particular genre.
You think Amazon couldn't afford to pay actual reviewers? Anyone else could leave a comment.

The random, anonymous opinions of strangers: not worth the pixels they're written in.

Mharvey
12-27-2012, 10:42 PM
My issue with it is the whole policy is just plain unenforcable. Writers intent on smearing other writers can just make up accounts, or just type up a review and have a friend post it on their account.

They'll find a way.

So in that respect, the policy is just plain silly.

johnhallow
12-27-2012, 11:05 PM
The folks who own Goodreads must be rejoicing.

Amadan
12-27-2012, 11:16 PM
No, this is all an outgrowth of Amazon's original stupid and nonsensical idea: crowd-sourcing reviews.
Of course, writers were going to game it. Of course, people were going to use it to get their petty revenge. Of course, writers were going to bug innocent readers to leave a review. Of course, every monkey with a keyboard was going to write a review of Shakespeare.

Once upon a time, book reviews were written by professionals, or by amateurs with an interest in a particular genre.
You think Amazon couldn't afford to pay actual reviewers? Anyone else could leave a comment.

The random, anonymous opinions of strangers: not worth the pixels they're written in.


Hmm, I don't entirely agree with this. I think it's good to read professional reviews, and of course lots of reader reviews are meaningless blurble. But social networking is still in its infancy, and already there are methods to rank and establish a level of "trust" for a particular user, hence people on Goodreads who friend other reviewers whose opinions they find worthwhile.

The idea that mere readers have no business commenting on what they read (how dare anyone who's not a Shakespeare scholar write a review of Shakespeare!) sounds like a curmudgeonly author rant.

DancingMaenid
12-27-2012, 11:21 PM
Yeah, this is flawed on several levels. It prevents a lot of knowledgeable and articulate people from writing honest reviews.

It also seems like a rule that could be applied very unevenly. If someone wrote one mystery novel three years ago, it seems like that would restrict them from reviewing in that genre just as much as someone who has a whole career of writing mysteries.

But at the same time, I don't think it's fair to say that authors within the same genre are always "competing" with each other. There can be cases where writers are in competition, and I'm sure some people act like other writers are competition. But come on, most people who like to read buy multiple books by multiple authors. And other authors getting sales can be a positive thing, since that means there's probably an audience for your work, too.

While authors could certainly write biased or unfair reviews in some cases, and there are times where there's a conflict of interest, I don't think that's any more inherently the case than with any other reviewer. A lot of reviews by non-authors are unfair, biased, or inaccurate.

shadowwalker
12-27-2012, 11:50 PM
I do wonder, often, whether reviews by writers are worthwhile to readers. Writers are going to be aware of/looking at things that readers may find inconsequential, while readers are going to see things that other readers think are important. But, as I mentioned, book reviews are really a moot point for me. Where books are concerned, what strangers (any strangers) say isn't of interest to me.

djf881
12-28-2012, 12:03 AM
The extreme manipulation of Amazon reviews by self-published authors (and a few real-published authors) required an extreme response.

Review manipulation has been one of the secrets of self-published author success since 2008. John Locke launched his career by spending about $20,000 on fake reviews. J A Konrath was quoted in the NYT as saying that he doesn't think review fraud is a problem because no harm occurs because of it.

Personally, I think people who are deceived into buying bad self-published books are, in fact, harmed. And Amazon is harmed if its review system becomes a joke. And it was becoming a joke. There were review-trading rings in various fora and online communities for self-published authors. Self-published authors were arm-twisting their friends and family into giving them five-star reviews. Gross distortions happened.

We've also had a recent spate of sock-puppeting; authors making accounts to review themselves, or to anonymously smear rivals. This kind of behavior can really distort the review ratings, because most books don't get a huge number of reviews.

If you have a problem with Amazon banning author reviews, you can blame the thousands of self-published authors who abused the review system.

Jamesaritchie
12-28-2012, 12:40 AM
Even reading Amazon reviews is silly. They've never been the least bit trustworthy. Fake reviews, you review my book and I'll review yours, I hate this guy so I'm giving the book one star, I like her so the book gets a great review, and may someday I'll even read it, on and on.

It doesn't matter whether other writers, or a bunch of monkeys do the reviews. They're all useless.

thothguard51
12-28-2012, 12:49 AM
Personally, I can accept Amazon's policy in this case. Why? I just don't see the need for a published writer to issues reviews for other published writers. It still reeks of wash my back and I'll wash yours.

Besides, if its not wise to read reviews of your own book, then why is it wise to write reviews of other writers books. I just think it opens a can of worms and why I no longer do reviews.

Filigree
12-28-2012, 12:50 AM
I have had at least two verified sales off one semi-literate snarked-out review, from customers who didn't know me. In that case, the reviewer's complaints were things the customers were actively seeking - and they told me so in fanmail.

