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Tuesday News: Expect more fake reviews; YA books purchased by a...

Nadeem's Bibliophile

“This electronic book reader uses page-turning gestures to generate the power necessary to update an e-paper display. These gestures provide cognitive, mechanical and digital feedback to the person using the device. The device’s Active Reading margin supports the reader by providing applications like a dictionary and word games in a way that doesn’t distract like reading texts on a computer does. By harnessing both human and computing power, Bibliofile provides a rich reading experience for avid readers.”Nadeem Haidary

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

24 Comments

  1. Annemarie
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 08:28:04

    “One research company suggests that the negative reviews on social media sites will drive companies to hire reputation defenders to put pressure on reviews to be removed or engage in other activities to enhance positive reviews over negative ones.”

    This really won’t do anything positive for a book, IMHO. It’ll just make readers who go online more reclusive, relying on a handful of friends and fellow reviewers they trust for book recs.

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  2. Leslie
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 09:32:37

    Julie James must be laughing her ass off! The Twitter thing was what I heard people criticize the most about the book, it not being very realistic. Too funny!
    Art = Life.

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  3. Sandy James
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 09:34:53

    I have to agree with Annemarie. I already dismiss most Amazon reviews because they’re often written by the author’s friends. I tend to trust review blogs and friends’ recommendations. The notion of paying for a good review turns my stomach. Yes, I like good reviews of my books. But to pay for one??? Inexcusable. My work needs to rise…or fall…on its own merits.

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  4. CourtneyLee
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 09:50:49

    Reputation Defender. How very dystopian. Also, I think I threw up in my mouth a little.

    Powering an ereader by swiping is very nifty. Next, they’re going to harness the heat/energy from the hand that is holding the reader!

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  5. Carrie G
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 10:08:56

    I’m not in the 30-44 age range, and I’m not a buyer, or reader, of YA romance. (I buy other YA books, mostly fantasy, for my kids.) While homeschooling my children I’ve read hundreds of YA book aloud to them, usually historical fiction. There are some amazing YA books out there and I have a lot of respect for the genre. However, I don’t choose YA romances to read, or YA paranormal. Maybe it’s because I’m still surrounded by young adults and teens, but I feel like a perv reading about teen romances. I want the characters in my romance books to be adults.

    I can easily skim over them, but I’ll admit it’s disappointing to me that so many romance review sites spend so much time reviewing YA books. But I guess the above statistic explains it.

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  6. DS
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 10:30:21

    @CourtneyLee: There’s a company that tries to sell their services to professionals that used to be called Reputation Defender and is now Reputation.com. They had some bad publicity because they were putting up fake reviews/comments for their clients, sending messages threatening law suits, and trying to manipulate search results. They ran into some internet justice and changed their name a couple of years ago.

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  7. Liz Talley
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 10:59:14

    This whole review business really irks me. But I understand how easy it is for an author to fall into thinking something like that is worthwhile. While there are savvy readers, there are many more who buy whatever seems the most popular. They don’t know about sock puppets or friends splashing five stars around. They see a good rating and click “buy” or “sample” on the kindle. It inspires a sort of sickish, panicky feeling in a writer when she sees a smattering of ratings, say only 6, and half are 2 or 3 stars. Visibility is the name of the game…not quality necessarily. If people can’t “see” your book, they can’t buy your book. The more ratings one gets, the more visibility one has on Amazon. Or at least that’s how I understand it. Something about being listed after 100 reviews or something?

    I struggle with this the most as an author (though I would never pay for ratings) because I have low visibility as a Harlequin writer. Basically, I don’t know what to do to be seen in a deluge of books, so I sigh, say “screw it” and go write the next book. But that thought of being good enough (as seen through rankings) is always on the periphery. It’s almost as if these companies prey on our neurosis. Wait… it’s exactly that.

    Saying I understand the compunction doesn’t mean I think it’s right. In fact, it’s so manipulative it makes me feel like going to wash my hands.

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  8. Marianne McA
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 13:55:02

    “Older women want to read more explicit love stories.”

    Contrariwise, one of the reasons I buy a good deal of YA romance (as an older reader) is that explicit love stories aren’t my cup of tea.

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  9. Janine
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 14:20:38

    @Marianne McA: Yeah, I don’t think explicitness is the appeal of the YA. At least, not to me. I read them for a couple of reasons. They often go to darker places than today’s romances do, but because the protagonists are young, they rarely feel bleak like literary fiction does. Also (I was told this is because all YA is shelved in the same part of the bookstore) genre-bending books are more likely to be found in YA. There is much more SFR in YA, for example, than in romance.

    The YA’s with SF premises are usually more accessible science-wise than SF is. They’re not cluttered with scientific info-dumps. The YA fantasies also have romance in them, and aren’t bloated with world-building details (sometimes this is a weakness, other times it’s a strength). YA horror usually has some humor and relationship focus, and isn’t purely about scaring the daylights out of readers. I’m currently reading a YA about the romantic relationship that develops between two teens with cancer, and there’s a surprising amount of humor there too. So I guess I read YA because in many ways, it’s the best balanced genre (at least to me). The books aren’t only about one thing, but about a mix of things.

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  10. Ridley
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 16:05:41

    it does seem like fake reviews might be the norm in the near future.

    And this is why Goodreads’ author ass kissing confuses me. In the face of all this fake review bullshit, wouldn’t you want to position yourself as the way, the truth and the light in a shady online book marketplace? Why not have a site that says “no author shenanigans here, because we freely swing the banhammer”?

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  11. Darlynne
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 16:07:42

    The less reliable Amazon and other/paid for reviews become, the more I rely on DA and SBTB. We don’t have to agree and often don’t, but I trust the reviewers here. And that’s all I have to say about that. Except for “thank you.”

