Disappearing Reviews for Fearless Fourteen on BN.com

A friendly person from an online book group emailed me with some ire, though not directed at us (always nice!). Seems she’s teed off because earlier last week, the fourteenth installment of the Stephanie Plum series, which hits stores 17 June, had a three-star ranking on BN.com, with a large portion of the 29 individuals who read an advance copy discussing how disappointed they are in the latest Plum installment.

But as of Friday, there are 11 ratings, all of them four to five stars, with more than a few from people who slapped that puppy with a fiver merely to indicate how excited they are that the book is coming out, omg, wow!!!11! According to the person who contacted me, there were 30 reviews up on Tuesday 20 May.  Wednesday 21 May there were 9.  2 more glowing reviews have been added since.  1 negative review was posted on Thursday 22 May and removed on Friday 23 May.  Scroll through the reviews posted and look at the dates.  They’re a jumbled mess, in no order whatsoever.  Never seen that before.

BN.com is one of the few places where you can review a book online prior to its release date. Amazon.com’s listing for the book indicates a five-star rating as well, but there are no reviews of the book listed on the book’s page on Amazon. (Where are those stars coming from anyway?)

However, there is a customer discussion that is less than impressed with the book, which echoes discussions on Shelfari and on Powell’s.

Can I just say I am so absurdly amused by the “How can you hate this book you are a moronnnnnn!” shreiking that comes along like a sidecar of idiocy in threads like those? It’s like the creature opposite of the squeeing fangirl: the shrieking fangirl. How dare you dislike her favorite author! Fangirl powers, activate – form SHREIKING HARPY BANSHEE!

Which is why my eyebrow is raised at the email from the bookclub miss. On Monday, there were 29 comments. Today: only 11, all of them five stars, or four.
Google Cache powers, activate!

If I Google “Fearless fourteen boring” there are several results, including one that quotes Evanovich’s “Meet the Author” page, and one that references the following phrase: “Like many fans, I was willing to overlook that boring, poorly written book…”

Take a look. (note: popup window! Oh noes!)

If I Google that specific phrase, which appears to be a review quote for Fearless Fourteen, an identical excerpt shows up in the Google info but is nowhere to be found on the BN.com page.

Additional Google-fu provided by Jane revealed a negative review from “Tired” in the Google cache, but the active link for that page does not show the review.

There are several review texts that appear in the cache but not in the current BN page.

The hardcover isn’t the only page with disappearing reviews, either. The CD version also has a then/now version discrepancy revealed courtesy of The Cache of Google. Here’s the cache version showing 12 reviews, and here’s the current version of the page , which shows 11. Note the top review on the cached page – it’s no longer on the site, though I don’t see any options to remove your own reviews once they’ve been posted.

Obviously, it’s in BN’s best interest to have higher ranking books for sales purposes, but who gets to say which books have the negative and low-starred reviews removed prior to a book’s release? Who has that kind of power? The publisher? The author? BN.com? Based on what criteria are bad reviews removed from people who appear to have actually read the book, while reviews from people who are merely slapping the fiver out of anticipation are left active? And why is it some authors have negatives removed while other authors with not quite the same sales powers have to fight and beg to have spoiler reviews removed? What, in short, is up with that?

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Maered says:

    I am so sick and tired of jacka*ses who mess with reviews.  Why?  What the hell do these little minions get out of it?  More butt-licking from the author? 

    OK- we don’t know who had these reviews deleted but these people need to get a life.  I’m so disappointed that I can’t trust customer reviews on amazon and now, bn.  It’s a disgrace.

  2. 2
    Liz in Australia says:

    I trust SBTB and Dear Author at the moment.
    Who else is worth reading for trustworthy and honest reviews?

