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An open letter to Amazon:

Dear Amazon,

I should be your Holy Grail. I’m the real deal, an actual reader who goes through books carefully, thinks about what they mean and how they’re written, and then writes a considered, thoughtful, and hopefully helpful analysis—in other words, I’m a book reviewer.

Writers, potential customers, publishers, and oh yes—you, Amazon—should be jumping for joy and giving thanks that I’ve taken hours to read and yet more hours to craft reviews for hundreds of books. Instead, Amazon, you’ve decided to punish reviewers like me.

In the name of discouraging “fake” reviews, your new policy requires reviewers like me to spend $50 on Amazon’s US site and even more, £40 on Amazon UK before I can share my review. Have you thought about other solutions, or the effect this will have on legitimate reviewers?

Amazon has figured out how to conduct millions of legitimate and secure transactions every day. Why isn’t some of this technology available here?

What about options like registering legitimate reviewers? Not making reviews public until the reviewer has posted a threshold number? Requiring reviewers to provide and confirm their identity with a credit card?

I’ve heard from several other book reviewers who recently were told they could not share their reviews with Amazon’s customers unless they first make purchases from Amazon. What are we all really hearing? We’re hearing YOU, Amazon, loud and clear, saying:

Listen up, you reviewers. Forget that you’ve already invested ten or twenty or more hours of your time. Forget that you haven’t made a penny for all those hours of work. Forget that the vast majority of books you’re reviewing aren’t going to get that Kirkus review, and instead are counting on unpaid reviewers for an honest and unbiased review.  Forget ALL that and cough up $50 in purchases in exchange for the honor of posting your review on Amazon.

NOW who’s getting paid for book reviews, AMAZON?

Somebody is paying for reviews. The customers are paying by not seeing book reviews, the writer is paying by not selling books, and Amazon? Amazon is holding them hostage for their $50 in sales.

Too bad about that baby you’re throwing out with all that bathwater, Amazon. [image: Public Domain]