Thursday, March 01, 2007

Odds & Ends

Last week I put up a post about Harriet Klausner, the infamous woman who puts up a bazillion "reviews" on Amazon. It turns out a lot of people are interested in Harriet. At least 3 blogs linked to my post and I received over 150 hits in one day on that post. I'm kind of surprised more people didn't actually comment on the blog, though a few did email me. The reason I mention this is because the conversation spun off into another direction that kind of surprised me. Most people who commented on the other blogs and emailed me had the same sort of indignation I did over Klausner's reviews. But it turns out there may be a bigger outrage out there. Some people have told me that Barnes & Noble appears to be deleting negative reviews from their website. I don't know if this is true or not, but people are claiming that when they go back to read other reviews on books they've read, they noticed their own posts have disappeared and the overall ratings on the books seem to go up. I've also been told that complaints to B & N are pretty much ignored. As much as Klausner annoys me, I've never heard of Amazon deleting any reviews unless complaints are filed over objectionable content. If B & N are deleting critical comments to sell books, well that's repugnant. In a totally unrelated aside, my friend Mike over at What's Happening Vegas? put up a fun post dedicated to this blog. Mike's recovering from a week long stay in the hospital due to heart failure and was kind enough to think of us sci-fi geeks in his convalescence. Be sure to stop in and tell him you hope he gets better soon.


S.M.D. said...

That's just as bad as what that lady is doing. I've never written reviews at B&N, but I have for amazon. Amazon is the better market in my opinion simply because they don't delete posts unless they are just terrible and I can get books for cheap lol. Any store that doesn't allow critical feedback of the works they sell should be considered nothing short of horrible. Bad B&N, bad!

SQT said...

I usually buy through Amazon anyway, but if B&N is really doing this, they'll never get my business.

I'm kind of amazed at how much attention this discussion has gotten (not so much on this blog). This has people just irritated all over the blogosphere.

I haven't gotten many offers for free books for reviews but I'm beginning to think it's better that way. I should probably just review the books I buy and keep giving honest assessments rather than trying to pimp my blog for free books. I can't stomach the idea of saying I like a book just to keep myself of the a publishers "good reviewer" list.

I actually felt kind of awkward when I reviewed the two BSG books I got for free and had a couple of critical things to say. I thought I was pretty darned nice but I still haven't heard back from the publisher's representative and I'm not sure I will.

jedimerc said...

No kidding... I used to think Barnes and Noble had more class, but most of these bookstores are fusing into the same McChain it is starting to get confusing.

I can understand the furor over such things. It undermines credibility of authors and reviewers and the stores themselves. How can every book that comes out be 9 out of 10 stars or 5 star reviews? Most of us have wide literary tastes and disagree over many books, so how can the Internet think every book is good?

I guess B&N thinks, like the rest of corporate America, we are stupid... or we just don't care enough. Either way, credibility and integrity loses out big time.

deslily said...

I buy from both places, but mostly by my favorite authors. When I drift from them I depend more on asking others who read something how they liked it.. or only read the synopsis/ plot to see if it fits the bill.

as for b&n I guess that's "big business".. it probably costs them to ship out books that don't sell and the costs to ship in new ones.. I guess we can say at least the "good reviews" they keep are honest??? but how knows!

Hey there, Skippy said...

I'll write the proper work post soon!

SQT said...

No worries Skippy. I don't know if you can tell, but I've been playing with my blog all day. I've gotten my link lists to scroll. I feel like such a techno-geek.

Alex said...

I write the odd review for eBay, and since I've been writing oddly for some time now, I'm up pretty high on the top reviewers list. What's funny is that some people really care about the list, enough to take the time to sabotage other people. I had one person give a negative score to every single one of my reviews once (and I have a few hundred of them!), on the very same night I moved up a cetegory (i.e. from "Top 1000 Reviewer" to "Top 500 Reviewer"). I have a weird feeling I know who number 500 was the night before.

Honestly, I make fun because I can't imagine someone caring so much about their review score at some internet site to waste however many hours it would take to sabotage someone else's ranking! I mean, it's not as if you get paid for this work. For me, it's just a nice, no pressure way for me to get the writing wheels rolling before I sit down to write in the evening.

Kinda like my blog. Few people have ever taken me seriously there (go figure!), but I suppose that's because I'm not threatening their ranking.

I honestly think some people go through life with an undiagnosed disease called Video Game Syndrome (VGS); no matter what they're doing, they always need to hit the next level or score the next magic item. And what makes this bad is that they don't care how much time they waste or who they screw over to get their little 'achievement.' As long as they get their little eBay button next to their name, they're happy, even though their spouses have left them, their children have become meth addicts, their plants have died, their goldfish have committed suicide-by-cat because they would rather do that than starve to death, and everything in their pathetic little world that does not give them an incremental-accomplishment food pellet goes by the wayside.

No wonder half the male population of China is dying due to marathon sessions of World of Warcraft!

Old Knudsen said...

I used to do e-mail groups before blogging but its the same only a small amount of people actually talk, of course I never shut up.

SQT said...


I never would have thought anyone cared that much. I've only done maybe 4 or 5 reviews on Amazon. I usually only bother if a book strikes me as particularly good or really bad. But I've never voted on a review unless it stood out for some reason.

I used to buy books based on whether or not it got a lot of good reviews. But after reading several marginal books, I've learned not to bother. Klauser appears to be one cog in a larger machine that we should all be a bit cynical about.

SQT said...

Old Knudsen

I didn't realize until I had a blog how many lurkers there are out there. But I used to do it too, I lurked on a few sites before finally commenting. I can't remember what someone said that made me feel like I had to reply.

Alex said...

Yeah. I only chime in when people are talking about naked females, philosophers, or fantasy.

Or when I'm fantasizing about naked female philosophers, but that's a different thing entirely.

ShadowFalcon said...

I grew up thinking Linda Carter was the toughest women alive - then we had Xena!