  3. 3
    Diana Hunter says:

    I get both good and bad reviews, although don’t have the sort of fanbase that regularly writes reviews on sites like Amazon and B&N;. Maybe I’d feel differently if I did, but I’m afraid writers and readers need thicker skins when it comes to discussing the books they love (and the books they love to hate). NO book is going to appeal to everyone, no AUTHOR is going to appeal to everyone. That’s the way of the world (thank goodness), so suck it up and deal with it.

    Like I said, I might think otherwise if people dissed my novels on a regular basis, but I really hope I wouldn’t. And yes, I realize that by saying all this, I’m inviting snark reviews as well as fangirl/boy ones. Maybe I ought to go grow that tougher skin…:)

  4. 4
    CJ England says:

    Sounds to me like those nasty “gremlins” that were messing with Amazon, have now moved on to B&N;.  What happened?  Did they run out of bad reviews to eat?


  5. 5
    Throwmearope says:

    This has been going on a long, long time.  The last review I posted on Amazon was for Metro Girl 4 years ago.  Gave it a 3 and kinda suggested that a number 1 bestselling (OMIGOD) NYT author could have written a better book.

    Within 5 mins, kid you not, the rabid fans had been alerted and 17 glowing, oh you gotta love NASCAR and wrestling if you’re a fan of JE had been posted. 

    Needless to say, haven’t posted a review to Ammie since.  And now am boycotting them for the Reba deal.

    But I suspect that BN and Amazon go along with the crapola to sell more books.

  6. 6

    Wow.  Not that I trust other people’s opinions of books, anyway, but that’s just slimy.  Why don’t they remove some of the bad reviews from my books?

  7. 7
    Kristin says:

    Why even bother having reviews any more? I would rather not have them, if it’s coming to this…manipulated reviews. There’s no point to it. They tell you nothing. They are useless to the consumer, and eventually (as we are seeing in these comments) only creating disgusted and annoyed readers. I am sure neither BN or Amazon want to annoy customers. Do they?

    Netflix has a great review system. It’s so accurate, I’m often disturbed by how closely my own reaction matches the overall reaction of the Netflix audience. The other great thing about Netflix is that they will show you other movie viewers who have rated movies similar to your own ratings…and I can really rely on what these people think of a film before I rent it since we have similar tastes.

    I wish Amazon would let you do that….a true ratings system that would HELP. It wouldn’t have to be a written review, just stars. And you couldn’t remove anyone’s opinion in the star system. That would be so darn helpful!

    Maybe leave the written reviews section for actual book reviewers of some kind…Romantic Times reviews, for example. Or other trusted sources for decent reviews.

    Personally, I wouldn’t believe high ratings and reviews for a book that hasn’t even been released. It would be obvious these are friends or rabid fans just making crap up. Which, in the long run, doesn’t help sales, I don’t think.

  8. 8
    Flo says:

    What’s shitty is that it’s clear favoritism.  Why not just say “OK we’ll take away ALL bad reviews before release dates” or “We won’t remove ANY suck it up mofo!”

    What bothers me is these are reviews BEFORE the book is released.  Unless they are professional reviewers or people who specifically get an ARC for the purpose of reviewing… then shut up!  Don’t give away the damn book for the rest of us and let us make up our own minds.

    It’s not like JE is supposed to be deep prose.  She’s lovely fluffy pool side reading material.  That’s it.

  9. 9
    Alpha Lyra says:

    This is really depressing. I depend a great deal on amazon reviews in deciding what books to buy. But if I can’t trust those reviews, what use are they? It sounds like someone needs to set up an independent site for user reviews of books. One that’s not also involved in selling books and thus motivated to make the books sound better than they really are.

  10. 10
    Becky says:

    It’s not in Amazon or BN’s best interest to have low reviews.  As a subscription service, Netflix makes their money whether you watch a particular movie or not.  Amazon and BN only make money if you buy a book.  In the case of Jane Q. Author, not that many people know of her, so a bad review won’t discourage that many sales.  But for a big author, lots of people go looking and many more people are likely to be discouraged from buying the book.  They could lose a lot of sales.  So they torpedo those reviews. 

