Reviewing a Book I Haven’t Read


A real problem with the Amazon review section is that people can review a book even before it is released. This is particularly true of books by conservative authors. One star reviews flood the page before and shortly after such books are released. Obviously many people who didn’t read the books are reviewing them. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, it’s dishonest to review a book you haven’t read.

But it sure is tempting to post an Amazon review about the book intended to smear Brett Kavanaugh (though perhaps unsuccessfully), The Education of Brett Kavanaugh by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. If I were to write a review, it might be something like this:

Before Brett Kavanaugh spoke a word to a national audience, the majority of Democrat senators announced they would oppose his confirmation as a member of the United States Supreme Court. In fact, even before Trump announced who his candidate would be, most of the Dim (sorry, Dem) senators stated their opposition.

Therefore, if those senators could vote “No” before they who the nominee would be, I can give Pogrebin and Kelly a one-star review without reading the book. I know there will not be a fair take on the subject because these writers work for the New York Times (a former newspaper, h/t A.K.)

I know that the writers will do their best to question Kavanaugh’s character and will treat him unfairly; even though there is an objective record that shows that those who know Brett Kavanaugh say he has a sterling record and his long judicial record is extraordinarily distinguished. But I’m confident Probrebin and Kelly will prove themselves in this book to be fibbers with britches ablaze.

Instead, read Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino’s Justice on Trial. I’m only halfway through, but I’m giving it five stars.

Again, I don’t feel good about cheating the Amazon system in this way, so I won’t post this there. But if you should happen to have a lower moral standard than mine, and choose to post this review under your account, what can I do?

There are 6 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. EB Thatcher

    As far as political-type book reviews go, Amazon is worthless.  I have seen the same thing you have, with conservative books being given 1 star and a bad review before they were available, as well as after. 

    Amazon used to let a person click “helpful” or “unhelpful” on reviews that other people had written.  One time I got a report from Amazon that I had 200 helpful’s and 26 unhelpful’s.  I was really puzzled about what review(s) I had made that were given a thumbs down.  It turned out that I had reviewed Sarah Palin’s autobiography by saying it gave me a better understanding of  of her, with 3 stars.  Every single “unhelpful” click was on that one review.

    So of course, I just went down the whole list and clicked “unhelpful” on every negative review.

    I noticed the other day that they only have “helpful” available now.

    • #1
  2. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt

    I really don’t understand why amazon does not limit reviews to items purchased by the reviewer.  

    • #2
  3. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    EB (View Comment):
    As far as political-type book reviews go, Amazon is worthless. I have seen the same thing you have, with conservative books being given 1 star and a bad review before they were available, as well as after. 

    Since it’s easy enough to view the distribution of reviews, rather than the average, and concentrate only on the number of stars of interest to you, I still find Amazon reviews helpful for politically controversial books.

    Often, the three- and four-star reviews are interesting, since they’re typically by people neither hostile to the book, nor willing to swallow its premise hook, line, and sinker.

    And, I have no idea if it helps, but when I do see a review that shows no evidence of being from someone who read the book, I report it as inappropriate using their flag system. Maybe their flag system is like close-door buttons on elevators or crosswalk buttons — just there to have something for annoyed people to push, even if it does nothing.

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher

    I don’t need a review other than Mollie’s. Mollie didn’t technically review it. She just blew it up.

    • #4
  5. William Laing Inactive
    William Laing

    @eustacecscrubb, @fakejohnjanegalt, @midgetfadedrattlesnake:


    Amazon had better fix this! Offering the ability to write purported review when it is known that neither the purported reviewer nor the general public can possibly have read the book, is reckless disregard for authors’ well-being.

    I did not know that this feature of Amazon’s review process existed. Please, everyone, publicise it on every platform you can until Amazon sees their error and corrects it. Allowing posts to appear of reviews that *may* not be genuine, a risk that has been with publishing forever, is one thing; allowing posts to appear that *cannot* be genuine reviews is quite another.

    Authors have enough problems, God knows. They do not deserve to have their output poisoned before birth.

    • #5
  6. Shauna Hunt Inactive
    Shauna Hunt

    I don’t know how they found any material to write a book. It’s obviously a work of fiction. Although, that’s an insult to fiction!

    • #6

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.