April 18th, 2006


Amazon.co.uk book reviews

I have noted something weird about the review system at Amazon. I have put a few dozens (85 actually) of my reviews on the English version of that site as well. They have been written for LJ, but could be used there as well.

I almost forgot about them, then I saw the system of reviewer-ranking. Apparently I am ranked 1749 now. I got 126 helpful votes. Looking at people who are equally ranked 1749, I notice most of them have got less helpful votes. I assume I got a lot of ‘not helpful’ votes as well. This was confirmed when I looked through the reviews I wrote.

Something peculiar came up. When I enjoyed a book and wrote positively about it, I get plenty votes. If I didn’t like the book and hence wrote a not very nice review, I get a lot of negative votes. Looking at the books that got five or more votes, this was almost 100% true. Only 3 books do not fit one of the categories. Exactly the three that were not outspoken positive or negative.

Yet I feel that a clear review (positive or negative) is always good. If someone didn’t like the book at all, I like reading about it. Do you have to be positive all the time to become a good/popular reviewer?

My three categories.

I loved them:

Isabel Allende – Retrato en sepia (10 from 11)
Iain Banks – The wasp factory (5 from 5 and 7 of 7)
Brian Thacker – Rule no. 5: No sex on the bus (5 of 5)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One hundred years of solitude (9 of 11)
Charles Dickens – Oliver Twist (5 of 5)
John Reed – Ten days that shook the world (7 of 8)
Bill Bryson – Down Under (4 of 5)

Didn’t like them:

Bridget Jones – The edge of reason (2 out of 7)
Lance Armstrong – it is not about the bike (1 of 16)
Stephen Fry – Moab is my washpot (1 of 9)
Anthony Burgess – A clockwork Orange (0 of 8)
Arthur Miller – Death of a salesmen (1 of 5)


Mikail Bulgakov – The master and Margarita (3 of 6)
Arundhati Roy – The god of small things (2 of 8)
Leopold Sacher-Masoch – Venus in Furs (5 of 7)

P.s. I do not know how to link to individual reviews, but I have reviewed all these and 70 other books using my usual nick: gerbie7