Book Reviews, Ratings and Amazon

These days I barely ever read reviews of my books. I used to.

Around 2015 or so, I met someone who I called my 1 star reviewer. She, or whomever it actually is, routinely posted 1-star reviews on Amazon with the cut and paste comment that ‘pages were missing from the stories’. I was convinced this was a competing author in my space or someone who just didn’t like me. You can still see those reviews if you look. It’s strange that they remain in place though as I have notified Amazon multiple times that this is a cut and paste review and untrue. Apparently, they don’t care. There are no pages missing from the stories yet Amazon is quite content to let the reviews stand.

Then, a reviewer – could it be the same person? – popped up on my best selling Black-Eyed kids book offering 1 star and suggesting all the stories were copied from Reddit where they could be read for free. Back in those days, you could respond to reviews on Amazon and so I duly did pointing out that NONE of the stories in the book came from Reddit and questioning if the reviewer had read the book as it is an investigative work that uses stories and encounter experiences to illustrate the research. I wrote to amazon several times pointing out that the review was false and provably so. It’s still there. Minus my response as Amazon no longer affords authors the opportunity to respond and has deleted all responses…..

Things though got worse in some ways when it allowed readers to ‘rate’ a book. No review – just a score between 1 and 5. You can buy a kindle book, scroll to the end and vote it a 1. No questions asked. I suspect that there are a small number of folk who do just that. A case in point in one of my poetry books that has a written 5-star review but now has an average of 3 because a kindle user that voted it a 1 and that 1 is more recent than the written review.

Then there was the review by a certain Professor in California with an exe to grind. He doesn’t think people like me should be publishing our work as it isn’t up to the standards of classical english literature. So he buys 99 cent kindles and then spends his idle hours writing scathingly and witheringly sarcastic reviews. He reviewed my novella. At the time you could still respond so I did. In return for my audacity he had several of his students write 1 star scathing reviews as well – some I got removed but not all. What a nice man. You can still read his review in amongst the genuine 5 and 4 star reviews….

So, I don’t read reviews anymore on Amazon. Amazon seems to have a strange policy when it comes to reviews and ratings that is easy to manipulate and utilise for nefarious ends.

My books aren’t meant to be classic English literature. They are meant to be entertainment. Some people like them, others don’t. That isn’t gong to change.