Etsy and Review Extortion

By Joanna Cabot
July 3, 2015 // 8 Comments

I wrote last year about an experience I had on Amazon with a seller trying to game the review system by offering cash prizes to people who left only five-star reviews. Well, now I have had the opposite experience: a seller on Etsy who has not use reward, but punishment. I ordered a crafting stamp [...]

Amazon revamps its rating calculations, favoring helpful, recent reviews of verified purchases

By Chris Meadows
July 2, 2015 // 1 Comment

Passing by almost unnoticed in the barrage of recent news are these pieces from the last couple of weeks on changes Amazon is making to its review system. Effectively, Amazon is using machine learning to change the way it calculates the aggregate star ratings on its reviews. (Found via Reddit.) [...]

Morning Links: New Kobo Firmware Update. Getting Reviewed by the NYT

By Juli Monroe, TeleRead
June 12, 2015 // 0 Comments

Firmware Update 3.16 Released for Kobo Glo HD and Kobo Touch (The eBook Reader) Kobo has started rolling out a new software update, version 3.16.0. Unlike most updates, this one is only being issued to a couple of models, the new Glo HD and the old Kobo Touch. TeleRead Take: A new Kobo Glo HD just [...]

Safety alert: Voice Dream Mail Pro app is better for the visually impaired than for drivers barreling down the freeway

By David Rothman
June 5, 2015 // 2 Comments

Updated June 5 I’ve long been a booster of Voice Dream, the best text-to-speech app for reading e-books, at least for me. Now, from developer Winston Chen, comes word of another product for iOS, Voice Dream Mail. As he describes the app, "It reads your email out loud using [...]

Self-Published Measles Book Target of an Amazon Backlash

By Joanna Cabot
February 13, 2015 // 2 Comments

I have been following the measles outbreak with interest because, as a teacher, I work with kids on a daily basis. I am also pro-vaccination because I live with someone who is immune-compromised due to a lifelong health condition and so depends on herd immunity. We’ve been told that if the [...]

Cash for reviews: a slippery slope

By Joanna Cabot
November 14, 2014 // 6 Comments

I recently purchased some teaching products via The order arrived last week and everything was fine, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it, and did not realize it had come from a third-party seller until I got a curious email from them this week. The email said that their [...]

Book review: The Children of Old Leech, edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele, Word Horde

By Paul St John Mackintosh
July 30, 2014 // 0 Comments

This is both a superb collection of dark tales and a testament to the highly developed, involved, and even self-referential status of the new new wave of American horror and weird fiction. For it is a tribute anthology from some of the best writers in the field in honor of one of their most [...]

Free e-books for reviews: bad idea?

By Chris Meadows
June 10, 2014 // 3 Comments

Well, this is fairly tone-deaf and yet remarkably predictable. Kim Ukura on BookRiot reports on publisher Crown Publishing Group’s book review program, “Blogging for Books.” This program sends books to bloggers to review…and then they have to review it, publicly, or get dropped from the [...]

Router maker threatens lawsuit over Amazon review (Updated)

By Chris Meadows
May 9, 2014 // 1 Comment

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about a self-publishing author who considered suing one of his readers for posting a bad Amazon review? Ars Technica reports that one company with products listed on Amazon has threatened just that. Update: And, as a result, said company has reportedly [...]

Authors and readers look at reviews differently

By Juli Monroe, TeleRead
April 28, 2014 // 11 Comments

Chris had an excellent post recently about an author wanting to sue over a one-star review. A few days ago I discovered I had some ratings on my books on Goodreads. Both these events got me to thinking. The ratings on my books are okay. I have a 4-star, a few 3-stars and a 2-star. My initial [...]

Suing e-book reviewers and being a public jerk: Two bad ideas in one

By Chris Meadows
April 19, 2014 // 10 Comments

A friend pointed out to me a slightly older blog post that is rather interesting. In fact, it’s interesting not just for the article, but for the comments. It’s kind of a gift that keeps on giving. The blog post, by writer Greg Strandberg, quotes (and screencaps) a post by self-publishing [...]

Horror writers join anti Amazon bullying push

By Paul St John Mackintosh
March 31, 2014 // 1 Comment

Horror writers are made of stern stuff, you’d think. But apparently they find online bullying as creepy as anyone. The Horror Writers Association (HWA) ( has just added its voice to the series of calls on Amazon to end aggressively negative – and anonymous – [...]

Book review: Flowers of the Sea, by Reggie Oliver

By Paul St John Mackintosh
March 27, 2014 // 0 Comments

Reggie Oliver is proving to be one of the most prolific, as well as most consistent, of modern British dark fiction and horror writers. His latest collection from Tartarus Press, Flowers of the Sea, includes thirteen stories and two novellas, many “originally written for inclusion in [...]

One survey on marketing for self-publishing

By Paul St John Mackintosh
March 4, 2014 // 1 Comment

With the glut of surveys, polls, and studies of all kinds on the mechanics and economics of self-publishing, it’s no surprise to see another one released, especially when that one is backed by an entity with a strong interest in the business area surveyed. As recounted by a press release with [...]

Weekend Roundup: Even award winners suck for someone, Understanding lack of eBook ownership

By Joanna Cabot
January 26, 2014 // 0 Comments

Every Award-Winning Book Sucks (for Someone) (John Scalzi) As part of my occasional and hopefully instructive series of entries in which I try to make the point to writers that negative reviews are part of the territory and ultimately not something to get too worked up about or to let scar one’s [...]

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