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Author Topic: Rating Books Based on Price  (Read 4449 times)

Offline Jeryn

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Rating Books Based on Price
« on: April 25, 2015, 02:17:01 AM »
After reading Overlord's very helpful post about books being released this month, I thought I'd check out "The Vagrant" by Peter Newman, but chose against it when I saw the $19.90 price for the Kindle ebook on Amazon.

I then saw that it had only two reviews, both of which were only one star -- based solely on the price.

Look, I get it. I'm not going to pay $20 for an ebook, especially when the hardcover(!) price is lower than the ebook price. But I've now seen numerous instances where books are given low ratings on websites because of the price, presumably by people who never read a word.

To me, this punishes the author for something they can't control. Not only that, but what if the price drops? I'm sure these critics aren't coming back to read the book and provide a revised, thoughtful analysis of the content. I know it's terribly passive and unsatisfying to express your displeasure with the price by not buying the book, but reviews like these don't seem helpful to me.

Offline Doctor_Chill

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Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2015, 02:58:35 AM »
Holy crap who thought putting the kindle edition at a higher rate than the hardcover was a good idea? Yeah, I've heard good reviews on him, especially from our very own @ScarletBea, but damn. This seriously makes me reconsider picking it up.

I know I've never talked about the price of a book in a review (well, up until one that's going to go out in the next month or so) but even then, it's a mere aside. I've seen ridiculousness on this scale most notably when people bemoaned Jordan's wife for refusing to send out an ebook copy for A Memory of Light . They did the same, shelling out 1 star reviews because of that. I think the publishers eventually caved, but this was from a well-known titan of the genre. Peter Newman is a debut author, and this will severely hurt him. Extremely sad to hear.

And yet, I'm somehow sympathizing with the reviewers. Should they contact the publishers directly and take down their reviews when the price is lowered (God help us if it's not)? Why of course. Will they? Probably not, and therein lies the problem.

I'm curious to see how this unfolds.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 04:59:14 AM »
I believe I've also seen reviews that give a book one star because it was damaged when they received it. Again, that's something the author can't control, and you might be mad about the damaged book, but what you're doing is hurting the author.

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2015, 08:17:15 AM »
Gosh!
I've just checked Amazon UK and they've got the hardcover at £10.99 and the kindle at £6.99 - do ebooks have to be bought in specific countries, or could you take advantage of the cheaper UK price?
(edit: searched Waterstone's and Book Depository and none of them have got the ebook, just hardcover)

I've seen similar country price disparities when there's no 'proper' multicountry agreements (I assume), when I've wanted to get some american authors recommended here and the price on the UK site is ridiculous... maybe because Peter's case is a british launch, the american sites exaggerate their prices?

As for the main question, I think it's awful when people do reviews based on price. It shows a selfishness and a completely misplaced sense of entitlement by the person, and I do feel sorry for the authors >:(
« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 08:20:41 AM by ScarletBea »
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 08:18:28 AM »
People do unfortunately do that on Amazon. I've seen a lot of low reviews there for things that are totally outside the control of the author. For reasons like that I put no store in Amazon reviews.
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2015, 12:05:28 PM »
I've always thought that Amazon should have multiple star ratings for each purchase - one for the product itself, one for delivery & product condition, one for the seller. That way people would be less likely to down-rate something because it arrived late or damaged.  :-\
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Offline Michael Sullivan

Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2015, 01:03:57 PM »
I've always thought that Amazon should have multiple star ratings for each purchase - one for the product itself, one for delivery & product condition, one for the seller. That way people would be less likely to down-rate something because it arrived late or damaged.  :-\

That would be excellent!  Maybe they'll do something like that in the future.  It is unfortunate that often the author is taken to task for "making his books too expensive." With the exception of self-published book it is absolutely outside his control - I WISH I could control the price of my traditionally published books, but that is one of the things we have to give up when signing on the dotted line.

Offline Yora

Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2015, 02:32:07 PM »
When rating fiction at a store, you kind of rate both the content of the work as well as the product that you bought. And when the product is overpriced, that is a legitimate thing to criticize. That two separate, and completely unconnected things both get rated with the same score is a rather unfortunate thing that comes with things being rated at the sellers website.

If you want to become big and famous, you probably have to go with established publishers, but I think when you write for the art, you probably should avoid them. Then you can set your own prices and pick the cover art, and things like that.
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Offline Skip

Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2015, 08:39:26 PM »
This happens to everything, not just books. People give one-stars because they couldn't put the BBQ grill together. Or because the pajamas were the wrong color. All sorts of irrelevant things that add up to the same sum: the buyer was unhappy.

It sucks, it's unfair, but it's part of doing business.

Offline sennydreadful

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Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2015, 11:04:07 AM »

If you want to become big and famous, you probably have to go with established publishers, but I think when you write for the art, you probably should avoid them. Then you can set your own prices and pick the cover art, and things like that.

Except of course that the vast majority of writers are writing because they both love writing (or the art of it, as you say) and because they like to get paid for it. It's just not remotely realistic to split them up like that.

As for the 1 star thing, that is incredibly frustrating. It's true that it happens across a range of products, but with books there is truly one specific person you are damaging by doing this - not the large company that made the BBQ you couldn't put together - but one man or woman whose future career could genuinely be affected by a heap of 1 stars on twitter.


Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2015, 09:00:31 AM »
Personally, this sort of review pisses the hell out of me. I will report those as inappropriate whenever I see them.

If you have not read the book or bought/used the product then you have no business 'reviewing' it. And by 'reviewing' I mean WaahWaah baby crying because you don't like the price of X. (I suppose it's not like they have anywhere else to vent their annoyance at the pricing of products, but a fake review, and that is what it is, is not the way to do it.)

If you bought a $20 ebook and read it and it's not worth that price to you then comment on your enjoyment of the book itself and then go on to say it's not worth $20 but wait until it comes down in price, etc. It's every bit as stupid as slating a book solely because somebody gave it a bad cover. Neither is the author's fault (unless self-published), and yet they will be the ones most affected.

That said, I don't think an e-book should ever exceed the price of a hardback version. It's just silly, and I feel bad for authors when this happens because the response is predictably negative.

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Offline Rostum

Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2015, 05:54:05 PM »
It is very strange that it is more expensive there. In the UK we have a running complaint that regardless of the exchange rate a $200 item will somehow be £200 here. This usually applies to consumer electronics, books, DVD's and computer games.

BTW The Vagrant is worth reading regardless of the one star reviews.

Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2015, 06:39:52 PM »
Rating a book based only on price is the height, the very pinnacle, the summit of Everest, of stupidity.

Surely,
1. If it is too expensive, don't buy it.
2. If you did buy it, rate the book in its entirety - price can be a part of this, but not the whole of this.
3. Unless they are self-pub, the author doesn't control the price so who are the reviewers trying to hurt, and who suffers through the collateral damage of their friendly fire.

The Vagrant - a good book. I'm reading it now, in hardback, bought at a shop, signed (and doodled) by the author (a man that doesn't like to leave a good party).
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Offline madfox11

Re: Rating Books Based on Price
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2015, 10:09:20 AM »
It should be noted that while authors have little influence on price when it is set by the publisher, they do have full control in case of self published material. While I would never rate a book solely on the price, I certainly deducted stars in case of self-published material (let alone when it is a result of a low page count where the story is better served by combining two parts into one). Mind you, if you truly feel a price is too high, there is nobody forcing you to buy the product ;)

P.S. Doesn't Amazon already ask you to rate the delivery process when they send physical products? I seem to remember it, but I have admittedly not ordered something physical from Amazon in a long time...