    They either need to block all pre-release reviews or find a way to limit reviews to those who’ve read an ARC.  Maybe a code on the inside cover of the ARC that has to be given before the review can be posted?

  11. 11
    Rachel R. says:

    I’m guessing (just a guess) that the publisher complained about the negative reviews; B&N;doesn’t remove reviews based solely on negativity (you should see some of the whining they get about that), but if it’s a big book and the pub date hasn’t hit yet, I can see them bowing to publisher pressure to remove the negative reviews.

    The reason, by the way, that they don’t generally remove reviews (past pub-date) based solely on negativity is that they feel it gives more credibility to the customer reviews in general (same reason negative reviews from PW, Library Journal, and Kirkus stay on the pages).

    Since this was mentioned above…if you’re an author and find a review that gives away spoilers for your book, or that you feel attacks you personally, contact your publisher and have them submit the request to have the review removed.  (It’s difficult to verify someone’s identity over the internet—and yes, there have been cases of people writing to B&N;impersonating authors—so B&N;prefers to receive communication from publishers, whom they know, rather than authors, whom they don’t know.)

    (I’m not hiding behind the word “they”, incidentally; I don’t deal with customer reviews at B&N;.  But I used to, some years back, so I’m familiar with their general policies.)

  12. 12
    Kristin says:

    Becky, then why have reviews at all? Why is Amazon subjecting itself to the ratings system, if their plan is to torpedo any and all reviews that are considered ‘poor’ or ‘bad’?  I would think they’d have better things to do with their time. Plus, they sell SO many books, would they really want to be that deceiving to their buying public with any and all ‘big’ authors with bad reviews?

    As for my Netflix comparison, I understand that it is a flawed…I guess what I wanted to say is that I’d rather have a system like theirs which would truly be helpful to the consumer. No, Netflix doesn’t have as much of a vested interest in how often a movie is rented…however, they do sell used DVDs, and lower rated ones probably do not sell as well…right?  So there is an interest there. Maybe not as great, but there is one.

    There is no way in hell all readers of a book will be 100% happy or give 4’s and 5’s. And consumers are not stupid. These sorts of manipulated reviews are not helping the author. It makes me very suspicious when I don’t see at least one or two negative reviews of a book…I won’t trust that a book is good when it has all high reviews. Because that is just not realistic.

    I wish there was a way to fix this, because honest reviews and a variety of them are so helpful.

  13. 13
    Anna says:

    B&N;, Amazon, etc. are under pressure from big publishers.

    On the one hand, Amazon is promoting the customer reviews as an information source for buyers, to provide various reader’s angles on the reading experience.

    Yet Amazon’s goal is to sell books (how they make a profit), so they share the same interest as publisher/author.

    What do you do when a top branded author (such as Evanovich) jumps the shark, and the editors and publisher missed on it, and now they’ve printed a gazillion copies for sale?

    The publisher has spent a good deal of time and money pre-marketing the book (and the Evanovich brand). Now the brand is at risk, due to disappointing pre-market feedback (from those who have read the ARC) on her latest book. 

    They know how quickly a cherished brand can turn to toast (Cassie Edwards, for example) in the internet age. Word spreads at the speed of light.

    The publishing industry, like the music industry, is in the midst of paradigm-shift change. Amazon is part of that change, but until they vertically integrate to take over upstream publishing (as they are starting to do by acquiring Booksurge) they have to dance to the old guard publisher’s tune. 

    My guess is that Amazon doesn’t like having to do this . . . it will come back to bite them.

  14. 14
    Anna says:

    I just finished reading through the reviews at Powell’s, and I’m getting a seriously creepy feeling.

    Did Evanovich (the real Evanovich) write this book?  Or was it a ghost written book with the publisher using the Evanovich brand to sell it?

    I’m asking this because a number of reviewers mention that it isn’t Janet’s “voice”, and that many parts are simply recycled from her earlier works.

