Anyone with an internet connection is familiar with Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com, the world’s two largest internet book sellers. Most of those people have also used one of the sites to purchase in the past, and many of them may have been led to their decision by book reviews posted by other readers who bought the book online and wanted to share their thoughts/rating. The only issue is…these may not actually be reviews from other consumers.
Stephen Leather, a popular author of British thrillers, recently admitted that he used multiple fake online identities to promote his works. And John Locke, the American bestselling author, has admitted that he’s paid for positive book reviews to be posted online. Yet another British author, R.J. Ellory, has also come clean about using fake online identities to pump up his reviews, even taking it as far as to write negative reviews of his competitors’ work. These are just three cases of abuse, but few publishing insiders think these authors are alone.
Is this misleading? Should authors be able to review their own work or pay for good reviews?