After reading this article recently about Amazon book reviews being paid for by giving free books to bloggers, I started to do a little deeper research. What I was looking for was information regarding the background of reviewers. In other words, how many people wrote their review after buying and reading the book they bought from Amazon? Or any other online book retailer for that matter.
Then I thought about the people I know who buy books from Amazon. Did they return to Amazon after having read the books they purchased and complete a review? I couldn’t find an affirmative answer.
Now I can’t say that I found all the answers that I was looking for, but I stumbled across enough to start thinking. Large publishers use reviews to drive sales. No surprises here. But what if a portion of these reviews are paid for by whatever means? At least in an attempt to make a book look a little more popular.
As a self-publisher, I don’t have anywhere near the resources to compete with the marketing strategies and campaigns of large publishers. But, with the increasing number of self-publishers now, there may be a possibility of gaining strength in numbers.
If I was to suggest to another self-publishing author that I would write a review for them in exchange for writing a review from me, would that be ethical? Or is it the same deal as I referred to at the beginning of this blog post?
I would be very interested to hear the views of other self-published authors on this topic.