More on Amazon “verified purchase”

I promised an update when I heard back — again — from Amazon. I had the following email waiting for me when I got up this morning:

Hello Amanda,

My name is Steve, I am a Senior Customer Service agent.

It was brought to my attention the comments that you left in the survey.

When someone borrows your book from the Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Owner’s Lending Library programs and they leave a customer review it won’t appear as a verified purchase. It will appear with the other reviews as normal and it won’t have more or less relevance in the product page of the Kindle book. They will not be classified as verified purchase since the customer is not buying the book.

I hope this is helpful. Have a great week and thanks for using Amazon KDP.

Regards,

Steve R.

So, despite the changes in their review policy — or maybe because of them — Amazon is not going to give the same weight to reviews by people who borrowed a book under the KU/KOLL programs that they do someone who purchased the book. I can sort of see where they are coming from, but that doesn’t mean I like it, at least not where KU is concerned. After all, you aren’t “purchasing” a book under either program.

However, KU is a subscription service. Amazon is getting money from its customers in the program. For those reviewers, it is my belief that the company should not their reviews as “verified KU download” or something of the like. That lets potential readers know that the review did come from someone who actually downloaded and, hopefully, read the book. That is something I will be passing on to Amazon later today.

But, for now, I recommend everyone who reviews a book they downloaded as part of the KU program to note in the very first paragraph that you read the book as part of the KU program. That won’t do anything about the weight Amazon gives to the review initially but it will help give more validity to your review, at least for me, than a review from someone who may or may not have read the book or who read a pirated copy.

12 Comments

  1. Yeah, I wish they’d do something to mark them as verified downloads as well and treat them accordingly. It’s too bad that folks I give a copy to will have their reviews count for less, but considering some of the reviews out there that clearly haven’t read the book, I can deal with that. But KU downloads? That’s different.

    Luckily, Amazon tends to be more responsive to authors than a lot of companies, so here’s hoping.

    1. Tom, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Amazon updates its policy on this soon. It is important they do something since they are now weighting reviews.

      1. Agreed. A KU review should weigh as much as a purchase, both on Amazon and in the mind of the shopper.

        Without something noting that this was a KU download, shoppers won’t know that it’s someone who did get the book through Amazon.

        1. Which is basically what I just said in my email to them. I also pointed out that those who are in the KU program are paying for the program and that does, in at least one sense of the word, make them purchasers.

  2. Nice post. I’ve had too much on my small, narrow mind lately to question Amazon’s review and rating process, figuring I’d deal with it when I’m rich and famous. Or at least middle class wealthy, which these days is nothing to sneer at.

    Anyway, thanks for the post and passing along the benefits from the time and effort you put into it.

    1. I will be sending off the suggestion after I find more coffee. I’ve just spent the last hour on the phone with Uverse trying to renegotiate my plan with them.

      Edited to add: email sent. Supposedly they will get back to me in 12 hours or less. We’ll see.

  3. Yes, that does seem screwy. Particularly since people using the KU program are likely the most voracious readers, you’d think Amazon would want to highlight their reviews. At the very least, they need to be shown to have downloaded the book under that program.

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