    Very odd indeed.

  15. 15
    Stephanie says:

    I was thinking that they were taken off because they actually reviewed the book while the others were (sigh) just excitement, but since BN.com allows that then I just don’t see why. I know publisher’s pay to have books placed upfront at Barnes & Noble, I wonder if they could also pay them to delete bad early reviews? They may have assumed people just wouldn’t notice. No matter what, deleting reviews for any other purpose then them being spam/inappropriate is pretty fuc- messed up. They can do whatever they want with their business, but if it gets out that they removed less than stellar reviews, trust in the company will only drop and hurt them. Not the smartest move in the current economy…

  16. 16
    Mercedesclk350 says:

    I leaning toward that the last two books have been written by a ghostwriter.  If the “real” Evanovich wrote the last two books, then her muse has up and quit because that muse no longer has the love for the characters that was so obvious in the earlier books. 

    When reading a very favorite author’s newest book and you find yourself constantly saying, “What the????” as you read, something is wrong.

    Very, very, wrong.

  17. 17
    Rachel R. says:

    I wonder if they could also pay them to delete bad early reviews?

    No, they do not.  Publishers make requests, which B&N;might or might not agree to.  This time, it appears they agreed to comply with the request.

  18. 18
    C.J says:

    I hate to say this but it is not just Amazon and BN.com.
    I recently reviewed a book for Romantic Times Mag and gave the book three stars when I sent my review to the editor. When I read the printed review in the magazine somehow it was given 4. Now I’m jaded and take everything with a grain of salt

  19. 19
    Geena says:

    Actually, there are reviews on Amazon, and one person who posted something negative got *pounced*

    Loves to Read says:
    I sadly would have to agree wholeheartedly with Susan. This book was tired and reeked of Janet not caring about her characters anymore. If she was tired or overworked – take a year off. This book was so disappointing to me. Recycled plots, scenes copied right from her previous books – it’s all so sloppy and not what we’ve come to expect from this author. I have been a loyal fan for years – I own all the books and many audios – this book will not be on my shelf.

    I thought the way she treated Lula was disrespectful. This is a woman who was raped and tortured, and she’s now (all of a sudden) so desperate for marriage that she resorts to lying and deception? That’s not the Lula I know and love. Joe is not my favorite person, but the way she turned him into a man who brags about sleeping with so many women he can’t remember doing it with his cousin (ick!) is just slimy. I am one of Janet’s most loyal fans, and this book is just not up to her previous levels of excellence.

    and geez:

    K. Erdo says:
    If you read the content of this story, Loves To Read, you would have seen, in print, in black and white, that Joe was hardly bragging. THen again, I guess it’s all in how you interpret what you read. I think one of the main problems with the negative reviews showing up all over the internet is that there’s a distinct lack of the Ranger character advancing as a sure-fire love interest. He was told to “find another direction” by Stephanie, and when he invited her to his bed she declined, saying she missed Joe. And on and on.

    As for the recycling- it’s nothing new at all. It’s been done in the last several books. This book is packed full of freshness and humor.

    Yeah, who cares if JE is lifting whole scenes from previous books and adding them to the current one? She’s done it before, so neener neener *rolls eyes*

  20. 20
    MS Jones says:

    This is why I don’t buy books unless they’ve been recommended by teh Bitches or teh Ja(y)nes.

  21. 21
    Alpha Lyra says:

    I guess I don’t understand why amazon (or bn) has to cater to publishers by yanking undesirable reviews. What’s the publisher going to do: refuse to sell through them? Is there something else going on that I’m not aware of?

    While I totally understand that amazon wants books to be reviewed positively, so more people buy them, I think if they take the long view, they’ll realize it’s more important to have customer trust than to gain a few short-term sales. A major reason I buy from amazon is that I go there to check out the reviews, and as long as I’m there, might as well buy the book from them. I even feel slightly indebted to them for providing the reviews—enough that I’d feel guilty if I checked out the reviews on amazon and then went somewhere else to buy the book.

