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Is Amazon deleting reviews?

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Showing 26-50 of 114 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2013 13:28:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jan 2013 13:31:43 GMT
Marion Stein says:
Hey Monica --
That hadn't even occurred to me. It's still a distant second. Ethereal's comment is pointing to something. If other people have said the same thing (though in this case, not nearly enough of them) then how much is this about ME wanting to shout, "I am outraged"?

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2013 09:18:42 GMT
monica says:
A distant second-best measure might be to give an appropriate tag to the book. I shall never ever read Protocols of the Elders of Zion but I got a bit of satisfaction from tagging it 'vile hoax'. . .

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2013 05:02:00 GMT
Marion Stein says:
No apology necessary. I don't think I explained it well. Apparently per an interview I looked at, the author who has trad published work said his/her agent wouldn't handle this because of the "controversy." So yeah, probably strong opinions if he/she went through with self-publishing.

I could see a discussion on "fiction that's EXTREMELY politically incorrect, or racist or something." I think the thing is, it would be hard to discuss stuff without being specific about what book. Some books that have been around a long time might get discussed -- e.g. The Turner Diaries or Gone With the Wind (which does indeed SUPPORT chattel slavery). But I couldn't discuss the book I'm thinking of without discussing I'm thinking of.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2013 00:44:22 GMT
Marion, I didn't mean blogging about the book, but about the offending topic itself. Blogging about the book would be free advertisement, of course. As to commenting or discussion on the book: I think if people are too thick to get it by reading the premise, then they won't understand if you hold it in their face. And the author has already gone through the length of writing and publishing it, so that opinion seems to be quite strong.

Starting a discussion thread is not a bad idea, I think. Again, not about the book, but about the subject matter.

However, discussing things is still different to a negative review because you disagree with someone. That was the point I was originally making. I know you didn't post it and never intended to, maybe it was just your wording. Apologies if I stepped on your toes. I'm a bit pedantic when it comes to those things. :-)

Posted on 10 Jan 2013 00:28:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jan 2013 00:31:49 GMT
Marion Stein says:
I don't mean to sound like a tease btw, in not naming the book. If anyone is that curious, you can send me an email at marion at caradelocapress dot com, and I'll send you a link to it (and the American reviews) I think you'll get what I'm talking about. (I did consider blogging about it, but didn't because of backlash. I'm actually off to check Big Al and Pals because I'm curious if his site reviewed it and what they said.)

Update: Nah, Big Al didn't touch it.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2013 00:25:38 GMT
Marion Stein says:
But I haven't talked about it. I don't know the author. There is nothing personal about this. Honestly, I'm not sure why I even brought it up on this thread. Let's make this clear, I have not written a review of any book I haven't bought or haven't read. I'm not planning to. This particular book hasn't gotten any UK reviews but has 65 mostly favorable ones on the US side. I think it shows a kind innate bias in reviewing books because most readers (like me) would look at what it's about, be offended and/or disgusted or uninterested and walk away. They wouldn't give it a bad review or speak to its racism. The people most likely to want to read it are probably the ones who believe some of the same nonsense that the author does or are just missing the utter craziness and offensive of the premise. I don't want to blog about it because it is a self-published thriller that probably at the height of it's popularity sold no more than a few thousand copies. I'm not out to get the author or shame the author or bring attention to it, which could probably only result in more bad stuff happening.

Ethereal is right (as is often the case). Reviewing it would bring more notoriety and the fact that even a a couple of people have made the points I would be about it, calling the author irresponsible, hateful, etc. But it's disturbing to me that so few did see it that way, and even some of the others that didn't like it had trouble with the writing NOT the content. It's frankly embarrassing to me as an American that a VINE reviewer gave the thing five stars.

