Back in the good old days, I found 99% of new reads either 1) on Facebook, or 2) In the “also boughts” on Amazon. When I found an author I liked, I followed them on Facebook and got notified whenever the author posted about a new release. I was also able to go to Amazon and find out what other books readers were picking up that were like the one(s) I’d just enjoyed. It was truly a golden age of reading. Well, those days are OVER. Why? Because Facebook and Jeff Bezos completely wrecked the golden age. Here’s how:
What do you mean I don’t get to hear from people I’ve SAID I want to hear from?
So, I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but not too long ago, Facebook decided that I only wanted to hear from my friends and family. (And apparently from clickbait feel-good videos and people with recipes, for some reason. I don’t cook, by the way. Like, ever. But I digress...) That decision that was made completely unilaterally by Facebook (Thanks a lot, Zuckerberg) means that author pages I’ve liked and SAID I want to hear from get bumped way, way down in my news feed—and that’s IF they even decide to show them to me at all. Now, sure, there’s a way I can go in and manually tell Facebook AGAIN which pages I want to see, but I’ve been liking stuff for YEARS. I can’t possibly go in and manually mark all those pages so they show up. All this means that I’m missing out on LOTS of author updates, because Facebook has decided that those aren’t important to me. That’s taken a HUGE chunk out of my TBR list, and I’m not at all happy about it. Not. At. All.
Now, all that also means that as a blogger, only about half (if I’m lucky) of the people who’ve liked the Romance Rehab page and SAID they want to see updates from us actually get to see anything we say. So, not only did Facebook take away my ability to find new books, they also robbed me of my ability to TELL anyone about the books I’ve read and enjoyed. (Unless I want to pay them, of course) The result? Fewer book sales all around. Great job, Facebook. Thanks alot.
Where are my “also boughts”??
Around the same time Zuckerberg decided to spit in my face, Jeff Bezos decided to shove the information about books that are often bought by people just like me down—way, way down—under a bunch of “sponsored products.” In case you’re wondering, “sponsored products” are just paid ads. What’s worse, they try to tell me that these “sponsored products” are actually related to whatever I’m searching for on Amazon. That’s a DIRTY LIE. I can attest to that fact. Because when I’m searching for a new paranormal romance to read, 98% of the “sponsored products” that show up have absolutely nothing to do with paranormal romance. I can find everything from new adult, to contemporary, to taboo romance and historical romance. If I really keep digging, I might get to some paranormal romance. But by that time, I’ve usually given up and just decide to re-read one of my old favorites that I found back in the golden age when finding a new book was as easy as glancing at my phone.
Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, they decided to add insult to injury by “cracking down” on fake reviews. I’m all for Amazon getting their review system under control and getting rid of fake reviews. However, instead of having humans problem-solve the issue, Bezos assigned his bots to the task. The result? Some fake reviews got taken down. But then so did tons of legitimate reviews. Apparently the bots have trouble determining the good reviews from the fake reviews. And if you’ve liked an author on social media, the bots assume that you’re a friend or family member of the author and that you’re trying to scam the system by leaving a biased review. (Hey, Bezos... Pssst...here’s a tidbit of info for you: readers like to follow their favorite authors on social media. We like to interact with them. That doesn’t make us incapable of leaving an unbiased review. Can you explain that to your bots who remove our reviews every day?)
But the biggest result of this crackdown? I have no faith left in the Amazon review system. There goes yet another resource I could’ve utilized to find new reads. So much for that…
That’s my story, y’all. That’s why I cuss out Facebook on a daily basis and maintain a love-hate relationship with Amazon. (I do love me some Amazon Prime. I’m only human!) So, if you have any good book recommendations, please let me know, because God knows I’ll have trouble finding any on Amazon or Facebook.
And since Bezos and Zuckerberg don’t give a crap about what I have to say, all I can tell them is:
NOTE: If you want to make sure you keep seeing Romance Rehab posts (or any of your favorite author posts) on Facebook, go to your “News Feed” tab on your homepage and click on “Edit Preferences”. It’ll let you choose who you see first in your news feed from there.
More thoughts on Amazon and reviews