    If I decide their reviews can’t be trusted, then I’ll end up going somewhere else for reviews, and then there’s no reason for me to buy the book specifically from amazon.

  22. 22
    Virginia says:

    Actually, I rarely care what anyone says about a book, if I like it I read it – the only thing that it might deter me from is paying $25 for the hardcover. I usually get my books used.
    However, I do review books on Amazon and the History Book Club (I am an historian) and I see lots of negatives on both. What bothers me about the negatives is that so often the reviewers admit that they haven’t read the book.
    I’ve seen negatives on DVD’s not because someone has watched it but because it wasn’t closed captioned and the person didn’t want to buy it without, so they gave it a negative. I would like to see the negatives like that deleted – it is so unfair. However, a system that is just stars is useless, I want to know why a person liked or did not like something – but I do have a mind of my own and if I am interested I will read or watch it and make up my own mind.

  23. 23
    Annmarie says:

    I am a book reviewer.  I receive ARCs from publishers, publicists and authors.  No one has ever pressured me to write a ‘glowing’ review.  I HAVE seen the reviews that were posted on Amazon (on my behalf) rated ‘not helpful’ if I disagreed with the fan girls. 

    Part of me understands.  *I* am fan girl squirrely over certain authors.  Will I give them a glowing review if they write a stink bomb?  No.  But I can understand fan girl hysteria. 

    (I went mute went I got Nora Roberts to autograph a book for me at a book signing.  Big eyed mute girl was in a daze for… well days.)

    I think a savvy shopper can tell the bullshit reviews versus the honest reviews.  Due to personal tastes, an honest review still might not match your take on a book.  C’est la vie!

    I do think BN should have left up those reviews.  If they were written by advance readers, thats what they were supposed to do.  Read it, review it, post the review.

  24. 24

    Although I’m not into romance fiction, I’ve been following the controversy surrounding book reviews on Amazon ever since the Highland Press scandal became big news a few weeks ago. You may have seen my posts on the subject on Dear Author.

    On the issue of reviews being posted before the official release date, I received a very revealing response from Amazon UK after I protested about one particular CD having 11 pre-release reviews. Here’s what I wrote

    I am referring to this album

    Artist: Beth Rowley
    Title: Little dreamer
    Label: Universal
    ASIN: B0011V97G0
    Release date: 19 May 2008

    I have bought this CD since its official release and was surprised, when looking at the product page, to find 11 reviews already there, some written three months and more before the official release date. Your review writing guidelines state that you cannot post reviews of products not yet released, so none of these 11 reviews should have been allowed to post anyway. I am particularly upset as I am preparing a review that I will post in the next day or two (possibly it will be there by the time you read this, if you don’t read it today) and my review will have to fight for space on the product page against bogus reviews by people who never heard the CD, albeit they may have heard some of the songs. Nevertheless, just in case you feel there was some reason to waive your usual guidelines to allow these reviews to be posted, I will explain why I think you were wrong to do so.

    Since this is Beth Rowley’s first album (although she previously released an EP, Violets, which is not listed on Amazon), I was especially surprised that anybody would know enough to review the album so far in advance of the official release date. I’ve taken a close look and I found one review where the reviewer Mr. Ian Bocking claimed to have a pre-release copy of the album. As his review was dated 5 May 2008, that may be possible, so I won’t query that further. I have pasted all the other reviews into this e-mail below the line of dashes. It seems that these reviews have been based on seeing the artist perform live or hearing her on the radio. Apart from Mr. Ian Bocking, none of them had heard the album at the time they posted their review and some of them openly admitted as much.

    I hope you will take appropriate action by removing all or at least most of these reviews.

    Amazon UK responded thus

    Thank you very much for bringing these reviews to our attention. 

    Please rest assured that these comments have been removed from our database and will shortly disappear from the website.

