Thursday, September 16, 2010

Unfair reviews

Bet that caught your attention - no I'm not talking about bloggers today.  I find bloggers are very fair in their reviews and state the fact when they give a low-rated review that it's their opinion and often go into detail about why they didn't like the book.  That is fair.  Bloggers do not have to write glowing reviews of books when they didn't like the book.  I think a lot of us struggle with writing reviews that are less-than-stellar because we don't want to hurt the author, but we read, we blog and we review so occasionally there are some books that don't quite line up with what we expected.  Again this is all fair.

What I am talking about are the people giving books 1 star ratings on Amazon because of the Kindle prices.  I saw this yesterday with Nicholas Sparks' newest book, Safe Haven.  Now I will be the first to admit his books are not literary genius, but you know what - I truly enjoy his novels, as do many other people obviously.  Yes they can be sappy and yes they can be sad, but he transports me to a place that is just outside my backdoor (I live in coastal NC) and his stories always captivate me and take me away for awhile.  Brain candy is what I call them.  So giving Safe Haven a 1 star review because it's $12.99 (which is a publisher decision not an author decision) is truly unfair.  If you don't like the book say so, give it a one-star review and tell me why, but don't punish an author because of the price of his book.  This isn't the first book that this has happened to and it won't be the last.  I wish Amazon could do something to stop this type of review, but then that is censorship and I don't want to go there either. 

I guess what is unfair is some people will see that 1-star review and steer away from the book.  Do I truly think the 1-star review will hurt Nicholas Sparks - no way - but what about a first-time author or a fairly new author that this happens to - that is where it becomes truly unfair.

So what is the point - I'm not sure, I just needed to vent and simply say - it's okay to not like books, it's okay to post bad reviews of books, but don't post bad reviews based solely on the price of the book (now if you wanted to say book x is definitely not worth the price because the plot stinks really bad then that is okay).  Complain to Amazon, complain to the publisher about the pricing, but don't hurt the author - they have nothing to do with the pricing models that are set up.  On top of that, don't buy the book, but again don't write a bad review simply because you don't like the  price.

I know I am preaching to the choir, but I just had to get it off of my chest - it's been bothering me since I read the review on Tuesday when the book came out.

Off soapbox now and back to your regularly scheduled sedate book review blog. :)


Mary said...

I agree, Crystal. Funny but I was thinking about this the other day while reading amazon reviews. I came across one for a book that received mostly 4 and 5 stars so I was surprised to see a one star. I read it only to find that the reviewer had a beef with amazon or the genre in general (I can't remember which) but I do remember thinking how unfair that review was to the author and publisher. I think amazon should be able to delete reviews that have nothing to do with the specific book or item.
Re Kindle prices, if I want the book I'll pay. If I'm not sure I'll wait and see if the price drops. But I WON'T complain about the cost of a book, kindle edition or paper. Those people should go to the library!
Thanks for the thought-provoking post :)

Patty said...

Crystal...I totally agree with you...and if people do not like the price of a book for Kindle they can tag it as a $9.99 boycott and then fairly review it...I have noticed tons of people tagging books this way on Amazon.

Crystal said...

Thanks for the comment Mary - I agree that Amazon should find a way to delete reviews that have nothing to do with content. I'm like you - I'll pay for it if I want it, no matter the price :)

Patty - I have not seen that tag - but that's a great way to be heard without affecting how others see the book.

Tiger Holland said...

Same thoughts, here. Star-rating decisions should be based on the merit of the novel itself, whether it was well-written and whether you liked it. Nothing else matters. Yesterday, I saw a book 1-starred because it was out of print. Yep, someone said they hated it because they couldn't buy it!

Audra said...

Vent away! I very rarely consider Amazon reviews any longer since they are so arbitrary and come from such bizarre places -- like anger over price, author's personal life, etc.

Rebecca Herman said...

I wish amazon would remove reviews where the "reviewer" admits that he/she hasn't even attempted to read the book. I can understand giving a low rating if you felt a book was so bad that you couldn't finish it, but it's not fair to rate books you haven't even TRIED to read because you are whining about the price. I've considered no longer posting reviews on Amazon for this reason because I don't want to be part of such a bad review system, but I also don't want to hurt the authors either if it's a book with few/no reviews...

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