Last month Amazon quit accepting reader reviews for unverified purchases. You may have seen this message when you tried to upload a review of a galley or a borrowed book.
“Amazon has noticed unusual reviewing activity on this product. Due to this activity, we have limited this product to verified purchase reviews.”
The above message appeared right after I clicked “Write a customer review.” from this listing.
Who knows how long Amazon will persist with this behavior, but right now, it means a sea change for our industry. Why? Because Amazon reviews have historically been significant in driving a book’s sales and now their reviews are harder to get.
If you’ve been publishing your books for a while, you know that Amazon has gone on review jags like this before. In the past, they have banned specific reviewers. They have deleted reviews after they’ve been posted. They’ve accused authors of soliciting fraudulent reviews.
Algorithms don’t always get it right. Just because it looks like a connection may exist between reviewer and author, doesn’t mean there is one, and even if there is, that doesn’t mean an author has influenced the review.
Going forward, I will ask the readers who review my clients’ books to post their remarks to Goodreads, BookBub, and their blog since most of them review from egalleys. Do you plan to redirect where you upload your reviews as a result of this ban on reviews from galleys, borrowed books, and book purchased elsewhere?
To my view, this vendor’s behavior hurts them as much as it hurts authors and reviewers. If they think this will encourage people to purchase books through them, I think they’re mistaken. Do you? Have you ever been banned by Amazon as a reviewer? Have they ever limited reviews for a book you’ve published? Where do you buy your books?
Please drop a comment below with your feedback on Amazon’s new limits on reader reviews.