    With regards the ability to post reviews on certain item before their release dates this ability was set up where it was possible that people would of had first hand experience of the particular product. In this case it may have been possible for someone to have gone to a concert where they may have heard the whole album. This would give an accurate review.

    But considering all these reviews are about parts of the album and not the album as a whole, I fell that the reviews may no completelyreview the album as a whole. It may be possible that a couple of these reviews may appear again if it turns out that these reviewers have heard enough songs off the album to form a complete opinion of it.

    We do exert some editorial control over our customer reviews and
    strive to block these kinds of reviews. Amazon.co.uk does not tolerate profane or spurious customer reviews. Our intention is to
    make the customer review forum a place for constructive commentary and feedback, so reviews that fall outside these guidelines are removed from the website.

    We apologise for this situation and thank you for taking the time to let us know. Feedback from conscientious customers such as yourself helps us maintain the quality and integrity of our website.

    Thank you for your interest in Amazon.co.uk.

    Except for the third and fourth paragraphs, this is a standard canned response that Amazon could have sent to anybody with any complaint about reviews. But those two paragraphs show that they think it’s OK to review a CD based on seeing the same singer in concert. I assume they therefore think it’s OK to review a DVD based on seeing a movie on TV or in the cinema.

  25. 25

    In my previous post, I cut off the part of the letter containing those bogus reviews. Here they are

    Brilliant!, 16 May 2008
    By Gazza (Glasgow)
      Brilliant, superb album (actually I haven’t heard it yet but as Amazon seems to think it’s ok to allow people to post reviews of things they’ve not heard, then doubtless this review will make as little sense as all the others raving about a CD they’ve not listened to).

    Daft reviewing an album that you can’t buy yet, 24 April 2008
    By Dr. W. E. Allen “wallen200” (Belfast, UK)
      Daft reviewing an album that you can’t buy yet, and yet I will say that I have 4 of the 11 tracks (bought of iTunes) which have already been released as an EP (Violets). I was blown away. iTunes give one song as their free song of the week, and I was so impressed I paid to down load the others. If the remaining 7 tracks are even half as good then this will be a great album. Only other new singer to approach Beth in quality is Brandi Carlile.

    Saw her live!, 27 Mar 2008
    By dc (Cambridge, UK)
      Saw Beth Rowley live supporting David Gray. She has a voice most singers would die for. Great power and real depth. If her album is half as good it’ll be a treat.

    Simply Stunning!, 26 Mar 2008
    By G. D. Lyons “Funkybaby” (UK)
        After hearing Beth on Radio 2, i managed to get tickets to one of her live gig’s in London. I had a small expectation of what i would hear after hearing the songs on the radio but I was totally blown away seeing her live! She appears to be quite timid and shy when speaking and introducing her songs but as soon as she starts singing she oozes class and sophistication. Her voice gave me goosebumps. I cannot wait to hear the album again. Definately a girl to watch out for in 2008. A voice like Beth’s will last a lifetime.

    Fab newcomer, 17 Mar 2008
    By Bob Lorry “Bob” (Hampshire, England)
      Just seen Beth at gig as support to David Gray. She is a huge talent. A massive bluesy, soulful voice out of a waif like frame. She just has to be the best newcomer around and will go on to be a star of the highest order.

    Great. man., 27 Feb 2008
    By Mr. Rm Bramley
      Great bunch of people, talented musicians, and Rowley has a fantastic voice. Incredible, in fact. Haven’t heard the album yet as pre-ordered but listening live is a truly fantastic experience. The album must be good!

    Incredibly strong voice, and beautiful!, 26 Feb 2008
    By David Stewart “boulder100” (Oxford)
      Saw Beth live in Oxford supporting David Gray on Sunday. She only had a 40 minute slot, but with a voice of that power and such control over it, it was all she needed. She sang 5 tracks including her single “Oh My Life” which is her “poppiest” of the lot. The rest are heavily soul, country and blues influenced, and absolutely incredible. She is also absolutely gorgeous with a massive presence from a small frame. I will buy this as soon as it’s released.

