by Linda Thorne
Has anyone else noticed on Amazon that reader reviews only show if the book was purchased from Amazon? Once upon a time they all showed. There's a way to see them, but will the average online shopper even bother? They may, but only if they can figure it out.
Assuming the shopper is aware he is not seeing all the reviews, how does he find them? The offer to see all is hidden behind links that say "verified purchase reviews" above and below the list of reviews (even though some are not verified purchase reviews). Click on customer reviews and those for Amazon purchased books will appear under a big, bold heading that says: Top Customer Reviews. An obscure little link above that heading will say, "See all verified purchase reviews," which you're already looking at. If you click on this top link, you'll be offered an opportunity to see all the reviews. At the bottom there's another tiny link that says, "See all verified purchases (newest first)." If you click there, you'll see other filters, but none offering all reviews. You'll have to click on a second "verified purchase" filter to get an offer for both verified purchase (a 3rd time) and finally, all reviews.
Amazon is responsible for its success and the company can set up its website any way it wants. The problem is most authors sell their books in other places too, but look to Amazon as their power base. Bookstores deserve a chance to stay in business. Authors want to sell books at events, booths, and book signings. There are book giveaways of all kinds. Then there are the professional reviewers they seek. Authors are known to spend hours and days in search of a known, approachable reviewer who will hopefully read their ARC and give them an Amazon review, especially if they have a new book coming out. The bottom line is if a reader wants to write a book review, that reader will be apt to go to Amazon to do it. If he didn't purchase the book there, most shoppers will never see his review.
The reason for this change likely resulted from abuse of the book review system. If Amazon gets that under control, I hope they'll consider being more generous with review space for those who bought, won, or were gifted the book somewhere else.