It is a known and accepted fact that reviews sell books. And yet it would appear that there is a problem with the book review system currently in use by Amazon.
Whenever someone uploads a review for a book onto the Amazon.com site in the United States, the review soon appears on all the other Amazon book sites worldwide. But, if a review is uploaded using any other Amazon site such as the one here in the UK – Amazon.co.uk, the review in question only appears on the site it was uploaded to. In other words the potential sales for that book are greatly reduced, simply because the review cannot be seen on Amazon in the US, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and any other country Amazon has an outlet in.
I can give you a clear example. Last week my science fiction novel “The Seventh Age”(ASIN: B007QIYIRK) received a review from a prominent author on ancient Egypt – Robert Bauval. Only those who purchase their books using Amazon.co.uk in England are aware of it, and may be influenced into purchasing a copy because of his review. Because of the way Amazon’s review system currently works, potential customers in the US and elsewhere, unless they happen to go to the UK site will remain ignorant of Mr Bauval’s review.
Just compare the UK page with the US page to see the problem:
The two reviews that were posted on Amazon.com in the US are common to both while Mr Bauval’s review only appears on Amazon.co.uk. Surely if any reviews posted on Amazon.com can automatically appear on all the other sites, then reviews posted on non US Amazon sites should be able to be seen on the Amazon.com site in the US, after all, it is Amazon’s main site.
At the bottom of the UK Amazon page there is a simple piece of hypertext which says if you click on it you can read the US reviews for the book you are interested in. Why not place something similar on the Amazon.com page for reviews posted elsewhere like the Amazon page here in the UK?
This is not an isolated incident. In talks with other writers who use Amazon to sell their literary products, it would appear that similar cases have happened in the past.
I am quite sure that you the readers will appreciate how much we writers rely on reviews to persuade potential customers to buy our product. When a prominent author like Robert Bauval lends his name to a book in the form of a favourable review, and that review never gets seen outside the country in which it was posted, the number of missed sales begins to mount up. For those writing the reviews, having to post them on more than one site is plainly ridiculous, not to say time consuming.
It’s a simple enough concept to grasp for most people, but apparently not for the executives running Amazon. So here it is in language even they should understand – lack of sales equals lack of profit for your company…