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Rants: OT & OTT > How the ebook publishing game is played -- Amazon style

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message 1: by Patricia (last edited Jun 28, 2011 09:32PM) (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments Is it just me, or is this totally wrong? Amazon solicits author reviews for books they're publishing in exchange for promoting the reviewer's books on their site:

http://www.observer.com/2011/06/amazo...

The ick factor feels overwhelming to me.

Edited to add: I probably shouldn't have put "ebook" in the headline. This no doubt applies to DTBs they'll be putting out as well.


message 2: by Will (new)

Will Granger | 91 comments I think another question here is how many authors would say no to Amazon. I honestly would have a hard time saying no; however, I could not write a positive review on a book if I thought it sucked.


message 3: by Patricia (last edited Jun 28, 2011 10:00PM) (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments Anyone agreeing to their offer would, I think, feel forced into giving the books glowing reviews. But beyond the payola aspect of it, there's what this does to the integrity of the whole review process. This goes far beyond the one-liner blurbs you see on a book's cover. It's a review! People squeal about Indies peppering their listings with sock puppet reviews as if that's the most vile thing on earth, but what is this if not that? It's also proof once again that the unknown Indies don't stand a chance in this fixed game.


message 4: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Is it understood that the review will only be positive? If so then I do agree with Patricia.

That article hits a sore point with me as I was chastised for not giving a glowing review for a book I received as a freebie from an indie author a while back. It was implied in the come back that a positive review was preferred instead of an honest opinion. I don't review books positively. I review them honestly.


message 5: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments The article doesn't say the review has to be positive, but think about the author in the position of being asked for the review while also being told that the review will gain him/her high-visibility on the Amazon site. How likely is that author going to be to say, "Trash. Never should have been published"? Since the email to the agent didn't even spell out how the payola promotion would be handled, I'll bet the author would be doing the speculative math, figuring that a positive review would be more highly rewarded than a negative one.

Also keep in mind that, according to their current review policy, Amazon won't let reviews remain on their site if they're negative and posted by an author who's competitive with the one being reviewed. That makes me think these bartered reviews will need to be positive or else...


message 6: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Catch 22 then. In order to get visibility you have to prostitute yourself first. That can't leave a good taste in anyone's moth but I cannot find fault with an author who does it.


message 7: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Claudine wrote: "Catch 22 then. In order to get visibility you have to prostitute yourself first. That can't leave a good taste in anyone's moth but I cannot find fault with an author who does it."

I can. Sierra is a right. Something smells to high heaven here.


message 8: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
For a newbie any exposure is good exposure, even with the taint of "paid for" reviews. Those are the ones I can't find fault with.

Now if you did it Andre...I might be inclined to think you'd finally sold out.:)


message 9: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Of course, the woman who takes twenty bucks is a whore, and the one who takes ten million is a duchess. Maybe nobody has yet made me an offer big enough.


message 10: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Huh! No they are both whores, one just more smart about it than the other ;)


message 11: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments There's a discussion of this topic on The Passive Voice blog (swell blog, by the way) with opinions varying:
http://www.thepassivevoice.com/06/201...


message 12: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
I take the view this is an abuse of power.


message 13: by James (new)

James Everington | 187 comments It's bad, and it's arrogant. Hopefully this kind of thing will come back to haunt them. Let's post the link all over their message boards for a start.


message 14: by Andre Jute (last edited Jul 02, 2011 09:55AM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
James wrote: "It's bad, and it's arrogant. Hopefully this kind of thing will come back to haunt them. Let's post the link all over their message boards for a start."

You can't. It's an offboard link, so Amazon can ban you for it.

Sooner or later, I think, the anti-monopoly section of the Justice Department will come down hard on Amazon. That publishing house Amazon has just started in New York is clearly intended to steamroller the big six, and when they're weakened, leaving a clear field for Amazon to do what they want, including making take it or leave it offers to writers which will be a fraction of what they pay now. It's a clear bait and switch opening, technically called loss leader trading, which I've said all along (to choruses of outraged abuse from the Amazon faithful) every Amazon Kindle move has been, but most obviously the $9.99 bookselling scheme that cost Amazon billions in lost revenue. I'm amazed that the Justice Department has not yet acted against so dominant a vertically integrated corporation that flexes its muscles so blatantly.

You don't need to be an economist to see the danger that Amazon poses to publishing, to writers, and ultimately to readers. You just need to take your eyes out of your navel and, if you're a newly published indie writer, stop being a wishful thinker.


message 15: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Tillotson (storytellerauthor) | 1802 comments Claudine wrote: "For a newbie any exposure is good exposure, even with the taint of "paid for" reviews..."

Or not. Many Kindle readers (I have five such friends who are just ordinary folk and the list grows every day) have become savvy about Amazon reviews. They won't touch books with only glowing five-star reviews, or a preponderance of same.


message 16: by James (new)

James Everington | 187 comments You're right about the risk Andre; I'm amazed at the amount of people who seem to think Amazon will continue to let any author published anything for free forever.


message 17: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Sharon wrote: "Claudine wrote: "For a newbie any exposure is good exposure, even with the taint of "paid for" reviews..."

Or not. Many Kindle readers (I have five such friends who are just ordinary folk and the ..."


I tend to not read reviews. I look at the blurb on the Amazon page, go look up the author online (not on Amazon as I find their author pages sadly lacking) and go read a few pages if my local bookstore has it. If I like it, I purchase, if I don't then I don't buy. I find the 5 star reviews to be tedious mostly.


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