I can give honest reviews of other books in my chosen genres, AKA my 'competition'. I can give honest reviews of competing books written by close friends. I don't care if they review me in turn (and I'd actually ask them not to, if it's a favorable review on either side.) Amazon doesn't think I can be professional, even though I've been reading one genre for nearly 40 years. So those reviews will stay on GR or on my blog.

backslashbaby
12-28-2012, 12:51 AM
I read the reviews and look for examples of what the review author is talking about. I do find the reviews helpful, but for what they say, not the number of stars.

I do hate it when co-authors of other works give glowing reviews of an author's other books. Yeah, y'all wrote a book together. Of course you want people to think she's a great author ;) She may be, too, but I'm not going to trust it.

justbishop
12-28-2012, 12:57 AM
Personally, I can accept Amazon's policy in this case. Why? I just don't see the need for a published writer to issues reviews for other published writers. It still reeks of wash my back and I'll wash yours.

Besides, if its not wise to read reviews of your own book, then why is it wise to write reviews of other writers books. I just think it opens a can of worms and why I no longer do reviews.

Uh...what? So once I become published, it becomes unethical for me to make my opinion on another published author's work known on a public venue, simply because I happen to be one of the millions of published writers in the world?

Apologies, but that is ridiculous. Becoming published does not negate one's opinion as a reader, or make it less genuine than that of someone who is not getting paid for their writing.

elindsen
12-28-2012, 12:58 AM
For the most art I like author reviews. They know what they're talking about. I've seen too many reviews praising a book then I look and the grammar or whatnot is awful.

Rhoda Nightingale
12-28-2012, 01:10 AM
Personally, I can accept Amazon's policy in this case. Why? I just don't see the need for a published writer to issues reviews for other published writers. It still reeks of wash my back and I'll wash yours.



I'd agree with this except for the policy trying to encourage that very thing. Authors can review books in their own genre as long as they're "positive." Which, I agree, is bullshit. But that's what the policy allows.

Cyia
12-28-2012, 01:13 AM
Amazon is in business to make money. They are now also a publisher. If it follows that good reviews mean more money, then it makes sense that a publisher who is also a bookseller only wants good reviews of its products.

There is no conflict of interest. Oceana has always been at war with Eastasia. That is all.

CrastersBabies
12-28-2012, 02:24 AM
For me, it comes down to the sample. If you have one (that's not just a title page, thank yous, acknowledgements and other crap) and you hook me in 6-10 pages, chances are, I'll buy your book.

I look at review, but look at content first. I read bad reviews and good reviews. The bad reviews are usually super easy to assess. "I hated Dragonlance books because I hate fantasy," type stuff is certainly a wash. "I loved this, omg omg omg!" is also a wash.

There are reviewers that I enjoy reading (who are also writers), that give honest, thoughtful critique.

The steamiest part of this load is the "no negative reviews" part. Well, if they're all good, they're not reviews, are they.

I'll be looking elsewhere (goodreads and bloggers who review) in the future. Fortunately, I can contact the reviewers I trust and go to their websites instead of Amazon.

Ken
12-28-2012, 02:33 AM
... without knowing all the ins and outs, this makes some sense, though I'm not sure it makes enough for such a policy to be instituted. I have read reviews by authors of competing books and whatnot who were clearly kissing up for the purpose of getting favorable reviews in exchange and other arrangements of the sort. Because you then go to the reviewer's book to see what they wrote and low and behold there's a review from the author of the book whom they reviewed, and it's full of praise as well. But then again I've read reviews by authors of competing books and whatnot that have been terrific and very insightful.

SomethingOrOther
12-28-2012, 02:46 AM
I read a review like that, and I wonder whether the reviewer is actually saying aloud, "Wow-wow-wow-wow! So-so-so good!" Because at least then it would be onamatapoetically representative. But if the sounds they are actually trying to represent are "WO----W! So--- good," then there's nothing for it but the spray bottle.

Compare also:

Said: "Oh my God! That is sooooo niiiiiiiiiice."
Texted: "OMG! Ssssooosososososo niiicccceeeeee!"

...Nnnnnaiiiii-ssseeeeee? Urgh. It makes my forehead hurt.

Have you considered that some of the general readership are snakes or various power tools? You are being speciesist!

Merrit
12-28-2012, 03:01 AM
I read and review on Amazon, even though I am an author. I review if someone asks me to do so and then I also review on my own. I always give an honest review, and I expect people to give me an honest review as well. I have had my share of bad reviews though and they suck, but I never play favorites. To me it is either a good book that deserves a good review or it isn't. I also read other reviews and will occasionally get a book and read it to see if I agree with the other reviewers.

thothguard51
12-28-2012, 03:40 AM
Uh...what? So once I become published, it becomes unethical for me to make my opinion on another published author's work known on a public venue, simply because I happen to be one of the millions of published writers in the world?

Apologies, but that is ridiculous. Becoming published does not negate one's opinion as a reader, or make it less genuine than that of someone who is not getting paid for their writing.

Does someone need a lesson in reading comprehension?

