Monday, November 5, 2012

Amazon and author reviews: a discussion and contest



I know it's election day, and while I encourage everyone to go vote, I figure we are all just about done with all things political...or are we? While scanning my FB newsfeed I came across an article about Amazon deleting author reviews (you can read the full story here) which seemed quite interesting and almost made me wish I had a Twitter account so I could see what my bookish friends were saying. Almost, but not quite:)

Basically, Amazon views authors as in direct competition with each other so they do not allow them to review for one another. Honestly, this isn't something I usually think much about, but I do know the practice of leaving good and bad reviews has gotten a lot of chatter in recent months, and that at certain points the discussions have gotten quite ugly. Again, I just never thought much about it and have steered clear of all the nastiness, but I admit to being quite curious as to whether this is something we as readers should care about. 



I've always thought that if an author blurbed or reviewed a book it meant that the author in question had read said book and in doing so had generated a genuine opinion one way or another as to whether the book was good or bad, but I wasn't ignorant to the fact that many times they authors might be friends. It makes sense, right? You share important things with your friends. You expect your friends to tell you the truth and not let you make a fool of yourself. You ask for honest feedback from your friends. Why should authors be any different? Wouldn't something like this be considered a peer review? Why would Amazon expect authors to avoid recommending books to fellow readers? Now, I actually like when an author I respect and admire shares their current reading lists (or playlists, or shopping finds) because often times it leads me to discover new things. Besides, if an author takes the time out of their busy schedule to talk about a book they've read then it might be worth listening, just like when a reader takes time. Do I base my purchases off author recommendations? Not hardly. Overall, it just doesn't seem like something Amazon should police, at least in regards to books, and in my mind they should worry more about all the fake profiles people create because that's just shady as hell.

So, what do you think: Should Amazon allow authors to review each others books or should that be considered a violation of a direct competition rule? Leave a comment and I might just send you a book from my stash of reviewed books!

16 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

Authors are people too so yes sure they should be able to review other's books..just not their own

miki said...

I think an author should be allowed to review book(s) from her/his friends... they are competetent i don't think they would try to sabotage said book.
But reviewing is own book that should be forbidden

SandyG265 said...

I think authors should be able to review book they read just like anyone else.

Jo's Daughter said...

I wouldn't mind it if an author reviewd books. His or her friends and family are probably reviewing aswell, so why not. Just not hteir own books please.

CrystalGB said...

I think authors should be allowed to review books.

Lil said...

I have actually tried books that some of my favorite authors mentioned enjoying and found that my tastes were similar. So, I support the peer review idea.

Reviews could be used with ulterior motives, I suppose. We have seen authors knock down another author's work or a group of authors behaving badly in supporting works of each other under the same publisher (for purpose of bumping up the rating of books) while denigrating other reviewer opinions. However, this type of thing appears to me to be the exceptions, not the rule. And anyone reviewing could potentially do the same, serving personal goals for or against an author or book.

Michele Hauf said...

As an author this baffles me. I'm a reader too! 95% of the books I read are pleasure reads, and not for a blurb or review. Why should I be denied the opportunity to leave a review on a book I liked?
Too strange.

Na said...

Authors are readers too and should be allowed to review books.

Cylver said...

I'm not a writer, but if I were, I know I would value reviews from fellow writers, since they know what it takes to craft a story, to create compelling characters, to write convincing dialogue, etc. I think it's a bad move on Amazon's part to delete reviews from other authors.

Al Ammons said...

I would think that authors can review other authors. Maybe a caveat up front that the reviewer is an author might be in order. As Lil mentioned, if an author I like says she/he likes a particular book I would be more likely to read that book.

laura thomas said...

I would think that authors would give very intuitive reviews, being writers themselves. I see no reason why an author shouldn't be allowed to review books.

Barbara E. said...

I agree that authors are readers too and should be allowed to review books (just not their own). I think writers have a unique perspective on a story and their review would definitely have value to other readers.

DANIELA said...

I think that authors should be trated like any other reader when reviewing a book. Why make a difference? Why should Amazon decide whose review to publish / delete? I know that Amazon will do as they please, but it does not make it right.

Chelsea B. said...

That is a hard one. Some, as it is, are immature and take things too far. But for the most part, people are reasonable, and so I think everyone should be able to review. But still, I see where Amazon is coming from. One uncalled for remark from an author and BOOM, everything gets blown out of proportion. I guess, really, I have mixed feelings. You hope that people could handle themselves professionally, but in reality, it doesn't always turn out that way.

mariska said...

Should Amazon allow authors to review each others books , yes ! why not , coz authors are readers too..and i'm sure some of their own readers will (try to) find the book and read it.

bn100 said...

I think authors should be able to read and review other authors' books.