Open Letter to Amazon.com

Re: Amazon Reviews

Dear Mr. Bezos, et al,

I would like to take this opportunity to implore you to reconsider your decision to remove a number of reviews from your web site. I fully acknowledge that you, as the business, have a right to do as you see fit with your company. I would however, like to point out a few things to you regarding this new enforcement of a policy we were unaware existed.

By disallowing authors from posting reviews for books written by other authors, you are eliminating a huge venue for the promotion of the books you sell. As I am sure you are aware, for decades, publishing houses have relied on the “blurbs” of other authors to promote their books. This is common practice and should not play a role in the financial considerations of the “blurbing” author.

I hope you will reconsider your stance that authors are in competition with one another. This goes without saying, but with a few exceptions, authors have learned to co-exist peacefully without raking each other over the coals and trying to ruin one another.

Your determination that an author stands to gain financially in some manner when offering a review of another author’s book is simply befuddling. It’s a big industry and we deserve more credit than to be lumped in with the corporate moguls who are only in it for the money, no matter the cost to those they tromp on. I gain nothing by reviewing a book by Nora Roberts, except perhaps the knowledge that if I loved her latest book and say so, someone else will see my review on your site and buy that book to read.

I would also like to point out that there are by far more effective ways to handle some of the problems you have surely run up against in your review process. Instead of alienating us, why not incorporate some new aspects into the submission process. I would think that by allowing the reviewer to clearly state their relationship to the book (for example, a series of choices with radio buttons indicating this information):

  • Reader
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Editor
  • Bookseller
  • Librarian

Other readers and potential consumers can decide on their own whether a certain review merits their consideration. I feel compelled to tell you that so many authors feel abused by Amazon.com with this enforcement of the “no competition review” rule. As it stands now, you are not only alienating publishers, editors, and authors, but also booksellers, as they are the ones who truly stand to gain financially by posting favorable or over-exaggerated reviews. How will you weed out their reviews?

On behalf of multi-purpose readers worldwide, please reconsider your actions and give some thought to simply allowing people to say how they feel, no matter who they are.

With respect,
Karen Syed
Multi-purpose reader

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3 responses to “Open Letter to Amazon.com

  1. In addition to hurting the author, Amazon is hurting its own bottom line with its new policy of no author blurbs or reviews. This past weekend I participated in the Parkway North High School craft fair selling my restaurant diet books. Consumers read all the author blurbs and reviews in the front of my book before making a decision to purchase it. Without the wonderful authors who took the time to write those blurbs and reviews for me there is a good chance that I would not have made any sales. And when I, the author of a book do not make any sales, then I do not have any need whatsoever to order additional books for my next craft fair, book signing, or publicity event. So Amazon should take into consideration that Amazon is hurting its own bottom line as much as it is hurting the author’s with its no author blurbs or reviews policy.

  2. Excellent letter. I agree. One other point. what’s to prevent authors from having their families (and extended famlies) write reviews. That’s another
    avenue Amazon apparently hasn’t thought of. As it is, I’m an author, and now I can’t review books that are sold on Amazon and put in my reviews?
    Patricia A. Guthrie

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