OhTheHorror
12-28-2012, 06:51 AM
For me, it comes down to the sample. If you have one (that's not just a title page, thank yous, acknowledgements and other crap) and you hook me in 6-10 pages, chances are, I'll buy your book.

This is me too. I don't read reviews on Amazon. I pretty much do the same thing I'd do in a bricks and mortar book store. Read the synopsis, read the sample and then decided to buy or not buy the book.

Personally, I'd rather subject myself to reading IMDb message boards or youtube comments than Amazon reviews.

BenPanced
12-28-2012, 08:12 AM
This is me too. I don't read reviews on Amazon. I pretty much do the same thing I'd do in a bricks and mortar book store. Read the synopsis, read the sample and then decided to buy or not buy the book.

Personally, I'd rather subject myself to reading IMDb message boards or youtube comments than Amazon reviews.
Oh, for the days when BBC America and Rotten Tomatoes had forums...

slhuang
12-28-2012, 09:29 AM
I only use the reviews on Amazon to inform me on nonfiction books or non-book products (but in both of those cases I depend on them heavily). Like others here, for fiction I depend on the excerpt and word of mouth of people I trust.

That said, I don't think the percentage of people who pay attention to reviews (and there are people who do) is relevant to whether this policy is (1) useful to the people who read reviews, or (2) fair to the authors being banned, considering that those authors are likely heavy consumers of Amazon's products and therefore should be able to partake in the dimensions of Amazon available to other customers.

I just blogged in rage about this (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/2012/12/27/its-amazon-versus-authors-and-amazon-looks-pretty-dumb/); I won't subject you guys to the whole thing, but the parts I think add to this discussion are:

First: The idea that authors are competitors with everyone in their genre is ludicrous. Reading is not a zero sum game; this isn’t like buying a television or a refrigerator. People don’t pick one author in a genre to read and then think, “Oh, I’m good now! I’ve got a product I’m happy with!” No, they buy more books. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that one author’s success leads to greater success for other authors in her own genre—for instance, how many kids went out and looked for more wizard books after Harry Potter? (The only exception to this might be certain types of nonfiction books such as textbooks.) Two books in the same genre are different products, and reading one doesn't make a reader not want to read the other.

Second: Why the outright banning? It seems like the much better system would be to allow authors to leave reviews but without accompanying star ratings—if Amazon is concerned the ratings are being gamed—and/or put author reviews in a different category, so that readers can click on a “see reviews by other authors in this genre” button. Heck, if I were one to read reviews, that’s the button I’d click on first.

justbishop
12-28-2012, 10:29 AM
Does someone need a lesson in reading comprehension?

I suppose it's possible, I've been drinking for a few days straight at my inlaws' house...but I don't think I was misunderstanding.

You're saying that you agree with Amazon in that you believe it perfectly fine for me to review a YA title at this moment, but once I sign a contract for the YA novella I have out being read by publishers right now, it becomes unethical for me to ever review another YA title?

If that's the case, then yes, that seems ridiculous to me.

bearilou
12-28-2012, 05:07 PM
Uh...what? So once I become published, it becomes unethical for me to make my opinion on another published author's work known on a public venue, simply because I happen to be one of the millions of published writers in the world?


You're saying that you agree with Amazon in that you believe it perfectly fine for me to review a YA title at this moment, but once I sign a contract for the YA novella I have out being read by publishers right now, it becomes unethical for me to ever review another YA title?

I just had to reread what Thoth said. No where did he indicate he thought it was unethical. He said he didn't see a need. He said that it could reek of reciprocation. He questioned the wisdom of applying not reading your own reviews to the wisdom of writing reviews for others.

Unethical never came up once.

disclaimer: I am not Thothguard nor am I a representative for Thothguard's estate.

Gilroy Cullen
12-28-2012, 05:17 PM
While I understand the brunt of the policy (to stop the sock puppet reviews and attack reviews to make one's book look better), I believe that the policy is flawed and will encourage more sock puppetry rather than less.

If every review has to be a positive review on Amazon now, I'll find my reviews elsewhere... (Which I already do for most things anyway...)


Suddenly, Librarything reviews are looking very useful...

jairey
12-28-2012, 05:29 PM
Loi McMaster Bujold's latest has two one star reviews from people who are upset that the publisher isn't doing e-book releases the way they want. They've been up for over a month -- I, for one, reported abuse (and I suspect others have as well) -- and they're still up. Also: BAEN had the book available from their site as kindle-format for $6 while (apparently) negotiating with Amazon. It's now available on Amazon for 9.99 -- and Baen is also 9.99 now.

Rhoda Nightingale
12-28-2012, 08:35 PM
I just had to reread what Thoth said. No where did he indicate he thought it was unethical. He said he didn't see a need. He said that it could reek of reciprocation. He questioned the wisdom of applying not reading your own reviews to the wisdom of writing reviews for others.

