Beware Amazon Book Rankings!

Beware Amazon Book Rankings!

Beware Amazon Book Rankings!

If you are a reader, or a writer, you probably use Amazon book rankings at some time or another. Even if you are a bookshop owner’s dream and buy your latest reads locally, the chances are that you do your research online and, therefore, on Amazon.

And why wouldn’t you?

‘What could be wrong with that?’ you might ask.

The answer is: nothing, as long as you are aware of some of Amazon’s weirdest policies.

I will come clean here, and say that I am a writer, and I know many writers, just as you know many people in your profession, trade occupation or hobby. I have about 175 books on Amazon and other online book retailers, and I have been doing it for about six years.

A few years ago, I forget how many, but let’s say three or four, the powers that be in Amazon decided to attempt to wipe out the widespread practice of ‘sock-puppet’ book reviews. Some unscrupulous authors, literary agents and publishers were buying a book on a false account and then leaving a gushing review about it.

They might do this a hundred times or more – at least enough times to boost the said book into the Amazon book rankings top-ten charts, which would ensure that it sold significantly more.

Beating Amazon Book Rankings

Buying hundreds of books was beyond many independent authors, so they might just open dozens of Amazon accounts in false names, or get their friends and family to write reviews for them. I’m sure that you can see what I am getting at.

You see, many, many readers choose their next read from the top-ten lists.

So, in attempt to combat this, Amazon decided to spy on authors’ social media accounts and delete any GOOD reviews from people that the author knew.

This is a bizarre method of dealing with the problem, because those who use fake accounts won’t appear in anyone’s friends list. On the other hand, many authors, myself included, end up becoming friends with some of their readers.

I could name six or seven right now off the top of my head – people I correspond with, but have never met. So, I (and they) have two options: either to pretend we don’t ‘know’ one another like secret agents in a comedy show, or let Amazon do its worst.

I choose the latter, and consequently have lost well over a hundred reviews on just my flagship novel, Behind The Smile.

It is a silly policy, but it also means that the top-ten lists that many people choose their books from are inaccurate.

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All the best,

Owen

Podcast: Beware Amazon Book Rankings!