Last week, financial journalist Michael Lewis earned the kind of critical praise most authors only dream of. His new book The Big Short was deemed the quintessential book on the Wall Street collapse and crowned the "single best piece of financial journalism ever written." Those, however, were the words of critics and business writers. When the book appeared on Amazon.com its ratings plummeted. Most user reviewers have given the book a trifling 1 star rating. Why the disconnect? It's all about the Kindle.
Lewis's publisher W. W. Norton & Company chose not to sell the book on the Kindle in order to boost hardcover sales. As a result, a slew of steamed up Kindle owners are lowballing the book's rating:
Should Lewis be penalized for the putative sins of his publisher? No, says blogger Barry Ritholtz:
As an author, you have precisely ZERO control over these dates.
Considering the 1 star ratings/complaints about the Kindle edition were posted BEFORE THE BOOK was even released, they are utterly absurd. Amazon needs to step up and delete these non-reviews of books. At the very least, they should not count in the book’s star ratings. (And as commentors have suggested, they should require a purchase prior to any reviews).
That’s the equivalent of giving a movie a bad review because the popcorn concession in the lobby was out of butter.
These pro-kindle, anti-author reviews are completely unfair to the writer. A review is supposed to be about the book, not the publishers format release schedule.
If Amazon wants to be a fair vendor of books, they need to delete these idiotic, pro-kindle, fan boy reviews.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.