Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Barnes & Noble Engaged in Deleting Reviews

SB Sarah got a heads up from a Janet Evanovich fan that early reviews were disappearing from the Barnes and Noble site. Of course, the only deleted reviews were the negative ones. Google cache which preserves snapshots of past versions of a webpage showed at least two negative reviews that are nowhere to be found on the Barnes and Noble site.

It really does damage to consumer confidence when the reviews are so easily gamed at these corporate sites. While no reader is being stalked here, it still seems wrong and violative.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. Kirsten
    May 24, 2008 @ 15:09:53

    I don’t buy books from Barnes $ Noble online and try not to go their stores. I was plagiarized for a piece of academic writing and after almost 7 years and $20,000 I won my case. Amazon let me weigh in on the book in which my work was plagiarized but B$N didn’t. They never uploaded my statement. So I am not surprised at all that they are scrubbing negative reviews. I’m shocked, however, that they let them go up in the first place!

  2. janicu
    May 24, 2008 @ 15:51:40

    Great. I was thinking that B&N was the alternative since I’m annoyed at Amazon deleting reviews, and now we find they do the same thing! *throws hands up*.

  3. HG
    May 24, 2008 @ 18:40:41

    Wow! Even the cached version of the page isn’t available anymore. They’re certainly putting too much effort. LOL!

  4. GrowlyCub
    May 24, 2008 @ 19:53:47

    This is where I mention that I’m very happy with BooksAMillion (bamm.com). While they do charge sales tax in TN, they still have the best prices overall and a free Bookclub membership for military families via AAFES online. I would love a wishlist, but I like them much better than both Amazon and B&N. And no, I don’t get any kickbacks for mentioning them, I wish. :)

  5. Popin
    May 24, 2008 @ 20:17:32

    While it is disappointing that another site does this, it’s not surprising. Good reviews equal sales and revenue, bad reviews equal no sales and revenue. Especially since the book isn’t out yet, it’s no wonder why they’d only keep the good reviews.

  6. Danielle
    May 24, 2008 @ 20:26:16

    I’m a big fan of Books A Million and I’ve been ordering from them and Overstock.com for the last couple of years.

  7. Throwmearope
    May 24, 2008 @ 20:59:12

    We have a great independent bookstore in Denver. The owner even fought the Feds about a list of books purchased by somebody they were after. She fought the subpoena. It’s called the Tattered Cover, great name, too. Unfortunately, they treat the romance genre like a redheaded stepchild. So not a real alternative for BN and Ammie.

  8. Keishon
    May 24, 2008 @ 21:30:53

    Overstock.com

    I wouldn’t order anything new from them if you care to get your books in a timely manner. It just didn’t make sense to pre-order new books from them and have them ship it to you two weeks after you’ve seen the book everywhere else. Just not for me. I used to love ordering books from them but it was a hassle to cancel orders and it was annoying to have to wait a long time for your new book(s) to arrive.

    Carry on…

  9. Lisa
    May 25, 2008 @ 15:24:47

    I wonder if this has anything to do with a desperate move in the midst of the horrible econonmic shape of the industry? Maybe they hesitate to post anything negative that might impact sales? I think this came to mind simply because I read this right after reading their stock was down. I was discouraged to hear their stock fell considering already the chances Borders is going to have a limited future is so clear. And hearing they might buy Borders didn’t thrill me. We will get only one book buying view if that is the case. I like the differences I find at the stores. I love going to both Borders and Barnes and Noble to browse the books and enjoy what I love so much, reading.

  10. Lil
    May 25, 2008 @ 17:14:16

    Two issues to keep in mind: 1) authors get attacked, sometimes unfairly, by those with an agenda; 2) unless the site is touted as being “warts and all,” why should the host bear the expense (huge) for a site that does not promote sales?

