- Greg: And here we go again. Already an idiot leaving a one-star review on Follett’s new book to complain about its price: link
- Julz: Major pet peeve! I wrote a piece on that issue but that was before I had a blog.
- Julz: Ah, here it is. Can’t believe that was 2 years ago! (Link)
- Greg: I actually just remembered I did one, too! (Link)
Here’s what I originally wrote in November, 2010, which just illustrates what’s already happening with Kindle vs. Hardcover pricing on Amazon for Follett’s newest installation to his trilogy:
So I’m about a quarter of the way through the highly anticipated Ken Follett novel, Fall of Giants, and I have discovered a world of discontent in Amazon-land. Scenario: Amazon discounted the price of the $36 hardcover to $18. The publisher lists the Kindle version at $19.99 based on recent negotiations between Penguin and Amazon. People are irate at the outrageous e-book price and are taking it out on the author by posting negative one-star reviews in an effort to encourage the publisher to lower the Kindle price. They call this a boycott, I call it unfair.
With the growing popularity of Amazon’s e-reader and recent disputes with publishers regarding pricing, there have been many changes in the digital world. One example is that when viewing the product page for Fall of Giants on Amazon, the product references both the hardcover and the digital version. Therefore, when someone gripes about the Kindle price, their complaint is also reflected on the hardcover version and vice-a-versa. These negative reviews are instigating hard feelings from serious reviewers who believe a book should be judged on the merit of its content, not something the author has no control over. There are claims that the publisher is raising prices of digital content to boost physical book sales. There are malicious comments being posted against reviewers making a statement about the price. It’s only going to get uglier.
I agree that the product review page should be for content, not for blatant sabotage of what to me, so far, is a great book. I am not a Kindle owner, nor do I plan to be an e-book reader, but I have always tried to stay informed of advances in digitalization of literature. This is the first time I have been truly disappointed at the way things are headed. If praiseworthy books are getting slandered because of publishers pricing, something needs to change. Whether Amazon makes a distinction in product pages of book versus e-book or publishers learn from comments and reviews, these attempted boycotts will cause nothing but hard feelings. v
It’s exhausting, it’s happening more and more often. Greg makes some valid points, too. Here’s a few snippets:
…As the NY Times piece points out, you’re not paying for the printing and paper when you a buy a book (and avoiding that cost when you buy an e-book), you’re paying for a creative work, as well as the editing, marketing and other overhead required to put it out into the marketplace…
…So, if you’ll follow me on a bit of a stretch scenario, not only is this practice stupid, it is also totally counterproductive. If book sales decrease, publishers will have to raise all prices, e-book included, further to stay in business and then NO ONE WINS!…
…So, as someone who strongly believes in the integrity of book reviews, I’d urge you to pay these vocal idiots no mind. Continue to click the “No” under the “Was this review helpful?” and I’ll continue to petition Amazon and B&N to have reviews that have nothing to do with the content removed from their site…
What do you think of these unfair reviewing practices?