Did you hear about Robert Galbraith? Did you?
What Really? Already?
Oh. Ok .
Ah, but did you hear that Robert Galbraith is now getting Amazon reviews from people who haven’t even read the book?
You did. Oh.
And herein lies the point of the post – yes, yes, I’m getting to it. I couldn’t very well not mention Galbraith at the same time the rest of the world does, could I? It was a perfect opportunity to write a post that has bothering me for some time and that is the Amazon review system. It’s the review system that everyone harps on about being all unfair, blah blah blah. But what it really is, is a review system set up by a business that sells books online, for those book buyers to leave reviews of items bought.
Now somewhere along the way, it has got mistaken for being a review site and a very important review site. Authors go on there and check their reviews, see how many stars and what comments are being left, while at the same time, moaning about the loss of book shops.
MM. I see a problem. Most online stores that sell you things, have the system of wanting you to review the item you bought. For instance, I bought a top from Dorothy Perkins online. I then received an email asking me to leave feedback on the item I received. This is all the Amazon online store is. An online store with a review system in place.
So here’s a novel idea, to stop all the harping about missing reviews and people not playing fair. How about Amazon make it so that only people who have bought the item can leave a review, full stop. I have left amazon reviews for books that I bought elsewhere because I know it is important to the author. But – IT’S NOT A REVIEW SITE.
Goodreads – yes I know it’s just been bought by Amazon – is a website that is filled with people who love books and share them, recommend them to each other, talk about them and just plain adore them. If as an author you want to know what people think, look on there or other similar book loving sites.
I really don’t know how it happened that today’s author places so much importance on the Amazon reviews as opposed to Waterstones reviews or WHSmith reviews or Goodreads reviews etc. but it obviously has and it’s causing some major issues. So it needs to go back to what it was intended for. It’s own customer base reviews.
And one other point while I’m on a flow. If my teenager wrote a book and published it, I damn well would write her a five star review and I dare any parent to say they wouldn’t. Some may expect me to say – sorry my sweet adorable child, you have worked so hard, I am so proud, but no, I won’t do you a review because it will upset the other children in the playground. Pah. Lets just assume each author has at least one family member who loves them enough to do them a review. So what, really? The fictitious reviews are concerning. And if Amazon stopped people like me who review books I haven’t even bought from Amazon because I’m busy buying from book shops, but leaving reviews because I know it’s somehow important to authors, things might start to get more sane in the Amazon review world. After all, the system was set up to review goods you had bought and most authors want you to buy books from book shops….
Where do you leave book reviews and why?
On a quick side note – tomorrow I’m off to Theakstons Crime Writing Festival. A four day event held in the very beautiful town of Harrogate. I will attempt to blog while I am there, so my morning posts should be events from the day before. If I have the energy! I did manage a couple last year when I went.
If you follow me on Twitter, be warned, there may be masses of activity and more than usual activity on Facebook as well. Feel free to mute any hashtags we use for the weekend, but don’t forget to unmute me afterwards!