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July 18, 2012



I'm on Goodreads purely as a way to track my reading, so I am one of those "bad" people you mention who ranks the books but does not post a review. However, I review all the books I read on my blog (unless they were truly dreadful/DNF) and I have a sentence to that effect in my Goodreads profile.

I agree with you that many reviews and discussion at Goodreads is terrible, riddled with illiterately expressed sentiments. There are some relatively good reviews/comments, but not enough to make me sift through all the dross.

By Amazon I assume you refer to US Amazon? I use UK Amazon and review for them, or post short versions of my blog reviews there for some books. I'd say on UK Amazon there is a sort of 50/50 ratio of well written reviews with intelligence, to reviews that are not worth reading. I don't think that's bad for user-generated content. I sometimes find the reviews useful in deciding whether to read a book. I also like the fact that awful reviews (eg swear words throughout) can be reported to Amazon and I have seen them remove some, eg the ones that gave away the ending of the latest Jo Nesbo book.


To be honest I don't use either Amazon or Good Reads any longer but when I did need a general source of reviews/thoughts I preferred Good Reads for a couple of reasons

1) that you never got the kind of negative review that is all about hating Amazon or some problem with the delivery of the order as can happen on Amazon (sometimes to an extreme).

2) the reviews seem to be from a broader cross section of humanity than just the US (or UK if you're using Amazon.co.uk) - as a non-American it is nice to occasionally be able to find a comment or review that is written by another non-American

3) sort of related to the second point but of course on Amazon you can only find reviews of books sold by Amazon - quite a lot of Australian books are not sold there - or not for a year after they are released here (there's that pesky geographic restrictions nonsense again) - being a vendor-independent place at least on GR I can find reviews of books I see in my own local book store's shelves

Other than that I find them both about the same in terms of usefulness, accuracy of content (there are some whopper errors in Amazon reviews too), childishness, dodgy practices by authors and their fans in gaming the system and all the rest. Which is why I've chosen other means of finding book recommendations. Though I realise that doesn't help you as a publisher as there are still plenty of people using both sites for that purpose.

Laura K Curtis

I have to say, I am surprised anyone thinks GR is better than Amazon for quality of reviews. The number of books that the authors themselves say they haven't even finished revising yet that are already reviewed on GR is simply astounding. ("Oh, it's a Chelsea Cain, I know I will love that, so I will give it 5 stars!")

Not that it doesn't happen that way on Amazon, I just don't see it nearly as much. I am not a huge fan of Amazon reviews, either, I just don't think GR is any better.

And the spam I get from GR...goodness. You'd think everyone in the WORLD wants to be my friend, when in fact all they want to do is sell me their book.

I use LibraryThing to catalog my books, and I will occasionally look there for reviews, though even those aren't always substantive. (Too many "another wonderful book by James Patterson!" reviews, but at least they're easy enough to skim.)

Honestly, I am not sure people actually buy from reviews anyway. At least not from AZ or GR reviews. They're more apt to make me NOT buy because of something I learn about the book (oh, look, it focuses on child murders...think I will skip this one) than anything else. In that respect, the incorrect reviews would make me crazy.

Just my two bits.

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