I’m working as an intern this term for a local publishing company, and part of my responsibilities for the company involve reading some of their works and reviewing them on Amazon as a way to increase public awareness of the books.
I recently finished a book, and went to Amazon to leave a review. I gave it a good rating and submitted my comments, and as I began to scroll through the other reviews, I noticed a weird sort of trend with the ratings.
All of the 1 and 2-star reviews were written by people who had purchased the Kindle version of the book, and all but one of the 72 5-star reviews were written by people that had purchased a hardcover or paperback version of the book.
This could mean one of four things:
The first that occurred to me was that people that use Kindles are just dicks, or have bad taste in books. All of the readers that gave negative reviews cited problems like unrealistic narrative, slowness of plot (though all the ones that cited slow-moving action said they gave up twenty pages in), and didn’t seem to have attempted to even finish more than the first few chapters. Many of them even went so far as to say that the writer was unskilled and that she must have little or no English education (the writer was an English teacher for many years).
The second option is that people who buy electronic books of this genre are too impatient to actually read a book that isn’t entirely action. As I said before, many of the negative reviewers said that the story moved too slowly, immediately following that statement with comments on how they hadn’t even gotten past the first twenty or so pages. This is what I would call “not giving it a chance.” Not reading past the first 20 pages of a 250 page book is like watching the first ten minutes of a two hour movie and deciding that the last 90% of the movie will have no substance.
The third thing, and this would require a bit more research (though that could also be applied to both other points), is the possibility that people who buy electronic books are just less likely to take the time to leave a review, positive or negative.
And that leaves the possibility that people who have physical copies and leave reviews are more likely to be people that actually know the author, and just want to be friendly.
I’m not sure if I can say this holds true for many other books, but it seems to be the trend with small publishing.