It's probably stuck with me and stayed in my mind (the book came out a couple of years ago) because when I heard about on some forum and checked it out, I didn't publicly say anything. Not in a review and not on forum. I disagree with Stella about not using the review section to discuss the books. There are comments in the customer reviews for a reason and some reviews have led to conversations. I'm not proud that my reason for not discussing the book was because I didn't want backlash rather than because it would only have brought it more attention.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 22:02:54 GMT
Me, me, me. I'm fearless, but there are areas I just keep it shut. In this case, though, I'd probably have started a thread. And blogged and ranted and, and, and.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 22:00:37 GMT
gille liath says:
Then we can all go and disapprove together. :)

Come on, though: if we're all to be judged by what we were tempted to do, and didn't because we feared the repercussions - well, who volunteers to be first? :)

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 21:58:14 GMT
gille liath says:

This was one of them, anyway:

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 21:57:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2013 22:01:11 GMT
I know. And the only reason s/he didn't write the review is because of being an author and fear of backlash. So if s/he were a 'pure' reader, the review may have had happened. That's how I interpret that statement and felt compelled to say something.

I do understand frustration all too well. By the way: I'd like to know which book it is.

Edit: make the s/he a 'she'. Marion, why did you change your name? Tut tut.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 21:51:10 GMT
Ethereal says:
You did that to make me jump up and down, didn't you?
Never in the right place me, but I'll content myself with a thread ...

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 21:43:57 GMT
gille liath says:
Doesn't sound like much fun without the naming & shaming. ;)

Actually, I only knew about it because the authors complained on the forums (very unlikely I'd have been looking at their books otherwise). So the culprits were certainly named - don't think they felt a lot of shame though.

Posted on 9 Jan 2013 21:39:42 GMT
Ethereal says:
I must say my curiosity is now piqued ... A thread here on the matter, without naming and shaming obviously, is a great idea I think!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 21:34:01 GMT
gille liath says:
To be fair, Stella luv, as he said: he *didn't* review it, he was just tempted to.

As a general point I agree though. I've come across a couple of cases recently of reviews based only on the 'Look Inside' sample - both very negative (and rather pleased with themselves). But we can all read the sample for ourselves, if we wish. A review needs to be offering something that is not already obvious (preferably, knowing what the rest of the book is like).

Unfortunately, bad SP books and constant spamming seem to goad some people into doing these things, and even thinking they're performing a public serivice.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 21:26:12 GMT
I just stumbled over the sentence of you saying that there's one book you wish to give a negative review, despite not having read it.

It's like saying I don't like the author and therefore give him a negative review. In my books that's not right.

If you want to talk about it, fine. I think it's healthy, but not on the review form. Write a blog post about it, open a dialogue on here, on the fiction forum by starting a thread.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 21:18:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2013 21:26:01 GMT
Ethereal says:
If other reviews point out the hate-mongering I can't see what's to be gained by adding yours except the satisfaction of voicing your own objection, which of course you're at liberty to do, and if some readers haven't "got it" there's no reason to think your input would make that difference?
I agree it's not a good idea to do that without reading the entire thing (thus avoid making yourself a bigger target), which would mean unwillingly putting money in that author's pocket and ploughing through the book, as well as the backlash you spoke of as a writer ... I guess it depends how strongly you feel.
ETA: Notoriety might even increase the book's sales, human nature being what it is ...

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 20:14:00 GMT
Marion Stein says:
Stella -- I generally don't think reviewing a book I haven't read is useful, and as I've said, I haven't reviewed it. I wouldn't read it because that would mean buying it which would mean supporting it which I won't do. But it's a hateful book. It promotes hate toward a group of people. I recognize that this may be some people's thing, but I think a lot of the readers of that book, aren't even getting it on that level, and there should be a dialogue about it. I also recognize that the book doesn't violate Amazon standards or reach the level of "hate speech" that would ban it in some countries. The "what if" premise protects it from that.

I think in case like that, to protest it, and it's clear what it is from both what I have read of it and from other reviews, using the customer comments to point out what it is would be appropriate.

Posted on 9 Jan 2013 19:47:53 GMT
But reviewing a book you haven't read is useful?

You said the premise is ridiculous and promotes hate. Just walk away. You don't need to buy it if it's not your thing. If others like it, it's their choice.

Posted on 9 Jan 2013 19:13:38 GMT
Marion Stein says:
"I bought a book based on a poor review because what that reader hated I liked."
Good point, and I think one reason writers should be less crazed about "bad" reviews. I've had the opposite experience. I've stayed away from books with five star reviews when those reviews revealed reasons why I would probably hate the book. I've never left a one or two star review on Amazon, mostly because I've never actually bought or gotten through a book I think deserved one. If it's that bad or that wrong for me, I'll figure it out before I buy it.