Unethical never came up once.

disclaimer: I am not Thothguard nor am I a representative for Thothguard's estate.
If I might interject here:

I assumed that justbishop's first post was in response to the Amazon kerfuffle itself, not a direct response to thoth's opinion even though it happened to fall underneath it. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I never got the impression that the pair of them were engaging directly until thoth made that "reading comprehension" comment.

aruna
12-28-2012, 08:54 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Same here.

thothguard51
12-28-2012, 09:20 PM
Rhoda,

JB quoted and responded to my comment, thus my polite reply compared to what I wanted to say...

victoriastrauss
12-28-2012, 10:12 PM
If every review has to be a positive review on Amazon now, I'll find my reviews elsewhere... (Which I already do for most things anyway...)


I just got a very stupid two-star review from someone with delusions about their knowledge of history, and an even stupider one-star review from someone who admits they didn't read the book--so Amazon is definitely not barring negative reviews from non-authors.

- Victoria

Phaeal
12-28-2012, 10:37 PM
Like others, I base purchases solely on my reading of an excerpt. Blazingly good reviews have no effect on my hand-to-wallet reflex. Neither do crushingly bad ones.

Well-written reviews, whether positive or neutral or negative, I read for their own entertainment value. GIFs of adorable kittens or cute guys in the throes of violent emotion are also a plus. Zon's got the excerpts, GR's got the GIFs. Fight on!

:D

Amadan
12-29-2012, 12:38 AM
I'm always amazed that people are still spouting this "Reviews are worthless because I read a stupid review and some reviewers are ignorant and blah blah blah" nonsense.

You can read a book and decide whether you think it's a good book, right? So can't you read a review and decide whether you think the reviewer know what they're talking about or has their head up their ass?

In most cases, even on Amazon, the difference between a worthwhile review and an uninformed stupid review is glaring.

I do sometimes read a book (or decide not to) based on reviews. Rarely based on a single review, but if several well-articulated reviews mention the same thing, it is likely to sway me.

I've also decided to read a book based on a very negative review. Or decided based on a gushing review that it's not my thing.

"Reviews are worthless" is the sort of thing embittered writers say.



Personally, I can accept Amazon's policy in this case. Why? I just don't see the need for a published writer to issues reviews for other published writers. It still reeks of wash my back and I'll wash yours.

Besides, if its not wise to read reviews of your own book, then why is it wise to write reviews of other writers books. I just think it opens a can of worms and why I no longer do reviews.


I just had to reread what Thoth said. No where did he indicate he thought it was unethical. He said he didn't see a need. He said that it could reek of reciprocation. He questioned the wisdom of applying not reading your own reviews to the wisdom of writing reviews for others.

Unethical never came up once.


I think there is a pretty clear implication of unethicality.

I am also boggled that "writers shouldn't review other writers' books" is becoming some sort of standard being advocated for nowadays. Writers have always reviewed other writers' books! Many book reviewers are also writers. It's ridiculous and absurd to say that you shouldn't be reviewing your "competition." We're not buying toasters here. If I buy your book, it doesn't mean I'm not going to buy that other book in the same genre that came out this month.

The only time I see unprofessionalism coming into it is when there are either Circles of Squee (most often occurring among YA authors) or when you get author feuds that turn into grudgey polemics about one another's work... and who doesn't like a good author-on-author smackdown. :D

(Back when author-on-author smackdowns (http://www.examiner.com/article/the-50-best-author-vs-author-put-downs-of-all-time) were witty and intelligent and not Goodreads catfights, that is.)

aruna
12-29-2012, 12:49 AM
I'm always amazed that people are still spouting this "Reviews are worthless because I read a stupid review and some reviewers are ignorant and blah blah blah" nonsense.

You can read a book and decide whether you think it's a good book, right? So can't you read a review and decide whether you think the reviewer know what they're talking about or has their head up their ass?



"Reviews are worthless" is the sort of thing embittered writers say.





Thank you. When I've read a book and either hate or love it, I DO read reviews, and I've never, ever, seen a review that says THiS BOOK SUX or THIS BOOK ROX. Perhaps because I don't read the sort of book that invites that kind of review? I look for detailed, intelligent, articluate reviews, and ALL books I read get that kind of review. I prefer to read reviews after I've read a book, not before. It's a substitute for a book discussion, maybe. I just like to see what other readers think about books I've read. Sometimes I go back months later to see what new reviews are up for particular books. Reader review reading is part of the fun of reading, and it doesn't matter if its on amazon or goodreads.

justbishop
12-29-2012, 01:03 AM
Rhoda,

JB quoted and responded to my comment, thus my polite reply compared to what I wanted to say...

