On Negative Book Reviews

Occasionally, I write negative book reviews.  I am not always right, but sometimes I locate books that are not up to par, or are downright mistaken.  I try to back up my findings with facts, but there is still a problem.  If I publish the negative review at Amazon, it is in the interests of the author and publisher to recruit people to vote my review down.  My Amazon reviewer rank isn’t bad, but it would be a lot higher if I hadn’t written negative reviews that I believe are correct.

So what to do?  There are some books that should not have seen the light of day, and others that are just subpar — don’t waste your money.

As I see it, there is an asymmetry in voting on reviews at Amazon, and it comes down to concentration of interests.  Though I have a bigger voice than many reviewers because of my readership here, if I write a negative review, it is easier for the author/publisher to gather a group to vote me down, than it would be for me to get it voted up, should I try that.

I will continue to post negative reviews at Amazon, and I will try not to care about my reviewer rank.  But Amazon needs to tweak its system — when a voter votes too much for a given reviewer, he is deemed a “fan,” and his votes stop counting.  The same does not apply to negative votes, but I could be wrong there.

Advice is welcome, but it really seems that constructive critics are at a disadvantage with book reviews.