There's one self-published book out there that I would love to give a bad review to. I haven't because as a writer, I'm afraid of backlash. I haven't actually read it, though I read an excerpt and the sample. The book's premise is just outrageously offensive and the plot is ridiculous. I wouldn't give it a bad review for its ridiculousness. Some readers like that kind of thing, but the premise really promotes hate. I've peeked at the reviews for it on occasion. A few point this out and call it hate-mongering, but most people review it favorably and seem to find the premise chilling and believable. That's scary to me. It also goes to show how useless customer reviews for books are.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 08:02:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2013 08:32:14 GMT
Ethereal says:
"I have read a fair few books that were dire to say the least but I just cannot see the point of giving them 1 star unless I wanted to be spiteful."

Not only being helpful to other readers but authors too. Some on these forums have thanked reviewers for pointing out problems, correcting some errors, and even where it's a matter of taste they can aid readers so good for the author. For instance, I bought a book based on a poor review because what that reader hated I liked.
ETA: I'm not into reviewing but do take part in writing workshops and am used to critiquing others' works, so I'd review all books as objectively as possible and neither spite nor adoration would come into it. I imagine many avid reviewers are the same, though there are no doubt some spite reviews as there are gushing author/friend/family ones, which probably even out.
And when people have wasted time or money on a poor book in their opinion it's understandable they might want to warn others and let off steam!
As a reader I tend to ignore most 1 and 5 star reviews anyway as being the extremes and can't imagine giving either of those ratings to any book.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jan 2013 23:21:36 GMT
Marion Stein says:
For that matter a lot of people simply create an imprint and put up public domain content. Don't know if Amazon restricts that or how much you can charge for it, but consumers need to be aware before they overspend on that kind of stuff. Some stuff that is available free elsewhere on the net can also be converted to mobi form for Kindle users.

Posted on 8 Jan 2013 13:48:34 GMT
M. Dowden says:
Potsdamerplatz, there are loads of books like that available on this site. I forget the name of the reviewer but I think he is currently in the top 10, if you go through his reviews you will find that he has put down loads of reviews telling you where the material has come from (i.e. wiki) so that people don't get conned into buying those books.

Posted on 8 Jan 2013 13:37:01 GMT
@Ken - I cannot understand why anyone finds the need to post a 1 or 2 star review. What an earth is gained by it? You cannot possibly like all you purchase. I wonder how much food you have bought that you did not like. Would you go hunting for a place to review it.

Because some self-published Kindle authors have written books which blatantly rip-off content from Wikipedia. They just copy and paste the text and upload it as an e-book. Legally they aren't doing anything wrong as all user-submitted content to Wikipedia is in the public domain. But if you spent a few quid purchasing a book only to find it's 90% full of content which you can find online for free then you have a right to be annoyed and such books deserve a 1-star review. The authors are just lazy and out to make a quick buck.

There's even an e-book containing the full transcripts of the Nuremberg trials of 1946, despite the entire proceedings being available for free on a website called the Avalon project. What a complete rip-off.

The Nuremberg Trials - The Complete Proceedings Vol: 1 The Indictment and Opening Statements (The Third Reich from Original Sources)

Posted on 8 Jan 2013 09:37:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Jan 2013 14:29:51 GMT
The problem is that the system Amazon has originally put in place is product reviews: you buy a remote control or hoover and tell others if you're happy with the product.
Applying the same system for books has to fail. No surprises there.

Edited: stupid typo

Posted on 8 Jan 2013 08:38:05 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
The one key thing we must remember is these are customer reviews. They are there for the benefit of customers; not writers, nor - indeed - for reviewers. It is the customer that Az should consider above all else when moderating reviews. If they have doubts about the bona fides of reviews I think this is one case where it is better not to give the benefit of the doubt and they are quite right not to publish; I actually wish Amazon was more pro-active in this respect as their site is strewn with dubious reviews.
Given that there are a reasonable number of quite critical reviews to be found (at least that tends to be the case with conventionally published books) I don't get any sense that Az are deleting reviews simply because they might impact on sales. I suspect that where adverse reviews are deleted it's more likely because the reviewer may have written something that could leave Az open to litigation, or - again - doubts about authenticity.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  38
Total posts:  114
Initial post:  26 Dec 2012
Latest post:  19 Jul 2016

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