Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday's Vent!

Amazon. *sigh*

They really need to get a clue. Wake up and smell the coffee. I'm sure by now most of you have either seen or heard about the customers taking a swing at authors the only way the know how, by posting 1 star reviews. Why? Because the book they want to buy isn't available on the Kindle. Yes, so instead of mabye sending an email or letter to the publisher, as they're the ones who actually have control over this--NOT THE AUTHOR--they're hitting the authors where it hurts most. By posting the lowest possible rating they can, on books they've never even read!

Amazon clearly isn't without blame here. Obviously. Nevermind the fact that they're greedy and tend to NOT give publishers a decent percentage, which is why publishers have to take steps to ensure they're print sales don't go to the crapper. Beyond all the greed, the fighting back and forth and all that nonsense, however, there is still one MAJOR issue here that has me grinding my teeth in anger.

Folks posting 1 star reviews on books they've never even bought from Amazon. 1 star reviews on books they've never even read!

I've always had a problem with Amazon's review system. Anyone can set up an account, purchase ONE item off their site and you're cleared to review anything they sell. That bugs me. As an author...I feel the only people who have a right to say whether my book sucked is the person who actually spent their hard earned money on it. If you bought it from Books On Board, review it on Books On Board. Don't go to Amazon and review it just because you feel more people will read your scathing remarks. Let's face it, half of the negative stuff we see online today is there because some Joe Schmoe feels like superman--able to say whatever they want with zero reprisals. So, most of those so-called reviews are people who want to get a rise out of the author, the readers, and anyone who happens across their comments.

I have major problems with the notion that you can go online anonymously and feel you don't have to abide by the same moral code as if you were looking at that author face to face. And, let's not forget I AM a reader. There are times when I don't like the books I purchased. There are times I want to share those thoughts. But there's a such thing as decency. We've talked about it before here at Three Wicked Writers and I'll say it again. Speak online the same way you would speak to your mother, father, daughter. In other words, and like most of our parents told us growing up, 'think before you speak'. In this case, think before you hit the 1 star button. You're quite possibly hurting an author's career, and all because you're pissed at Amazon and the publisher. If you must throw a fit because the book you want isn't yet availble in the format you want, then at the very least throw your punches at the right people!

Okay, end of vent. I feel like total crap today. I need some of that daytime, non-drowsy, congested-stuffy head, sore throat, coughing, aching, fever so you can get through the day medicine. Please!


Jolie Cain said...

Yes. That does suck.

BrennaLyons said...

The two possible ways I can see for Amazon to rectify this is to either make a required review with rating and required block that says "does this review deal with access issues, the item in question, or both" and split the fricken reviews/ratings into those that are ONLY based on access issues and those that aren't. If someone lies about what the review contains, the review gets yanked. If the review is clearly libel and vitrol, it gets yanked.

OR... Allow only people who bought it on Amazon to review and then buddy with someplace like Goodreads or Library Thing to show more reviews.

Either way, it takes the sting of 1 stars out of the BOOK ratings and makes them all about the publisher distribution...which could actually work. As long as those reviews are not held against the book, let them say what they want about the publisher's idiot practices.

Not that I think it works to mark down a book. Publishers only care about what formats SELL. If you boycott, they aren't learning anything. If all you do is leave nastry reviews, they aren't learning anything.


Book of Secrets said...

I agree with you. Censorship sucks, but if the "reviewer" clearly states the book was given 1 star JUST because it wasn't available on Kindle, then the "review" should be removed! If you want to read the book SO badly that you can't wait for the Kindle version, buy a paper copy. I still love them. Honestly!

D. Musgrave said...

That's wrong on so many levels. Personally, I agree with Brenna about the system for reviews needs to be revamped.

Bekki Lynn said...

I, too, agree with Brenna. Some type of control needs to put in place.

Mobipocket wasn't aware that anyone can post reviews without purchase until I asked for fake reviews to be removed. They couldn't remove them, but they'd look into a way to prevent those who didn't purchase through them from posting. Blowing smoke, I don't know.

I knew they were fake, because there were no sales during the quarter they were posted.

Then someone went on a rampage at goodreads over reviews on one of my books -- attacking me, the publisher and anyone who posted good reviews on my books.

Seriously, you don't like the story - you don't like the story, but you don't go around attacking.

Like you said, Anne, people need to think before they write.

Madison Scott said...

This is really unfair. It shouldn't be held against the author and there should be a way that Amazon monitor the reviews. Check to make sure they're really a review on the book.

Wendi Zwaduk and Megan Slayer said...

Now you know I review as a side job, so I actually read the book before I write the review, BUT I've never given a poor rating because a format wasn't available. I gave it to someone who can access the format. And yes, that sucks ogre balls to get a low rating because of format because it says NOTHING about the story, just the frustration of the reviewer and that's not the author's fault. But I think that's been said more than once. :)

Unknown said...

Amazon sucks and won't stop it because it makes the authors who are available on the kindle good good.

Regina Carlysle said...

That's just so dumb, Anne. And Wrong. There are a lot of mean and thoughtless people out there.

Anne Rainey said...

Brenna--Well said! I agree with you.

The thing with Amazon is that they will never change this policy. They get way too much traffic from the general public because everyone and their brother knows they can easily post a quick nasty comment on Amazon, whether you bought the item or not. As long as Amazon is getting so much traffic, this won't change. Which just pisses me off.

Anne Rainey said...

Bekki--I'm so sorry that happened to you! Honestly, Goodreads and places like that scare me off. I never know what sort of comments I'm going to see about my books when I go there. So, in order to keep from feeling like total shit, I simply don't go there! Which is sad, really.