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  12. Darlynne
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 16:10:31

    @Ridley: Way OT: My sister and I are going to see The Birds at the theater tomorrow night for her birthday. I am reminded of the film whenever I see your avatar and can’t wait to see if the movie on the big screen scares the beejesus out of me as it did once upon a time on TV.

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  13. Anne V
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 16:16:39

    @CourtneyLee: There’s an old Tanith Lee book – Biting the Sun – where payment is made by professing gratitude. I have to say this is a form of currency I would probably find fairly entertaining.

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  14. sarah Mayberry
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 18:33:00

    @Ridley: Because as far as I know, readers don’t give Good Reads a cent for using their site, and authors are the ones bringing revenue to the party by advertising. There is no Good Reads without readers, of course. But the owners of Good Reads ain’t making money from all their investment in the platform etc unless they can sell advertising. And they’re selling it to authors and publishers. Personally, I think making Good Reads a place of credibility and mutual respect benefits *everyone*, but maybe the powers that be are worried that they will lose $ if they start stomping on bad author behaviour. A dumb strategy, if that’s true. But perhaps a better platform will spring up that will get it right next time around…

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  15. Ridley
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 19:16:25

    @sarah Mayberry: See, that brings up another point I’ve made before: why is there no paid “premium” version of the site? Pandora is free, but I cheerfully pay my $40 a year to be ad-free. If Goodreads had an ad-free version with extra bells and whistles, I’d pay for that, too. I bet lots of people would.

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  16. Janet W
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 20:02:12

    I’ve just started listening to Pandora so I’m not sure what I’ll decide. It’s not ads that bother me on goodreads … it’s when authors swoop in to explain and/or defend against a person’s less than stellar review of their precious book. Honestly, it hasn’t happened to me yet but I would complain if it did. Surely a reviewer can have one refuge where an author … or perhaps avid fans … don’t feel the need to show how “misled” the reviewer is in their interpretation of a book.

    As for low ratings at Amazon, I’ve been tracking a couple books that are getting ghastly ratings … averaging 2 and 3 … and the sales are through the roof. Who knows.

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  17. Jia
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 20:15:12

    @Janet W: Personally, I’m of the opinion that there tends to be sharp divide between readers who participate in the reading “community” on the internet (so on sites like Goodreads) versus readers who just buy books and read. Hence, why there’s a lot of Amish romance that does well in terms of sales but you rarely see reviewed on any of the blogs, for example. (Or at least I don’t see it. Maybe there are blogs devoted to the subgenre tucked away in an internet corner somewhere.)

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  18. sarah Mayberry
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 20:29:38

    @Jia: I so agree with this, Jia. I actually think there is a huge book buying and reading population out there who do not use the internet for anything other than buying books. I’d love to know what the break down is – online active vs online inactive. I think a lot of people simply want to read a book, at the end of the day.

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  19. joanne
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 22:18:48

    @Jia: I did an incredibly unscientific and impromptu poll one day in the romance section of my local B&N store. I asked how many of the eight of us (crowded into two rows of books which is why I won’t go back there) used the Internet for book recommendations. One woman half-raised her hand and said that occasionally she checked B&N online so she wasn’t sure that counted. The rest had interesting and often fascinating ways of picking their purchases but none used the Internet.

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  20. Ann Somerville
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 22:37:41

    @sarah Mayberry:

    “authors are the ones bringing revenue to the party by advertising.”

    So let them continue to advertise – just don’t let them have user accounts. Trolling problem ended.

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  21. MrsJoseph
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 12:51:23

    @joanne: I just started using the internet for reviews and recs about a year or so ago. Before that, I’d done little to no social networking.

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  22. B. Sullivan
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 16:14:05

    “However, I don’t choose YA romances to read, or YA paranormal. Maybe it’s because I’m still surrounded by young adults and teens, but I feel like a perv reading about teen romances. I want the characters in my romance books to be adults.”

    Totally with you on that, Carrie G. I spent all my teen years reading novels about adults – and it never really bothered me, nor did it really occur to me to wish for books with people my age in them. (There were actually a lot of YA books then too, if you knew where to look. Just marketed differently.) I just wanted to read interesting books. While I’ve read a handful of current YA books, I am waiting for some of these authors to hopefully try their hands at non-YA work.

    Then again, the vampire thing is with us still, and probably to stay. So perhaps the large YA output will continue too.

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  23. cleo
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 16:52:47

    @Carrie G:

    Maybe it’s because I’m still surrounded by young adults and teens, but I feel like a perv reading about teen romances. I want the characters in my romance books to be adults.

    I don’t really feel like a perv, but I do prefer reading about adults in my romance. I work with college students, so for me, reading YA and especially mature YA, isn’t much of an escape from my reality, especially if they’re believable young people (with those lovely impulse control issues and mercurial emotions).

    Every once in awhile I do read a YA and enjoy it. There is something about reading about someone fall in love for the first time that’s incredibly sweet. If I can turn off the “adult voice” in my head long enough to enjoy it.

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  24. Carrie G
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 12:11:06

    Cleo and B Sullivan~
    Thanks for the responses. Perhaps “perv” is too strong a word. I don’t mind sweet teen romances, although they don’t really interest me much. And I enjoy well written YA fantasy and science fiction. I just have no interest in reading about teen sex. I have 5 children 15-27 and I tutor teenagers. When i come across descriptions of 16 or 17 yr old teens in books I can’t help but think, “Oh, that’s so-and-so’s age.” Then I picture my students or my children’s friends. I’m not a prude nor am I naive, but I just don’t need to picture teenagers in my head having sex. Like I said, I want the characters in my romances to be adults. That’s just me.

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