Friday, 24 February 2012

The Amazon Community

In the Blogosphere there are pretty often discussions on if we bloggers have to write negative reviews. Should we post them? Do we hurt the authors? Almost everyone agrees; negative reviews are needed sometimes, and if they stay respectful to the author, why not? (Discussion: Should Bloggers Post Negative Reviews?)

I have had some run-ins with authors that commented on my review on Goodreads, but it always stayed pretty polite. If it was about a mistake in my review, I would say sorry, I'll correct that. And if it wasn't, I would point out that it was my personal opinion. I have also emailed some authors when the book really, really wasn't for me, and politely declined to write a review.

On community sites like Goodreads and in the book-blogging community, negative reviews are just a part of life. Just like the raving 5-star ones. But on Amazon I have found out that this isn't the case. I found out the hard way.

I got called names. I "had to get over myself", "no one is interested in my opinion" and "can only write overly critical rants and nothing else". I actually felt so bad about that 2-star review that I was thinking about taking it down from Amazon. I asked a few of my bloggish friends, and I'm glad they advised me to keep it up. The review was a rant, yes, but I didn't say anything bad at all. I reported the person that was hateful, and the comment got deleted.

Now I have added another review, this time a 3-star one on Anne Rice's new book. If you're interested, you can read it here. For some reason, I get a massive amount of downvotes, again. I don't say anything bad or condescending. It just not my thing. And it isn't just me; apparently Amazon customers don't find negative reviews helpful. About 80% of the reviews on all the books on Amazon are 5-star reviews. There are barely critical ones, and if there are bad reviews, they get downvoted into the ground.

It makes me a bit sad that speaking your mind isn't appreciated there. I want to support authors by posting my reviews on Amazon (as the saying goes - even bad publicity is good publicity), but I'm starting to doubt my decision.

What do you think? Do you post your reviews on Amazon? Even the negative ones? Have you had negative responses to your reviews?


Kat B said...

I always think of Amazon as a 'soft reviews' site - I value negative reviews as they do help me decide whether to read the book, but not always that I WON'T read the book - an example being if a negative review about a Zombie book says there is too much gore, or focus on the zombies, it makes me WANT to read the book as I like those things in my zombie-reads.

However, like you, I've noticed that 'negative' reviews aren't the norm, and are considered by some Amazon users as more of an attack than a valid observation about a person feeling about a book.

If I come across a book on Amazon I ALWAYS cross-reference with Goodreads. As a general rule, I find GR reviews more honest, more constructive and as a site purely devoted to readers there are more people I trust on GR than Amazon.

I haven't had negative responses to my Amazon reviews, but I can imagine that day will come, and I'll just shrug it off and move on :)

Celine said...

Thanks for sharing your opinion on this Kat! I agree, I never trust the Amazon reviews without checking Goodreads too. On Goodreads you don't earn anything by posting dishonest and purely raving reviews - while on Amazon you might be able to join the Amazon Vine programme and get free stuffs. People like free stuffs.

I'm totally with you on the negative reviews helping you find things you like. Often things other people dislike are things I actually enjoy in a book.

I hope you don't get any negative responses to your reviews. It's not a lot of fun (:

Liliana said...

Yeah, I post my reviews on Amazon too. I have one 2 star review that people actually found yay. But I have a 4 (or was it 5?) star review that got 2 thumbs down! I was pretty shocked to see that. I said I liked the book, so why do that? I have no idea. Like you, I've have considered to not post my reviews on there anymore...but I decided to continue doing so. I've moved on and if people like my reviews, then great! But if they dont, then oh well.

I dont really trust reviews on Amazon either. Goodreads is great for reviews though!

Reading_by_Kindle_Fire said...

Aww that sucks, but I know, whenever I go on Amazon there're never any negative reviews that's voted up. What I do is that I actively look for the 1 or 2 star reviews to see what's going on. If they're just a 1 sentence saying the thing sucks I'll vote it down, but if the reviewer takes the time to explain why they disliked it then I'll vote it up. I hate how people bash on negative reviews. If they're so sure they're going to like it and don't take the time to process the negative reviews, then why bother reading reviews in the first place? Just go buy the book! 

Nicole said...

That's pretty interesting...I always find 1-3 star reviews more truthful than the raving ones, since LOVING a book tends to make you overlook the little negatives that would otherwise bug you. I don't know...that's just my opinion. But I think it absolutely sucks that people bashed your review simply because it wasn't positive. I think that reviewers owe the truth to fellow readers, and that it's the nature of publishing that some people will dislike a book.

Great post :)

rogier said...

sorry 2 hear that happen

The Muggle said...

It is really sad that people do that!
I don't post my reviews on Amazon. I use goodreads because there are good and bad ones. And before I read a book I would like to know the good and the bad.

I only post a review on Amazon if the Author asks.

viola van der Rhee said...

Thats too bad, I didn't know this but thank god I also read reviews on shelfari although I think its affiliated with amazon I do see real reviews and sometimes there negative.

Celine said...

I don't have any experience with Shelfari.. But I expect it to be more like Goodreads and less like Amazon

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