Authors, publishers and agents live and die inside — mostly die — by monitoring their product’s position on the Amazon charts, which are adjusted hourly. Thomas, an author who penned the Kindle book Wealth Hazards, says literary types should take a step back because the system is easily corrupted. He says he’s manipulated the system by buying his book 200 times and posting fake reviews hailing his self-described masterpiece.
Now he’s peddling a new e-book, The Day the Kindle Died, in which he describes how he pulled off his ruse. He writes:
I’ve purchased my own book, Wealth Hazards, close to 200 times now. I wrote 42 customer reviews and voted on them 108 times. Not once was a review or vote rejected by Amazon. It took about 45 days to move the book up to #1, but after it got there I didn’t feel it was appropriate to promote it – so I have not profited from it. I continue to buy 2 or 3 copies a day, write reviews and vote on the reviews and wait for Amazon to notice.
They haven’t. They pay me royalties every month and recommend the book to people who buy similar personal finance titles. My new book The Day the Kindle Died is even more obvious – but Amazon hasn’t noticed. They even recommend it to customers who purchase Amazon’s own Kindle publishing manual. Amazon clearly has a problem with ranking books, creating the bestseller lists and making suitable recommendations to customers, but they don’t appear to be in a hurry to correct this.
What purpose do Amazon’s reviews and rankings serve for you when you’re shopping for books?