    That being said, the average reader is not aware of these issues, and probably does assume the reviews are unbiased, and thus should reflect both positive and negative. Just as that reader assumes placement in the stores and online is random. I used to laugh at the editors I worked with who, when I asked what section they felt a book should go in, would reply eagerly, “I’d like it at the check out area” plus several other places. “You must pick!” I would say inexorably, and would make it clear I would be laughed out of my sales call unless I came in with demands that were simultaneously aggressive but realistic …

  11. Bev Stephans
    May 25, 2008 @ 20:15:46

    Since I cancelled my Amazon membership, I have not experienced any desire to return to their fold. Now B & N is undermining my confidence. All told, find another bookstore.

    I have been buying most of my books from Books-A-Million for years and have been very happy with them. I too, wish they had a wishlist but you can’t have everything. Recently, I have discovered AbeBooks for used books and I have had a very positive experience with them.

    Amazon and B & N need to realize there are alternatives to their sites. Once enough people start buying books from other sites, maybe they will sit up and take notice.

  12. Cheryl C.
    May 27, 2008 @ 14:43:29

    As a customer, I have not had any bad experiences with B&N as I have with Amazon. While I don’t agree with the manipulation of reviews, that was not ultimately why I made the decision to stop doing business through Amazon. My “boycott” of Amazon was due to their blatantly allowing writers to harass readers (aka customers) even when faced with proof that it was occuring. I think that there should be repercussions for both the writer and the reader for “behaving badly”. I was appalled that writers would respond in the ways that some of them have to a review (even a poor one). When it went the next step into cyber- stalking, bullying, and threats, I was disgusted with Amazon’s lack of response.

    So, while I will continue to take reviews with a grain of salt and the knowledge that they do not necessarilly reflect the product/book accurately, I will keep doing business with B&N unless I find that they are turning a blind eye to authors behaving badly.

  13. Steve Hedge
    May 29, 2008 @ 12:39:47

    After my experiences with Amazon lately this news about B & N deleting negative reviews does not surprise me much at all. Like Amazon, they are in business to make money and negative reviews do not make money for a product. It is a simple dollar and cents issue for businesses. I don’t want to become complacent and just accept things like this as typical business practice, but I am beginning to feel that it is and that we may be naive to think otherwise. We would like businesses to be honest, invite competition and allow customers the freedom to express discontentment, but the sad reality is is that many businesses will either bend the law if not break it, want to squash any competition, and silence complaints from customers. This is the reality of big (and small) businesses.

    I once thought very highly of Amazon and recall it’s early days. I started writing on Amazon very innocently and with nothing more in my intentions than having some fun, making some friends, maybe get noticed for my writing abilities a bit, and offering my opinion on films, books, and so forth, but then I started seeing things that disturbed me.

    I became very disenchanted by much of what I was seeing. The manipulation and abuses were becoming more and more obvious, the obsession with ranking and the ego trips by an admittedly small but influential group was down right scary, and the tactics used by some to “get back” at others was repulsive. These and a host of other problems have me really thinking twice at times about ever posting a review or comment again.

    There is a big part of me that is now so turned off to the online world in general. I very much enjoy writing reviews and making friends online (I’ve made some awesome ones), but the trade off at times makes it seem not worth it when one becomes a target of a vengeful author, a fanatical fan base, witch hunts, hate sites, endless harassment, and unscrupulous businesses. I have to admit that I was rather naive when I first went online and honestly didn’t expect this kind of conduct from people and businesses. I feel kind of stupid for not seeing this coming at my age of experience.

    Admittedly, it’s hard to boycott conveniences we’ve become somewhat dependent upon. I’ve never been big on boycotts unless they were well organized. I doubt a thousand or so disgruntled former Amazon or B & N customers are going to make a significant difference. Should the mainstream media catch onto this story and promote the problem, then a more organized and meaningful boycott can occur, but until then I am afraid that our closed wallets would not register much with Amazon or B & N at all.

    Forgive my ramblings and negativity here. This is obviously just my opinion and take on the situation (and maybe I’m just having a bad day –LOL).

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