Yes, you are correct, my post was in direct reply to yours ;)

And I understand that the word "unethical" was never used by thoth, but I felt it was implied in the following bolded. Maybe I should have asked why my review instantly begins to reek of "wash my back and I'll wash yours" at the moment I sign a publishing contract. But it's semantics, IMO. The feeling behind the post seems to me to be that published authors posting reviews of other writers' work on Amazon is somehow shady (or if we want to sound fancy, "unethical"), an idea which I find ridiculous. Apologies if I am misinterpreting:


Personally, I can accept Amazon's policy in this case. Why? I just don't see the need for a published writer to issues reviews for other published writers. It still reeks of wash my back and I'll wash yours.

Besides, if its not wise to read reviews of your own book, then why is it wise to write reviews of other writers books. I just think it opens a can of worms and why I no longer do reviews.

thothguard51
12-29-2012, 02:29 AM
JB,

Not saying your wrong on how you feel about giving reviews. Not my intention.

To help you understand my feelings though, go to a site like Goodreads or Amazon's author pages, and you'll find hundreds of self published and small indie authors begging for reviews, in exchange for reviews. This is where the reeking comes in for me...

Is this unethical? I don't know because it has become a standard business practice amongst the self published, as pushed by the self publishing gurus. Of course, most readers who are not writers will not understand if there is/was a rub my back and I'll rub yours agreement between writers.

Another example are these author blog tours going around. Its self published writers supporting other self published writers. You only hear about the good in a book and never the bad. Have you read any of these blog tours where the blogger challenged the writer on the style, grammar, structure, pace, PoV, or any number of issues with a book? No. Why? Because they won't get any more guest writers on their blogs...

As to authors reviewing other authors, its how I found Bernard Cornwell from a GRR Martin interview with Cornwell. I have found many authors I have never heard of from reading reviews by other authors I admire in reputable review sites. I have nothing against these type of reviews. I have also found a few self published writers I have enjoyed, from sites that are not review sites, like AWC.

I got no problem with writers reviewing writers. But lets face it, Goodreads is not exactly a reputable review site anymore and Amazon is trying to stop the scratch my back and I'll scratch yours game...

I do find some of the flame wars over book reviews and threads on GR very amusing though.

Sophia
12-29-2012, 02:40 AM
Even reading Amazon reviews is silly. They've never been the least bit trustworthy. Fake reviews, you review my book and I'll review yours, I hate this guy so I'm giving the book one star, I like her so the book gets a great review, and may someday I'll even read it, on and on.

It doesn't matter whether other writers, or a bunch of monkeys do the reviews. They're all useless.

And you're basing this sweeping generalisation on what, exactly? AW members have posted in this thread that they have written Amazon reviews. Perhaps you could visit one of their reviews, and show us the untrustworthy, fake, useless parts? Any review will do, seeing as how you know that ALL of them are such. And you know that because you've read ALL of them, even though doing such a thing is silly.

EMaree
12-29-2012, 02:43 AM
Thoth, do you feel the same when reviews are traded with a promise of honesty? I know it's often difficult to be sure just how much personal connections are swaying a review but to me, trading an honest review for a honest review between two writers isn't that different from trading an ARC of a book in exchange for a honest review.

But I'll admit that I'm highly sympathetic towards authors looking for reviews because hey, it's tough out there.


Another example are these author blog tours going around. Its self published writers supporting other self published writers. You only hear about the good in a book and never the bad. Have you read any of these blog tours where the blogger challenged the writer on the style, grammar, structure, pace, PoV, or any number of issues with a book? No. Why? Because they won't get any more guest writers on their blogs...

Among the UK book blogger circles, 'author blog tours' are a common part of a trade published author's promotional efforts. The blog tour posts are usually guest posts by the author on a variety of subjects, and they're followed a day or two later by an honest review from the blogger.

It's not uncommon to see a touring author's books get a terrible review after their visit, but it would be considered impolite to insult the author in her own guest post/book tour post.

I haven't experienced these self-published author book tours so I can't comment, but since 'author blog tour' is a fairly common term I thought I'd give an opposing example.

Calla Lily
12-29-2012, 02:54 AM
Even reading Amazon reviews is silly. They've never been the least bit trustworthy. Fake reviews, you review my book and I'll review yours, I hate this guy so I'm giving the book one star, I like her so the book gets a great review, and may someday I'll even read it, on and on.

It doesn't matter whether other writers, or a bunch of monkeys do the reviews. They're all useless.

Wow... Thanks for calling me a liar.

thothguard51
12-29-2012, 02:57 AM
Emaree,

Explain to me how I as a reader know honest from a reciprocal review or a review of a friends book. Yes, I am somewhat the skeptical type...

As to the blog tours, I do find some here in the US to be fairly competent and honest, but I think they are too few. If a blogger pushes his or her own writing more than reviews of other writers books, then I see the site as just another advertising gimmick for the writer turned blogger. But that is just me...

Still, these may be things I will have to get used to and learn if I ever decide to self publish. Shivers...

thothguard51
12-29-2012, 02:59 AM
Cally,

I'll read your reviews anytime. I know you put thought into giving honest reviews or you don't give them at all...

That does not mean we are going steady though...

