I noticed that Amazon is now pulling quotes from reviews and placing them prominently next to the ratings section on book pages. In theory, I think this sounds like a wonderful idea, but in reality, it has the potential to sabotage sales. Instead of pulling quotes from 5 star reviews, it seems to be pulling quotes from reviews that have been voted up or down as helpful. Certainly Amazon is aware that there are authors who create sock puppet accounts (not to mention enlist family and friends to help) in order to create glowing reviews for themselves, then drive by troll reviews for others, as well as vote their own good reviews up and bad reviews down, while voting other authors bad reviews up. This is a big enough problem that as a customer, I no longer trust reviews on Amazon.
Now comes the elephant in the room. What do you think this is going to accomplish? If you have this feature, then by all means make sure it draws from 4 and 5 star reviews, after all, the goal is to sell more books. If you allow this feature to draw from the worst of reviews, then we will see a drastic drop in sales. Reviews are simply opinions. Some will like it, and some will not. Why are you allowing those who do not like a book to rule over those who like it? I realize this is just the KDP forums, but I hope you will take this into consideration and forward these thoughts to the right people in the Amazon company. This system will cause more authors (both indie and traditional) to try to cheat the system, and possibly harm sales for good books that are victims of troll reviews. Since you won't remove meaningless, nasty reviews, then at least do not add to the problem with this new, and might I say, very harmful review system.
Personally I feel that the entire Amazon review system is broken, and this new 'feature' is a further unnecessary burden on authors and their books.
Amazon already offers to the potential customer the following checking mechanisms:
The Look Inside Feature - which comprises a hefty 10% of the book
A further sample download
And if the book did not live up to expectations
The ability to get your money back via Refunds
If I walk into a brick and mortar bookstore to buy an expensive paper book, I might choose one wholly by the cover, what is written in the back blurb, and I might even flick through the first page or two. After that, if the book doesn't meet my expectations (and yes, I've bought more than a few duds) then it is my own silly fault for buying it - I certainly would not demand a refund from the store. I also go into a brick and mortar bookstore knowing little to nothing about the book I am potentially going to buy, and any back cover reviews I read, will be entirely positive ones, likely paid or arranged for by the publisher.
So Amazon's current review system not only allows for 5* rorting, it also allows for troll/torpedo reviews. Annoy someone online and they (and their mates) can go after your books, be perceived as a threat by a competing author and they (and their mates) can go after your books, or you could simply draw the ire of a. someone having a bad day, b. internet trolls, c. grammar nazis, or d. indie haters.
If, by mischance, this new feature draws a sentence from one of these types of reviews, then your book will be burdened further, and sales even more compromised - something that would be injurious not only to the author, but also in the end to Amazon bottom line as well.
Scrap the reviews entirely. As a potential customer, all I need is the blurb and the look inside feature. The rest is simply unnecessary rubbish.
[b]I agree entirely, the present review system does much more harm than good and should be eliminated ASAP.. IMO the new Select freebie program will in the long run prove to be very destructive to paid sales, and also should be eliminated ASAP.
Thing is, Amazon.com has no provision for feedback from Indies or anyone else to management. There is no meaningful way to contact management. KDP support just follows written guidelines.[/b]
With great difficulty I obtained an email address for Mr. Jeffry Bezos, Founder and President of Amazon.com, from KDP Support, and repeatedly emailed him. I was never able to get a reply. And neither would you.
[b]It looks to me that due to lack of feedback Amazon simply has no idea as to what is going on at KDP, and I assume does not care.[/b] KDP is only the hair on the tail of the Amazon.com dog.