Amazon Reviews & other things

Having got help from Booklikes who contacted me within minutes of reading a blog I had posted with the answer to a problem I was having without even having to ask - it reassured me of the correctness of my decision to transfer from Goodreads to Booklikes. It is clear from this kind of proactive attention to possible difficulties that I have made the right choice and that as the site develops I am sure any reasonable requests for useful functionality currently not avaiable will be in due course.


Having not even requested help and got it - it made me even more conscious of the difference beween a money making engine like Amazon and a member's site with a real desire to help.


I have already complained about the fact that Amazon demand so much from Indie authors in terms of discount and free delivery that while they stock my book (usually only one at a time, replacing it when they sell it) I actually lose money everytime they place an order.


Then why do I do it then? - the more financially competent of you might ask? Well the answer was it was my first book and it seemed like a good idea at the time! It was important that if readers searched Amazon, first stop for so many people, it needed to be there! Of course I didn't realise at the time that it would appear on Amazon simply by virtue of it having an ISBN number. In fact by dealing directly with Amazon I shot myself in the foot.


As it turned out they were already selling it! With their global ambitions they will take an order anyway - they simply placed an order with a wholesaler for it - who bought it from me at a much smaller discount - of course when I get an order from a wholesaler I don't know who the customer is and it seemed that many of them were coming from Amazon - these dried up when Amazon could get them direct at a hugely increased discount so I was the architect of my own downfall!


I have never tried to get my books stocked with Amazon since, 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me!' They do get 'stock' via POD distributors so I haven't fallen for it again.


In an ideal world of course people would use Amazon simply as a search engine and then buy from an Indie bookshop, direct or somebody else who actually gave a damn about books and authors but perhaps that is a World that has long gone.


Of course this refers to 'proper' books - not e-books, Amazon provide better margins on those as their tactics are different, if they can destroy paper books entirely, force everyone to buy a Kindle and hopefully persuade, cajole, blackmail, bribe, trick people into only buying a Kindle and e-books through them - then Bond-Villain like World Domination is just a step away!


So I don't feel they care very much for me as a supplier.


As far as reviews are concerned, everytime I look at the reviews for 'Clan' I find my blood pressure rising. Of course it would be nice if all my reviews were good - but that is not realistic I suppose, criticism is fine if it is constructive and a balance between good and bad reviews might be expected.


But on Amazon UK I have 22 reviews, Twenty 5 star, one 4 star, and one 2 star. Personally, the 2 star review I consider to be a troll who I suspect hasn't even read the book (seems he usually reviews footballs for Amazon rather than books!) - but as it is the only one that is 'bad' it is given equal prominence side by side at the top of the page as apparently they wish to give equal prominence to the good and bad reviews. I rogue review thereby gets a prominence on Amazon that it certainly in my view doesn't merit, or offer a good balance to any potential reader. But I guess that is something that one has to put up with - hopefully the overall star rating has more prominence.


Additionally as a global Company why don't they get their act together with reviews? An English language review of a book is equally useful to somebody in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc - so why not link them together? It is also equally useful if it is a paperback or an e-book, it is the same story for goodness sake! Or do they just want to make sure you are a customer in their territory before you have the privilege of reviewing something?


As their reviews seem to be linked to purchases that is clearly a reason for independant sites like Goodreads and thus why selling out to Amazon is such a bad idea.


Well Goodreads is dead; as far as I am concerned anyway - long live Booklikes!