Book reviewing and the AMAZON scam
Recently I find that everybody on the net is into Book Reviews. Of course I exaggerate when I mean everyone, perhaps it is just the bloggers I am actively interacting with are professional book reviewers. I wonder if this is the Universe’s way of telling me to read more.
But honestly, there are all kinds of book reviewers out there – ones who are serious critics and actually give a technical appraisal while there are others like me who are just plain, ordinary, every day readers who give their opinion on whether they liked the book or not.
While I find Book Clubs boring, I love doing Book Reviews and have been doing them for years back in the day when the Free Press Journal was a well respected newspaper in Mumbai’s news-stands. Alas, news-stands are slowly vanishing as are people who read print media. People are so rushed for time that unless and until it is worth their while, they won’t bother to read a word more than necessary. It is no wonder then that book reviewers via Goodreads, Amazon, Flipkart and other platforms are doing great business.
My current problem
With most newspapers going on line and book reviews being done by professional book reviewers, amateurs like me have had to resort to the Internet to get their opinions on books published.
I found Blogadda a great platform to do book reviews on, particularly since it introduced me to a whole new genre of literature that I was unaware of – the Indian novel. So I was happy when they accepted my offer to be a regular reviewer. However, Blogadda has recently changed its book reviewing policy. In the olden days, I got the book, read it and reviewed it, submitted the review and that was that.
Recently, Blogadda insisted that I had to post the review on Goodreads and Amazon as well.
When I linked up my Blogadda review to Goodreads, I was told to submit another, fresh review, one that was unpublished so I had to re-do another review. I didn’t mind this too much as it was a challenge how to say the same thing in different words without it sounding like a cut and paste job.
AND AMAZON IN PARTICULAR
But when it came to AMAZON, the site refused to accept my submission until I was a registered customer. Now this is downright thuggery as far as I am concerned.
My own personal experiences with AMAZON have been pathetic. I was once gifted something via AMAZON and the delivery which should have happened in 3 days took over 4 weeks! It also took many phone calls and emails and eventually I got the parcel with the label washed off with squiggly, barely legible scribbled address on it.
The second experience wasn’t any better – my daughter ordered a gift for a friend and after the promised delivery date which never materialised, she was told ( after many many phone calls) that the product wasn’t available. Is this what you call professionalism?
To enable me to post my review on AMAZON, I had to buy something online through them and only then would they accept my book review.
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY TIME AND EFFORT?
Like most reviewers, this is a labour of love : I am not getting anything for writing a book review and while I enjoy reading and even writing about it, surely AMAZON would understand that I am doing them a favour. The more book reviews they get for a title, the more likely they are to move it off their shelves. And considering how reluctant people are to accumulate dust collectors these days, book buying has become a rarity. Most people prefer reading them on their Kindles or at best borrowing them from libraries.
So AMAZON, I’m amazed at your audacity in “allowing” a reviewer to post on your site only after registering as a regular customer!
Come on. It’s just a scam!
The corollary :
How genuine are book reviews then? Are book reviewers really giving genuine peeks into the book? Are they actually reading the books they review?