Revenge of the digerati

Readers angry about e-book delays push down Amazon ratings


Amazon.com is a vital sales channel for publishers, and its customer reviews are a key aspect of that. So when prospective buyers—upset that they cannot buy e-book versions of a new release as quickly as hardcover versions are offered—pepper the site with negative reviews, publishers take notice. Case in point: the much buzzed-about new book Game Change, which spills secrets about the 2008 presidential election. The book has been deluged with one-star, negative reviews from people who are protesting HarperCollins’ decision to delay the Kindle version to Feb. 23. Those one-star reviews have contributed to a ho-hum average customer review rating of 2.5 stars (out of 5). “This is time-sensitive material. No one is going to care in 6 weeks when it is released for the Kindle. People want it now. The publisher is shooting themselves in the foot,” runs one review. “ I’m flying in two weeks and would have liked to have read the book, but I’m not going to lug a massive hardcover. You lost a sale,” added another. Some in the publishing industry fear that Amazon’s standard $9.99 (or lower) for new release books on Kindle will create a “sticky” price in consumers’ minds, dragging down the overall perceived value of books. Considering how popular customer reviews are as a guide when consumers are looking for things on Amazon, publishers may be facing yet another new problem: prospective buyers who may not notice that it’s a Kindle protest, not a title’s contents, that is dragging down its ratings.


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Revenge of the digerati

  1. This type of thing has also happened with PC games that use DRM on them. Spore is the most famous example, it was rated into the ground by people who refused to buy due to the SecuROM malware included in the game.

    Of course, it also helped that the game itself was bad.

  2. There is nothing wrong with consumers making their minds heard. Nothing brings about change faster than something that will cost a business some money. Good work consumers keep it up.

    As for DRM, most people that know how to pirate games also know how to get around DRM. So I hope PC game studios enjoy pissing off their few legitimate customers; a business all star move.

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