A few weeks ago, I posted a review of a book for the Amazon Vine programme. It was critical, because I didn't like the book, and thought the writing was poor. But I was polite, and did say I hoped that others might enjoy it. 36 out of 45 people voted my review as "helpful".
Yesterday, someone posted a rather unpleasant riposte, saying that they had enjoyed the book, my review was unfair, and that "reviews were there to help authors". The comment was blunt to the point of rudeness, and inaccurate (reviews are written to help readers, not writers). But I posted a polite reply, pointing out that as a Vine reviewer, I was bound to say what I thought, but that I was glad that particular reader had enjoyed the book, and mine was only one person's opinion.
Today, my review has suddenly disappeared, having been on Amazon for some weeks. This poses two questions:
1. How much say do authors (or their supporters) have in the removal of adverse reviews of their books? And (provided the reviews are not offensive), should they have any say at all?
2. Are Amazon reviews worth as much as they are thought to be worth, given that they are open to abuse? At least one large, well-known publishing house has, to my certain knowledge, employed one of its editors to write good reviews of its books, under a pseudnoym.
I take time and trouble to write what I hope are fair reviews, based on my opinion of the books I read. I try to respect their authors, knowing only too well how hard it is to write a novel at all, but it would be almost impossible to feel positive about all the books I am sent.
Am I wasting my time?