Amazon Pulls Another Stunt.
Amazon has decided that anyone who wants to leave a review on a book or other article has to have spent a minimum of $50 in that store, in a 12 month period. I’m not happy about it, but I get it. That’s not what I want to discuss. We all have our opinion on the topic and all are valid and appreciated. I have, however, noticed something I would like to address: please check your privilege before you post on these topics.
#1 Maybe $50 is not a lot for you. Great! Some reviewers had to scrape by to get that money for weeks, or months, or years, and they are devastated they’ll have to do it yearly now. Having $50 to spend on non-essentials like books is a privilege. Please, keep that in mind.
#2 Not all reviewers are in the US. If they want to review on .com and their home store like before, they now have to spend $ 100 a year. See #1.
#3 Non-US reviewers can’t buy e-books in the .com store. They have to buy something physical over $50 and have that shipped over (usually at ridiculous costs) to meet the $ 50 requirement. For them, $50 is not $50. It’s a hassle and it’s frustrating. Also: see #1--if you’re already scraping by and $50 becomes $70 because of shipping, it’s tough. People outside of the US also pay an import tax of 10 – 21 percent, depending on the country, on any purchase over a certain value, so a $ 50 order can quickly turn into a $ 100 one.
#4 Not every author gets a ton of reviews, period, let alone in the US store. If you do, that’s a privilege. Saying “Oh, I can stand to lose a few” is not true for everyone. Please, keep that in mind.
#5 Not every author is most popular in the US. Some have predominantly UK (or EU, or NZ, or Asian) readers. Promo sites look almost exclusively at the US store to see if a book qualifies, and this new rule thus skewers the odds of a good promo like Bookbub in the favor of authors with a US reader/reviewer base. If you are one, and you won’t be affected by the changes in this way, then please check your privilege again.
#6 .com reviews are pushed out across all Amazon stores as “Reviewed on amazon.com” reviews until that store gathers five reviews of its own. It does not work the other way around. Say I have twenty reviews on UK, they won’t show up on .co if I have less than five there. See #5 about why this is a problem and the disadvantages enforced by the new system.
If you’re an author with a predominantly Us-based review base, please realize that you have been given an advantage by this new rule. If you are an author with predominantly US-based readers, please realize you have been given and advantage by this new rule. Please also realize that if you fall in either of these categories, you had a head-start to begin with, because Amazon hasn’t rolled out Kindle Unlimited or AMS ads in all areas. You were already ahead of the pack and now you’ve been given an even greater head-start. No one is saying that people who fall into either category haven’t worked hard to get there, nor that reviews are the pinnacle of authorship. Lots of things sell a book. What is important is that to some people, reviews are very important and Amazon has instituted a rule that makes it harder for some to get .com reviews than others in a system where .com reviews are more important. This matters, and it matters to some more than others.
Please, check your privilege!