Monday, January 03, 2011

Book buyer beware

I personally depend mostly on word of mouth recommendations for books, not website rankings or reviews, but I suppose that many readers do at least see these, and they may have some influence, so the following story is disturbing (but perhaps not surprising).

Authors, publishers and agents live and die inside — mostly die — by monitoring their product's position on the Amazon charts, which are adjusted hourly. Thomas, an author who penned the Kindle book Wealth Hazards, says literary types should take a step back because the system is easily corrupted. He says he's manipulated the system by buying his book 200 times and posting fake reviews hailing his self-described masterpiece.

Now he's peddling a new e-book, The Day the Kindle Died, in which he describes how he pulled off his ruse. ...Not once was a review or vote rejected by Amazon. It took about 45 days to move the book up to #1 ...

I expect that Chapters/Indigo is no better. No one cares enough to monitor these inputs, they are based on the honour system; like online polls and surveys they are, in the end, meaningless. So remember that next time you visit one of these bookseller websites to look up a book.
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)