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.
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?