EMaree
12-29-2012, 03:03 AM
Thanks for the quick response, Thothguard! :) I can definitely understand being sceptical, though it's not an attitude I have personally -- partly I suspect because I'm picky about the book review blogs I follow, and partly because Amazon UK doesn't seem to have reached the same promotional frenzy as Amazon.com.

Calla Lily
12-29-2012, 03:05 AM
Cally,

I'll read your reviews anytime. I know you put thought into giving honest reviews or you don't give them at all...

That does not mean we are going steady though...

:e2bummed:




:D


Thanks.

Amadan
12-29-2012, 03:13 AM
To help you understand my feelings though, go to a site like Goodreads or Amazon's author pages, and you'll find hundreds of self published and small indie authors begging for reviews, in exchange for reviews. This is where the reeking comes in for me...


Yeah, when it comes to self-published books, I do assume that any glowing review was the result of quid pro quo or review-begging or friends. But that's what I mean when I say that a discriminating reader can tell the difference between a real review and blatant fluffing. I look at a 5-star review for a self-published book and see that it is basically a plot synopsis with added superlatives, and that all the book's reviews are like that (especially if it's a self-published book and all the reviews are 4 or 5 stars) and it's pretty obvious what is going on.

That's not the same as reviews written for professionally published books.

Filigree
12-29-2012, 04:34 AM
I can tell a junk review from a useful one inside of 20 seconds, just as I can tell if I'll be able to read a book without gagging within 3 sample pages. Put the two together, and they're an excellent filter.

As for catfight author-on-author scuffles, I'd be honored if my writing was skewered by some modern Dorothy Parker. I'd learn from it. The Amazon Temple of Positive Squee doesn't work for me, and I won't contribute to it.

Calla Lily
12-29-2012, 04:37 AM
<snip> The Amazon Temple of Positive Squee <snip>

:roll:

justbishop
12-29-2012, 04:58 AM
Thoth, I totally see where you're coming from. Idk, I guess maybe I--like others have expressed--just feel like I can tell a "reciprocal scratching" review from a real one. I think the onus is also on the reader/buyer to do a bit of sleuthing for themselves if they are going to base their purchasing decisions on these crowsourced review systems, i.e. checking to see what other books the reviewer has reviewed, if they ever DON'T like something, whether the reviewer is a writer themselves, and if so who has reviewed THEIR books, etc.

I don't feel that all reviews by published authors (whether they came to the label via self or trade publishing) should automatically be approached as suspect, though, and I don't think that honest writers should have to feel like they are doing something shady if they want to review a fellow writer of their genre, that's all I'm saying. I guess I misinterpreted your first post as implying that we should feel weird about it.

ishtar'sgate
12-29-2012, 05:02 AM
I never pay attention to reviews on sites that are selling that item. I look (if at all) for independent review sites or friends' recommendations.

Yes, this. I also use the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon.

Atalanta
12-29-2012, 06:50 AM
So does this mean Amazon will no longer host publisher blurbs written by authors?

Personally, I only use Amazon reviews for two things: a) deciding if a book is eligible for review on my website, and b) as an opportunity to indulge in a little "See? I'm right!" about a book I either loved or hated -- after I've read it.

slhuang
12-29-2012, 07:20 AM
I'm curious whether anyone here can comment on this:

http://www.blackgate.com/2012/12/27/sff-corruption-part-i/

Quoted: "I can assure those who find this policy to be unjustified and unfair that it is absolutely and completely necessary due to the corruption, both professional and ideological, that is rife within the publishing industry in general and the SF/F industry in particular."

EDIT: To anyone reading this thread later, everyone below seems to agree that the guy I linked to is ridiculous and not to be taken seriously, which I am SO grateful to know (thanks again, everyone!). Carry on. :)

Amadan
12-29-2012, 09:34 AM
I'm curious whether anyone here can comment on this:

http://www.blackgate.com/2012/12/27/sff-corruption-part-i/

Quoted: "I can assure those who find this policy to be unjustified and unfair that it is absolutely and completely necessary due to the corruption, both professional and ideological, that is rife within the publishing industry in general and the SF/F industry in particular."


Yeah... that's Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, and the "professional and ideological corruption" he's talking about basically boils down to: "Chicks be voting themselves awards that rightfully should go to men."

thothguard51
12-29-2012, 09:40 AM
I take exception to the SF/F comment.

I see more of this stuff in YA and Romance than I do in true SF/F. (I do not count Stephanie Meyers crap as fantasy...)

slhuang
12-29-2012, 09:40 AM
Yeah... that's Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, and the "professional and ideological corruption" he's talking about basically boils down to: "Chicks be voting themselves awards that rightfully should go to men."

Oh wow, I'm glad I asked here. I got linked there and I read it and I was like, "Bwuh?" and it made me start to fear for the entire SFF author community . . . glad to know some context; thank you.

aruna
12-29-2012, 11:40 AM
Wow... Thanks for calling me a liar.
Don't worry, I'm a liar too. ;)

I can tell a junk review from a useful one inside of 20 seconds, just as I can tell if I'll be able to read a book without gagging within 3 sample pages. Put the two together, and they're an excellent filter.

