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Amazon Review Policy Madness

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Pretty obviously, Amazon get a lot of things right, and they offer a valuable platform to indie and hybrid authors, as well as your traditional publishers. But they do also get some things badly, badly wrong.

A case in point: there's a review on the UK Amazon store of my Cloven Land trilogy that contains a major plot spoiler. There's a character in the books who is not what they seem, and I very carefully seeded subtle clues and hints throughout the trilogy before making the big reveal at the end. This review baldly states who that character is as well as their true nature. Grrr. It's hugely frustrating that someone would do that. By the sound of it the reader missed all my hints and just assumed I'd bunged in the surprise with no forethought. Doesn't justify what they did but maybe makes it more understandable.

What's really bad, though, is that it turns out plot spoliers do not contravene Amazon review guidelines. Seriously. They won't remove the review, or ask the author to amend it, or even put some sort of "Warning: plot spoilers" tag on it. So, if I post a review of a whodunnit and state who the killer is, that's absolutely fine by Amazon. I think that's pretty shocking.

Obviously Amazon can't be expected to read every book and look for spoilers. But if the author says a review contains a significant spoiler, then Amazon should surely respect that. I can't help wondering if they'd react differently if a major publisher quibbled over a review.

Disappointing, Amazon. This policy is wrong and needs to be changed.

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