Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reviewers Behaving Badly

Hi all!

Normally when someone is behaving badly and I talk about 'em, it's almost always an author. In this instance I'm holding up a reviewer as an example of something that is bad behavior. I'm not going to name this reviewer, but I will go into a little detail. If you really want to track them down, it probably won't be that hard.

Recently on Amazon someone posted a five sentence review for a Ken Follett book. That in itself isn't an automatic bad thing. Short reviews do not always mean bad reviews. No, what made this bad was that the review wasn't about the book at all. It was yet another one of those reviews that complained about ebook pricing.

It's become fairly common knowledge at this point, but in case there are still people that are unaware of how ebook pricing is done, the merchant has no control over the price. Zip. Zilch. Ebook prices are all completely set by the publisher and if the merchant tries to lower that by even a penny, the publisher goes up in arms to stop the merchant from doing so. Amazon tried to offer lower prices, but were stomped on by the publishers. The publishers ultimately gave Amazon the ultimatum that if they didn't sell them by the publisher prices, they (the publishers) would yank their books off of Amazon entirely. It was pretty much unsaid that if they ran, the other publishers would follow suit. It was pretty obviously blackmail, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if Amazon was the one getting less money by the previous sale points and the publishers still got their profits. The publishers didn't want anyone selling an e-book for anything less than what they set. Years later of course, we'd start seeing more obvious signs of publisher price fixing between the major three publishers.

So long story short, publishers are the people you need to complain to. Amazon cannot control the prices any more than they can control the rain outside their factories. If they do try to change something, they run the risk of losing books for the kindle, which would effectively mean the death of the kindle and would definitely put the company as a whole at a loss.

Don't post negative reviews for books complaining about the book prices. It doesn't do anything. People have tried this before and all the publishers have done is laugh... and then do nothing. It's only when people put their money where there mouth is and stopped buying the books as well as sending out petitions that the publishers eventually started lowering their prices somewhat, although it's been going back up since then. All that publishing negative "this price point sucks" reviews do is irritate your fellow readers. You want to make a difference? Email the publisher. Stop buying the books and go through the library instead. Do anything other than post fake one star reviews complaining about the price.


  1. This is why I like being an Indie. I set my own prices.

  2. Yep- I wish that the big publishers would pay attention and stop fixing prices, but it's really not fair to the authors to keep posting negative reviews on their books when it's only for the price point.