Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Getting the Most From Amazon's Book Reviews?

Anyone who shops online knows that customer feedback is a very important part of business. Each customer review can help drive sales. It's the same in the book blog biz. My review policy states guidelines for publicists, publishers, and authors who want to know if I'll be a good fit for their books. It goes without saying that one of the main things they're looking for is how far I "spread the word." Will I be sharing my review on Goodreads? On Twitter? On Amazon? 

One of the best places to be reviewed is on Amazon, but Amazon has had problems for years with phony feedback. There have been websites created specifically to post faux reviews of products on Amazon-- for a price, of course. 

Amazon has recently taken steps to crack down on those phony reviews, but-- as usual-- they seem to have gone too far in the other direction. If I had my choice, I wouldn't bother posting book reviews on Amazon. There are too many people with too much time on their hands who love to play little games with the "helpful" buttons. But... the publicists and authors are expecting me to post my reviews on Amazon, so I do.

Why do I think that Amazon's new rules have gone too far the other way? Because now the only measure of a "real" review is whether or not you have purchased the book from Amazon. I can see their reasoning behind this decision, but I know for a fact that there are plenty of people who've gotten their books legitimately from the library, from purchases at brick-and-mortar bookstores, and from authors and publishers-- not from Amazon.

I take a look at book reviews on Amazon all the time, but now I have to jump through a hoop or two to find everything. You see, Amazon has its reviews set to show "Verified Purchases" first. If you don't take a look, you may not realize that you're only seeing a percentage of the total reviews. Now let's see if these screenshots work so I can show you what I mean. Print not big enough? Just left click on the graphic, and it will automatically open in a new window so you can see what I'm talking about.


The next time you're looking up a book on Amazon, scroll down to the bottom of those first few reviews. The red arrow is pointing to "See all verified purchase reviews (newest first)."  Click on that.

The next window that opens will look something like this:

Just underneath that "Top positive review" you'll see the phrase "Showing 1-10 of XXXX reviews (verified purchases). Show all reviews." Click on that blue "show all reviews" on the Amazon page, and you'll finally be able to see what everyone thinks about the book you're thinking of reading. 

Call me contrary, but I don't like someone else choosing what I will and won't see. I thought some of you might feel the same way....


  1. I had already gotten to the point of not wanting to leave book reviews at Amazon. I leave reviews at Goodreads, Twitter, Google +. On a rare occasion, I will still leave a review at Amazon.

    1. I also use Pinterest and Facebook to post reviews. The only reason why I'm still at Amazon is because of ARC-giver expectations.

  2. One of the reasons I stopped accepting ARCs (except the occasional Australian book) is because of the expectation of leaving an Amazon review. I'm afraid it's a company I don't trust due to its many business practices that I find unethical. I try very hard not to send any money towards them though it's impossible to avoid them completely - even from here. I realise my choice will have zero impact on the company but I at least feel like I'm able to sleep at night :)

    1. I feel the same way about Wal-Mart, Bernadette. I know they're not missing my money at all, but I'm still making a point by staying out of their stores and sharing my opinion. :-)


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