Wonky Reviews

Have you ever been doing some reconnaissance for a book and while you’re scrolling down the reviews, you discover that the reviews seem to come from different books?

I did some research on a book that I might read and review, and because I always look at what others have to say, I scrolled down to the reviews. I always make a point to read both good and bad reviews. In this case, this book had less than ten reviews. All but 1 of those reviews were raving about how good this book was. That 1 review was confused because the reviewer wasn’t sure he’d read the same book as everyone else. He said the book was “good,” but not a five-star kind of good.

Which brings me to the point: how much can we trust internet reviews? I mean, what are the chances that the author asked others to invent those reviews?

It’s not bad, I mean, I asked my mom to leave a nice review. This isn’t so much a problem on Amazon as it is on Goodreads – those reviews don’t have to be “verified.” On Amazon, it shows if a review of a book is a “verified purchase,” which means that reviewer paid for that book. They didn’t receive it for free in exchange.

I want my review of any book to be unattached and 100% unbiased and honest. I don’t want to feel guilty for leaving a two-star review when I received a free copy of the book. I want other readers to be as honest so that way I don’t feel like I’ve been lied to when I buy a book.

I’m also glad they changed their review policy to remove paid reviews. Yeah, that’s was a thing, apparently – people asked for money in exchange for a review. If you mentioned anywhere that you’d received money in exchange for the review, your review was taken down. Another reason I prefer to just buy the book – no gray area.

In a way, false reviews feel like false advertising. If a book isn’t five-star material, then don’t lie about it. The next reader, expecting a five-star experience, will feel cheated.

I also think it has much to do with reading level. I see this variation in reviews more so with style in writing. One review claims the book is great while the next comments how juvenile the writing was. What one reader considers “juvenile” the next reader might consider good; have you re-read an old favorite and realized how bad the book was written? When you read that book as an eleven-year-old, you didn’t realize how childish the writing was, because that was where your reading level was.

Sigh, the never ending plight of the indie writer and the reader.


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