Friday, November 18, 2011

An Emerging Issue With Online Book Ratings: The No-Review Review, and Non-Book Related Rating

An Emerging Issue With Online Book Ratings: The No-Review Review, and Non-Book Related Rating
by Frank Hall

There is an increasing problem that needs to be dealt with soon. Unfortunately, I am not sure what to do about it. It's been happening for years, but now that ebooks are really coming into the fold, it's becoming more and more of a problem.

Stephen King's newest book just came out. Now, this is Stephen King I am using as an example, so I know that he is not going to be hurt by bad reviews. As of right now there are 10 reviews that are 1 star reviews on Amazon. Of those, 9 are just complaining about the price of the ebook.

We license people to drive cars. If you don’t have a license, you can't drive a car. We do this because if you can't drive, you can hurt yourself or others. Maybe we need to license people to use the internet. Now this has been a running joke for a while, but I think it is something that might need to be done. Maybe not a license for the entire internet, but maybe websites like amazon should put a hold on people's accounts like most forums do. For the first 6 months, everything you post will be reviewed before it is actually posted.

Like I said, Stephen King is not going to get hurt by a bad review. But what about all of the indie authors out there that only get a small amount of reviews? What about someone who is not reviewing the book, but making a comment about how Amazon took three days instead of two to ship them their book, or the fact that the Publisher has set the ebook price at 8.99, and that is way too much to pay for an ebook. A single bad review wont kill someone like getting behind the wheel of a car might, but it will damage an indie author's sales and their ability to make a living.

The world has gone digital. We are a digital society, and we need to start putting common sense, and at least some guidelines in place in cyberspace, like we would in real life. Like I said, I am not sure what the solution is, but we need to work on finding one.

UPDATE (as I finished this blog post): There are now 14 reviews of Stephen King's book, 3 of which have actual reviews of the book.

--Frank Hall
Owner of That Book Place and Hydra Publications

Visit the sites for That Book Place and Hydra Publications:

1 comment:

  1. Frank:

    This is a completely relevant concern, and I am so glad you brought it to light. There are indeed many unfair critics who will use reviews to take out their frustration - particularly when the frustration has no direct connection with the book or author. It is something that needs to be addressed, and I think an 'account hold' may very well be the best thing to begin.
    I have run into an article, however, that briefly mentions how negative publicity via bad reviews can actually be a positive thing, bringing attention to a new writer. I'm not entirely sure what I think of this, but here is the article if you would like to deduce your own thoughts on the matter:

    Thanks! I look forward to your future posts.