Reviewers are Weird on Kindle – Observations

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am reading into things too much and possibly I am spending too much time reading about marketing and learning about how much reviews matter in launching a book to retain full sanity. However, I have noticed something really weird in the Kindle Store.

Think about when you go out to eat and you check yelp. Most of the reviews are fairly good. If there’s a 3 star average in reviews there’s probably only a few reviews. Likewise if the restaurant has a full 5 stars there’s probably only a few and they are probably fake or fakesih sounding. Which is kinda weird right? I think so. Why do fake reviews if we can all spot them?

Well were doing it on Kindle all the time. I’ve personally gotten about 10 offers to do review exchanges this year. Usually from authors in other genres. Is 10 reviews going to sell a book? Probably not. What I’ve heard is that the “magic” number is 100.

What am I getting at here?

I guess I’m not really sure. I launched a book full of grammar errors and I dropped it into the wrong categories with a title that didn’t accurately convey the contents of the book. I’m sitting at a good 4 stars. Which really makes me wonder what you have to do to have a 1 or 2 star book?

In the end I think working this out made me realize that readers are forgiving and the ones who leave reviews are typically generous. I think they understand how much thought and emotion goes into writing and appreciate the effort.

I think sympathy is why most reviews, even when they say bad things, give a high number of stars in the reviews.

9 Comments

  1. As a reader, I don’t really care for the star system. What is a 1 or 2 to you, might be a 4 or 5 to me. People are so random in how they rate books. I’ve seen authors comment that a reader left a one star review because they didn’t want a book to end…it makes no sense! I prefer to look at what the person thought of the book, rather than the number of stars they rated it.

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  2. What doesn’t make sense to me is how many 5 star reviews people give out to books they just *like*. I mean, readers are so used to it that they will snub books with averages of three to four stars. The problem with this is that it detracts from the value of classics. Does a 5-star rated but forgettable x book (I don’t want to name any genre because I don’t believe any book must be inherently worth less due to its genre) truly as good as like, For Whom the Bell Tolls? We can’t all be Hemingway, people! I think people should be very stingy with five star reviews. But because I know things don’t work this way, I feel inadequate as an author when my book has a star average less than 4 (somewhere along the way, people forgot that 3 stars is still supposed to be considered a positive rating).

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  3. I changed my rating system to something that made more sense of how I enjoyed the book. I found that it gives off how I really feel about what I read instead of being sympathetic.

    For example, my equivalent to 4 stars is ‘Well Damn’. Why? “Well damn that was a good book.” Then I tell why I had to say well damn. If the stars were more attached to meaning, maybe the ratings would be more honest in a way.

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    1. Interesting. I had considered using arbitrary numbers such as 38 out of 42 but instead I’ve moved towards talking about why people might list or dislike a book in reviews. “If you like the tv show @#$#@$ you might like this.” Or if you liked this book you might like this book. Stars are irrelevant.

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      1. I actually used that tactic with my last book review. That might just be one of the best ways to review. Stars seem to be too vague, which isn’t good when you’re trying to show honesty.

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  4. I’ve noticed some 1-star reviews with only one or two words, e.g., “Silly” or “Not impressed,” for books with several highly articulate 5-star reviews. When you click on the reviewers’ links, they don’t let you see their other reviews. Raises my suspicion of troll conspiracies. Justified or not, the suspicion is there. Time may (or may not) tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen those. It’s a shame that people don’t give more explanation of low star reviews. But I suppose if you don’t like something you probably don’t really want to review it.

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