Book reviews coming

If you haven’t recently looked at Amazon’s book reviews, these have undergone a massive change. The reviews are still there, but greatly diminished in utility. Perhaps the main value of the old book review system was that it allowed you to look at reviews ranked by “helpfulness”; in this familiar scheme, people vote reviews up or down, and you can then use the voting results to pick out the reviews that are not junk. This was so useful that I even saw Brian Lamb use Amazon reviews to grill authors on his Book Notes show, way back in the 1990s.

This is no longer possible however, for reasons I don’t understand in full. Part of the reason is Amazon’s new “Verified Purchase” campaign. If you are not registered as purchasing the product you review, FROM AMAZON, the default ranking system no longer counts your reviews. (Note that this system also excludes books you might have bought from an ‘Amazon seller’.) This campaign only began in recent years, yet it has now been applied to all previous reviews, across the board. As a result, all reviews from before ‘verified purchases’ began to be counted are now essentially kicked out of the rankings. In addition, the metric for ranking seems to have changed, even for those who have made a ‘verified purchase’, so that a ‘verified purchase’ review with dozens of ‘upvotes’ will not necessarily outrank a ‘verified purchase’ review with only one or two upvotes, or even no upvotes. Age of the review seems to play some part in the new rankings, but other than that I can’t see rhyme or reason for these rankings.

In any case, it is a waste of time to post reviews under this new system, which was intended for consumer goods, not books. I didn’t have many reviews up, but I did spend time on the ones I posted, so in a feeble attempt to recoup some of that effort, I will repost my Amazon reviews here, slightly modified in some cases when I left off interesting stuff to fit into Amazon review limitations. In the future I’ll post all new reviews here.

This entry was posted in Book reviews. Bookmark the permalink.