Digital Digest: Algorithms for What to Read Next


chsmith says...

I am a Top 1000 Reviewer on Amazon:  a designation which means that I've written and posted a lot of reviews there, and a lot of people have voted positively on them. (92%, at last count.)  I've been doing this "job" since 1999, and I take it seriously.  Once I hit that top ranking, publishers and authors began to come after me via e-mail to review their books.  Most offers, I turn down.  A handful, I consider.  But I always look first at the listing page on Amazon before I make a decision.  Sometimes the book has only a few reviews posted, and none from a ranked reviewer.  These, I consider even more.  But others may have 12, 30, 73, or more than a hundred already online.  I think, What's one review more going to mean?  Why should I waste my time reading a book, thinking about it, and crafting an honest (and usually three-paragraph) review ... especially when all the typical customer is going to see on the listing page is the top three reviews and the last ten???  Authors need to understand that the NUMBER of reviews is not important.  They need to stop sending their blanket queries to ALL Amazon reviewers merely to jack up that meaningless number.  Reviewers are just like publishers.  They have specialities.  Not every reviewer likes or reads every kind of book.  And customers are savvy.  They may scrutinize the reviews and say, Hey, this person never reviewed a children's picture book before.  What's up with that?  Or, This person typically devours cozy mysteries.  Why is she touting the virtues of this karate book instead?  I spoke yesterday on this very topic to my local chapter of Sisters in Crime, of whcih I am a member.  This issue needs to be addressed more:  to authors, to publishers, and to reviewers.