I'm new. I've published a few books on Kindle and I've just received a couple of negative reviews. On one of them, the person was expecting a different type of book than what it is. I changed the description to reflect the contents more accurately.
Reviews on Amazon come from readers. There's no rubric for them to follow, and they're not required to adhere to any critical guidelines. There is very little you can do to mitigate the impact of negative reviews, and it's important to remember that Amazon is a marketplace--its review system: a public forum for consumers. It's not there for our betterment, but for that of the buyer and the market, and these books we're publishing are being sold.
The assumption on the part of a buyer is that it is presented as is, complete, and finished. Constructive criticism is a matter for writing workshops. These are customers, and their judgements are based on value.
If the reviewer didn't buy or read the book, that's one thing. It could possibly be seen as malicious. It's not likely Amazon will remove it otherwise, though.
The best I see that can be done is to fall back on craft and clarity. Present your best work, represent it fairly, and all of that other nonsense. Once it's out there, it's out there. Publishing is an open invitation to criticism, and most web-based reviewers (in any medium) are fairly unforgiving and hyperbolic.
You can respond in the form of a review, but it's not the best form in the world. It tends to come off badly, and it's never good for you to get involved in a street fight over the merit of your work in the reviews section.
I know it sucks. Believe me. I used to write Palm software back in the day, and nothing can tank sales better than a negative review. Stings even more when it feels unfair. People don't see that, though. They just see you arguing. It's tough to swallow, but it is what it is.
Any member of Amazon can pretty much review anything, the assumption being even if it wasn't purchased on Amazon it's reasonable that it was purchased. They have a newer thing though that certifies reviews as being from purchasers. I can't remember what it's called, and I have no idea if those reviews are handled differently, but it's something.
It is my opinion that there are readers that work the system. Some will purchase a book, say they only read the first chapter and found it not worth their time and ask for a refund. They then follow the practice by writting a review that supports their request, and quite frankly, some of the remarks are down right cruel.
This is not something that you can do anything about but let the people who buy your books provide the affirmation that you have done a good job. If they buy your second and third books, then that's all the proof needed.
I understand that you think that your subject matter is what caused the review. Take a moment and read the reviews on other books at Amazon and you will see that you are not the only one that has taken the hit.
It is also true that not every book is for everybody. What I enjoy may be totally unacceptable to another reader and they may express their frustration in writing. Goes with the territory.
Well, if you demand that Amazon remove the negative reviews in short time no one will want to review your book. They'll figure that they will be subject to attack if the review doesn't pass your acceptance level and they have no idea what that level really is.
I believe that you started another thread around here asking how to get reviews? Are you saying that you only want 5-star reviews?
Could you post a link to your book so others can read the review.
Readers can read 10% of the book for free, so I think that is a fair amount for them to judge the contents. If they don't avail themselves of this and buy the book after only reading the blurb or looking at the cover, it's up to them. Of course the book could deteriorate baby after the free chapters, in which case they are more than entitle to post a hostile review.
I don't know if you're still here... I checked out your reviews.
I find them a little odd.
You have consistently one or two apparently different detractors at each book. But, each negative review follows a formula beginning with a phrase like, "I bought this book on the basis of positive reviews here..."
The rest of your reviews are almost raving! You don't suppose someone has a case of professional jealousy?