January 28, 2023

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Amazon adds Goodreads ratings to book listings

Amazon bought Goodreads in 2013, but for the most part there wasn’t much integration between the retailer and the social reading site. Recently, however, some authors have noticed that Goodreads average ratings appear in Amazon listings of their books, even though Amazon has its own rating system.

So. Amazon is starting to add Goodreads reviews to its book pages.

Goodreads notoriously does not do enough to moderate bot/spam/sock puppet accounts. They don’t even require email verification prior to rating. And now this will impact sales more than ever. pic.twitter.com/kUB62fZc5c

— Diana Urban (IN SCRIPTURE CAVE) (@DianaUrban) November 4, 2022

For most titles, Goodreads has far more reviews than Amazon, and the averages don’t always match. Goodreads is notorious for its lax policy when it comes to reviews: anyone can easily create many accounts to skew reviews as there is no requirement to verify your account. Books can be rated without buying them or even reading them: it is part of the Goodreads Terms of Service to openly rate a book one star or five stars long before even the advanced reader copies of the book come out.

It’s common for books to be “reviewed” on Goodreads (as well as Amazon), where a large group of people give a book a one-star rating to lower the average rating. This may be because the author misbehaved on Twitter, the book contains LGBTQ content, or a number of reasons unrelated to the quality of the book. There are even scams where authors are emailed asking for money to avoid having their book bombarded with reviews.

Sigh. 😒 Another day, another way to torment writers. Just as I’ve successfully broken away from the self-punishment of watching @goodreads reviews and ratings @Amazon goes and puts the numbers right on the pages of my book. That really is a stark comparison. pic.twitter.com/B66pwi8Lcd

— Kwana aka KM Jackson (@KwanaWrites) November 4, 2022

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Not all books on Amazon currently display the Goodreads rating and it is only on the desktop site. Presumably this is in the testing phase before being rolled out more universally. Although both Amazon and Goodreads ratings are displayed, they are displayed slightly differently: the Amazon average is displayed in stars, while the Goodreads average is expressed as a number. However, since most books on Goodreads have so many more reviews, it’s likely that the average will seem more trustworthy to a consumer.

Amazon hasn’t announced or released any information about this change yet, but this is a development to keep an eye on.

For more interesting news and stories from the world of books, visit Breaking in Books.

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