One-Word Reviews at Amazon Now?

Reviews 1 Word

I saw a one-word review at Amazon today. So I’m guessing the 20-word minimum has been removed.

You might recall a couple of months ago that Amazon was testing out both ratings and reviews on print books. Those ratings disappeared after a few weeks, so perhaps the compromise was to remove the minimum word count.

The review forms have changed (but there is a tiny ‘here’ link below them that you can click if you prefer the old way).

My guess is that Amazon is trying to encourage more genuine customers to leave reviews. So now there is no ‘imposing’ 20-word minimum.

(In reality, what had been preventing a customer from writing the same word 20 times consecutively?)

We’re short on time now, so give me a one-word summary of the last book you read. πŸ˜‰

37 comments on “One-Word Reviews at Amazon Now?

  1. Papercutty!

    Seriously though, I can see this creating a major influx of low ratings because people are more inclined to talk on the Internet when enraged. Also, one word 5-stars are probably more at risk for getting reported as fraudulent unless they’re doing away with that. The repeated word trick or a list of synonyms was done rather often, but you would see them disappear after a few days or weeks depending on their star rating.

    Why do I suddenly feel like life as an indie author just got a little more dangerous?

  2. The upside is, it can only get better now it has hit rock bottom, Chris! Idk. What the hell are they thinking?

  3. Interesting post (: I’d noticed the new form, but not the removal of the minimum word limit. Thanks for pointing it out!
    I think one word reviews are unbelievably unhelpful. Reviews stating “good” or “bad” are no use unless they say WHY you thought they were good or bad. Can’t see this working out!
    Oh, and the last book I read described in one word: Believable. (:

  4. I’ve never understood why more people don’t write reviews. It really doesn’t take much time. My personal philosophy is that I will only leave a review if it is three stars or more though. Word count will not change that for me.

    • It’s disappointing for me to run into so many who say they feel the way you do, Pamela, about leaving only 3-star or better reviews. I’m not into reading the fulsome treacle and unnecessary plot summaries that make up most 4- and 5-star reviews, so I usually read only 3-stars and below, looking for constructive criticism; weeding out the rants of teenagers who were assigned to read the book and hated it, and the goat-baiting done by trolls. (But my buying decision is made from the quality of writing in the preview.)

      • Many authors, including myself (so I can relate to Pamela on this), find it difficult to write a critical review. I just can’t make myself do that to another author. I realize that when I read a book worthy of fewer than 5 stars, if I were to write a review of that book, that review probably would be useful, probably even more so than when I write a five-star review. Yet, I still can’t make myself do it. At the same time, I see a lot of critical reviews out there, and just about every book that has many reviews has critical ones (if it doesn’t, that’s probably hurting sales). So it doesn’t seem like there is any shortage of critical reviews. Since there are so many critical reviews out there, you needn’t be too disappointed that not every reviewer leaves them. πŸ™‚

        A great thing is the diversity of customer review beliefs. Everyone has a different view, and that’s great. The variety is great. (It’s great and awful all at he same time, like we’re going to begin a novel for Charles Dickens.) We all interpret reviews differently, analyze them differently, write them differently, etc. For those of us who mostly write positive reviews, there are many others I’ve found who only write negative reviews, which helps to provide some balance. I’ll be the first to say that my reviews aren’t particularly helpful, since they are mostly positive (but I don’t write positive reviews unless I believe the books deserve them; if I feel negatively about a book, I’ll leave it to someone else to write up the criticism).

        I see that many shoppers are like you in that they mostly look at the critical reviews.

      • My reviews never regurgitate a book blurb/summary. If a review is lower than a three star, I try to contact the author privately. I concentrate on why I liked or didn’t like a book, no matter what the star rating may be. Reading is subjective.

  5. Terrible move. All this will lead to is a ton of unhelpful reviews and, potentially, some skewed ratings.
    Oh, and my one word review: helpful. t’was a book about writing πŸ™‚

  6. I often hear people say ‘but look, they give 4/5* to everyone, therefore their reviews are worth nothing’, not realising that many don’t review unless they can review at least moderately positively. Increasingly, a lack of reviews often means that a book is a bit crap, despite the several glowing ones from friends within a week of publication, because it indicates that readers abandoned it before finishing, or similar. Cynical, moi?
    As far as the one word thing goes, it works for me. I have a 2 word one on Goodreads – just ‘Loved it!’ was all I needed to know!

  7. Really?!! So writing a string of 20 words is considered to much of a chore and imposition of our readers? Seriously, I think someone is patronising our readers, and it isn’t us!!! Does a one word review generate much value to potential buyers, or provide much feedback to the author? I can see comments of “Crap!” or “Fab!” taking the place of reviews… it’s totally pointless imo… no-one benefits, and it just paves the way for even more abuse of the system.

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