Book authors know that Amazon reviews are a key part of their works' success. And the system, which allows anonymous reviews, has long frustrated many. As Amazon becomes an ever more important center of e-commerce, the Daily Mail reports that third-party agencies have sprung up to create fake reviews on demand.

The story involves subterfuge, jealousy and dirty tricks in the world of literature. And its unlikely setting is the readers' reviews section on Amazon.

Alongside details of a book for sale, the website offers supposedly independent verdicts from customers, including a rating of from one to five stars. However, rival publishers are accused of hijacking the system to praise their own volumes and disparage the opposition.

Authors are turning on each other, agencies are charging up to £5,000 to place favourable fake reviews and Amazon has recruited a team of amateur critics to restore the balance.

Read the full story at Daily Mail (UK).