I’ve been busy reading nonfiction. Recently I finished (couldn’t stop reading) an engrossing work of nonfiction. I was so enthralled with both the quality of the story-telling and the writing that I ran over to Amazon and left a five-star review.
The next morning my sister recommended a book on the same subject. She hadn’t read it but a friend of hers had recommended it to her. This was a much shorter work, 71 pages to be exact. A little pricey at $2.99, but I figured, eh, 71 pages. I can read that in an hour or so. I did. Yeah, same subject matter, awful treatment of said subject matter. I found the author’s voice offensive and disingenuous, and her sloppy unedited style off-putting to say the least. In fact, the quality of the book was so poor, especially in comparison to the beautiful book I’d just finished, that I headed over to Amazon in a huff, prepared to write a one-star review so other potential readers would beware.
I stopped myself- for two reasons. First, regardless of how bad the book was, I decided that writing a one-star review was a waste of my time. Second, I noticed that every reader/reviewer who had given the book less than four stars had been deluged by mean-spirited, nasty, snarky, insulting comments regardless of how well-written the review. Even if I hadn’t already decided to skip the review, boy, those bullies would have stopped me in my tracks.
You know, it’s ironic that the subject of both books is, get this… unconditional love. Seriously. So book A is actually about unconditional love. Book B, which is supposed to be about unconditional love, comes complete with a posse of conditional bullies.
Herein lies the problem… I appreciate a solid review, regardless of whether the review is positive or negative. A review written by a screaming fangirl is of no help when determining whether or not I might enjoy the work. So those of us who are inclined to write legit reviews are discouraged, nay, terrorized, into not writing a review by roving gangs of bullies.
I’m not telling Amazon what to do. But I am saying there are consequences.
A. I’ve heard from other real readers that they no longer leave reviews.
B. I no longer trust any four or five star review on Amazon.