.

Same here. Also I don't read self published books unless they come highly recommended by people I know personally. I just don't. On principle. No offense to anyone who SP's here (I have done so myself!) but I just don't trust random strangers who SP.

RichardGarfinkle
12-29-2012, 01:54 PM
I'm curious whether anyone here can comment on this:

http://www.blackgate.com/2012/12/27/sff-corruption-part-i/

Quoted: "I can assure those who find this policy to be unjustified and unfair that it is absolutely and completely necessary due to the corruption, both professional and ideological, that is rife within the publishing industry in general and the SF/F industry in particular."

Just to clarify the way the Nebula process works.

http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/rules/

Any member can recommend any work from the current year for the appropriate award (Novel, Short Story etc). The 6 works in each category that receive the most recommendations it is put on the Nebula ballot which all members vote on to give the actual award.

No member can nominate more than 5 works in any category.

I've been a member of SFWA for around 15 years. I've seen a fair number of people campaign for their works (sending copies to members etc) and some requests for logrolling, but nothing like the goofy cabal theory the quoted link describes.

AnneMarble
12-29-2012, 04:58 PM
I'm curious whether anyone here can comment on this:

http://www.blackgate.com/2012/12/27/sff-corruption-part-i/

Quoted: "I can assure those who find this policy to be unjustified and unfair that it is absolutely and completely necessary due to the corruption, both professional and ideological, that is rife within the publishing industry in general and the SF/F industry in particular."

I'm not surprised there is corruption in voting for awards. I've seen it happen with on-line awards, so why not with ... uhm... let's call them off-line awards? ;)

Still, I might take it more seriously if I hadn't heard great things about Vonda McIntyre's The Moon and the Sun, as well as Jo Walton and Nicola Griffith. ;) Also, some of the books the author thinks should have won are great, but not everyone's style of writing. Individual taste might be part of the issue, as much as corruption.

What a concept. People actually voting for the stories they like instead of the stories everyone said they should like. When I first started reading Locus magazine (an SF magazine), I started buying lots of books from their yearly issue of recommendations. I ended up with lots of books I couldn't get into, and realized my tastes ran more along the lines of reviewer Carolyn Cushman, not the harder SF reviewers. OTOH it's worth noting that most, if not all, of the wonderful Locus reviewers are... gasp! ... authors! :eek:

BigWords
12-29-2012, 05:33 PM
People picking on SFF isn't new. The best thing is to completely ignore those slamming the genre.

Phaeal
12-29-2012, 07:07 PM
I think the onus is also on the reader/buyer to do a bit of sleuthing for themselves if they are going to base their purchasing decisions on these crowsourced review systems, i.e. checking to see what other books the reviewer has reviewed, if they ever DON'T like something, whether the reviewer is a writer themselves, and if so who has reviewed THEIR books, etc.

Well, here's the problem right here. Ask crows for reviews, and what do you expect? Either they're going to follow their instincts and trash the book, or they're going to accept peanut bribes and praise the hell out of it.

Blacbirds excluded, of course.

fadeaccompli
12-29-2012, 07:20 PM
Well, here's the problem right here. Ask crows for reviews, and what do you expect? Either they're going to follow their instincts and trash the book, or they're going to accept peanut bribes and praise the hell out of it.

Blacbirds excluded, of course.

I only accept reviews from the respectable and objective grackle community, myself.

dolores haze
12-29-2012, 07:52 PM
I'm curious whether anyone here can comment on this:

http://www.blackgate.com/2012/12/27/sff-corruption-part-i/

Quoted: "I can assure those who find this policy to be unjustified and unfair that it is absolutely and completely necessary due to the corruption, both professional and ideological, that is rife within the publishing industry in general and the SF/F industry in particular."

Oh, that poor man. Seems like there's an infestation of girl cooties invading "his" genre. I'm trying real hard to wipe the smirk off my face.

victoriastrauss
12-29-2012, 08:22 PM
I'm curious whether anyone here can comment on this:

http://www.blackgate.com/2012/12/27/sff-corruption-part-i/

Quoted: "I can assure those who find this policy to be unjustified and unfair that it is absolutely and completely necessary due to the corruption, both professional and ideological, that is rife within the publishing industry in general and the SF/F industry in particular."
I have mixed feelings about the Amazon author reviews ban--on the one hand, I can see why they feel they need to address the abuse of their reviews system, but on the other hand I agree that their new rules don't do the job. But I read this post and IMO it's ridiculous.

First, he's comparing apples to oranges. There's no equivalence between author reviews on a major retailer's website and the award nomination process for a major genre writers' group.