    Eva Cassidy reincarnated, 18 Feb 2008
    By Arthur Seaton (East Linton)
      I heard Beth Rowley on Johnny Walker’s Sunday show and listening to the opening bars of “Nobody’s fault but mine”, simply brought Eva Cassidy to mind. As a cover to the normal voice of Robert Plant, Rowley has totally transformed the song, but has introduced her own bluesy translation. Tremendous control but loads of power waiting to be unleashed. I cannot wait for the album to be released.

    At last, a new and very real talent, 17 Feb 2008
    By D.R “mooncottage” (Oxon, UK)
      I’ve just heard Beth interviewed on Radio 2, together with several of the songs on this her first album. I have long been concerned that there is little true talent in the commercial music industry (plenty underground but few that the industry will get behind) but Beth is a very real breath of fresh air and what a voice!
      Her roots are blues, from the 20s to 60s incorporating Motown. She has all the power and sensitivity from the past which can only really be found today in the likes of Eva Cassidy and she’s sadly missed now.

    Awesome, 12 Feb 2008
    By P. Jefferd “Pie Man” (UK)
      What else can I say, but WOW!!! What a voice! Beth has a voice that commands respect! I predict she will go far!

    I think those reviews prove that you can’t review a CD you’ve never heard, just based on a performance in concert.

  26. 26
    Nora Roberts says:

    I’d say I’m a fairly powerful author with a pretty powerful publisher. I don’t check out the reviews on Amazon (or B&N;) often, but did just now to see what was what re this topic.

    I have several negative or luke-warm reviews mixed with 4 and 5 star ones on my latest book. I’m reasonably certain I could take a quick look at any number of my books on these sites and find the same.

    So, it seems to me, if removing negatives was publisher-driven, I wouldn’t have those 2 and 3 star reviews. If it was site-driven (want to sell those best-sellers) I wouldn’t have them. They’d all go bye-bye.

    As to how I deal with negative reviews, I keep my big-girl panties on. And mostly, I don’t go cruising over to Amazon or B&N;to read reviews anyhow.

  27. 27
    Annmarie says:

    So many people, so few pair of Big Girl Panties.  The world would be a better place if we all had a pair.

  28. 28
    NancyG says:

    When I look at reviews online, it’s usually pretty clear when fangirls are swarming, and it’s normally a turn-off for me. I am inclined to move on to another author.

    In other news: I wish Nora Roberts would do something crass and/or despicable, so I wouldn’t feel so guilty about not reading romance novels.

    Dang her. Dang her to heck for being such a class act, big-girl panties and all.

  29. 29
    Virginia says:

    When I do look at reviews, it’s rarely before I buy the book – but it’s after I’ve read it to see if other people got out of the book the same thing I did. When I write a review, it is never really critical because fiction is so highly subjective. However, I am critical when I review non-fiction.

    And Nora, I prostrate myself at your feet, you are the Queen of Romantic Suspense. I wouldn’t want you to think I was prostrating myself to see if your big-girl panties were on. If any author took these reviews seriously, they would never be able to write. Repeat book sales are the best yardstick. Hail to the Queen!

  30. 30
    Cat Marsters says:

    I usually get my books used.

    *gets on soapbox*

    Noes, Virginia!  What has the author done to you that you’re depriving her of income?  Authors get nothing—zip, zilch, nada—for used books, and since most authors barely make enough to live on (I barely make enough for my cat to live on), every second hand book sold is taking away living income.  If you really don’t like paying full price, wait for the paperback or get a library book—libraries pay a small sum to the author on books borrowed (at least they do in the UK; I assume other countries have similar arrangements).

    *gets off soapbox*

    I’ve personally thought the Plum books have been running out of steam a little lately, but not badly enough that I won’t be buying book fourteen.

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