Second, a flawed nomination process for one single fiction award (and I do agree that the old Nebula nomination rules were susceptible to abuse--actually, when I joined SFWA in 1998, the first contact I had from another SFWA member was a Nebula vote-swapping offer) does not point to wholesale "corruption, both professional and ideological, that is rife within the publishing industry in general and the SF/F industry in particular."

Third, the fact that works he thinks should have been honored by the Nebulas didn't get honored by the Nebulas doesn't indicate anything other than his own diverging taste. As a reviewer, he should be well aware that "I didn't like it" doesn't mean "it sucked", and "I loved it and it didn't win" doesn't mean "the whole process is corrupt!!!".

Bleah.

- Victoria

Amadan
12-29-2012, 08:50 PM
Really y'all. Google "Vox Day" to get an idea of who you're dealing with here.

(Hint: he is fueled by an incandescent hatred of John Scalzi, women, and liberals.)

James D. Macdonald
12-29-2012, 09:25 PM
Poor ol' Vox has been beating that drum for decades. Seems nobody don't give him no respect.

Filigree
12-29-2012, 09:30 PM
Now I remember this guy. Yep. Girl cooties!

slhuang
12-29-2012, 09:57 PM
Really y'all. Google "Vox Day" to get an idea of who you're dealing with here.Thanks SO much, everyone. I feel silly for not checking this guy out more myself first (someone I thought was reputable linked to him...now that I'm thinking about it though, they might have done so in ridicule and I didn't realize it).

Really appreciate everyone taking the time to tell me how bogus the whole "corruption" thing is. I'll be sticking with my initial opinion about Amazon's policy, i.e., it's stupid, ineffective for its stated purpose, and there are a lot better ways of dealing with this.

(And sorry, I didn't mean to derail this thread into a Nebula discussion. *hides*)

fireluxlou
12-29-2012, 10:09 PM
I forgot all about Vox Day, has to be one of the most miserable nasty people alive. There should be public flogging still. Tomatoes anyone?

AnneMarble
12-29-2012, 10:15 PM
Poor ol' Vox has been beating that drum for decades. Seems nobody don't give him no respect.
Oh lord, I remember that name back from the Olden Days of the Internet. And I think the same arguments are being used.

I think it's time to remind everyone of The Girl Cooties Theory of Literature (http://www.sff.net/paradise/girlcooties.htm). :D

justbishop
12-30-2012, 04:42 AM
Well, here's the problem right here. Ask crows for reviews, and what do you expect? Either they're going to follow their instincts and trash the book, or they're going to accept peanut bribes and praise the hell out of it.

Blacbirds excluded, of course.

Oh you know what I meant :P

Polenth
12-30-2012, 09:25 AM
Yeah... that's Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, and the "professional and ideological corruption" he's talking about basically boils down to: "Chicks be voting themselves awards that rightfully should go to men."

Yeah, this is a person who thinks women shouldn't have the right to vote, so bear that in mind when he's listing out women who shouldn't have won, so men could win in their place.

One thing I'd say with the Nebulas, it looks like the new system (which has run for a last couple of years) has broadened what gets through. There is a more diverse range of authors, new markets getting nominations, and so forth. Which is also going to displease Vox Day, because it means brown people are getting nominated for awards, as well as women. The sky is falling!

Fortunately, this isn't the majority view of people writing SFF, or we'd all be crying in the corner right now. The system's not perfect, but it's not a giant feminist conspiracy either.

BAY
12-30-2012, 10:10 AM
As a reader of many genres, I hate the new policy.

Amazon reviews sell more than books, and I think they moved to protect the rest of the corporation. I for one read through the reviews when buying gizmos and gadgets. I'm not a techie and some reviewers cover newbie concerns. The moment a buyer thinks reviews are "faked" Amazon will cough up a money ball. This move was to protect their $$.

MDSchafer
12-30-2012, 10:18 AM
So many people are successfully gaming their review system that Amazon should just do away with that feature across the board.

James D. Macdonald
12-30-2012, 10:32 AM
The only reason Amazon has "reviews" is to keep eyeballs on the sales page a few seconds longer. That's all.

stevewed
01-25-2013, 12:18 AM
You can review a book on Amazon if you haven't read it, but you can't review a book if you write in the same genre.

Filigree
01-25-2013, 01:10 AM
You nailed it. Makes so much sense, doesn't it?

Dave Hardy
01-29-2013, 12:35 AM
I set up my author profile on Amazon because I wanted to associate my name with my books.

Now I can totally understand the conflict of interest inherent to an author commenting on their own work or that of others. But there is also the undeniable fact that authors are often the best champions of the works they like, that influence them, or represent the trends they admire. I've found many of my favorite books & authors by looking at what Robert E. Howard, Bruce Sterling, or Michael Moorcock have recommended.

I suppose in the long-run Amazon's rules will have little impact. The examples I cited came from posthumously published letters, fanzines, or book introduction. Still, I'd sort of like to be able to use that platform to tell people why Elmer Kelton or CL Sonnichsen or Barrington Bayley is awesome.