I don't think authors should be banned from writing reviews of other's books. As longer as they are not hiding what they are doing and they sign their name and it is clear that they are a writer then there is nothing wrong with them expressing their opinions. The ban would not stop any authors from discrediting other's books anyways, they could very easily get their friends or families to go and write bad reviews if that is what they are after.
As a buyer, if I want to buy anything, I pay very minimal attention to those reviews. They will not ultimately affect my decision because I suspect that many of the reviews out there, good or bad, can be very easily faked and planted there by the seller.
And yes, I'm the same way. I don't really pay THAT much attention to reviews when I'm deciding what to buy, though I do like the skim them every once in a while just to see what people are saying. My book buying decisions, however, usually always come from friends who suggest books for me to read that like similar genres that I do.
I can understand Amazon's reason for this. If an author posts a negitive review about a competing book, that book may loose potential buyers, thus less money in Amazon's pocket. However, it could be problematic for those who believe their right to free speach, depending on which country you're from, and for those who have published in many different genres. They may want to give a review on a book they like, that perhaps doesn't compete with theirs, but can't because of the policy. So it's pretty much win-win or loose-loose, depending on how you want to look at it.
I think Amazon just needs to have a better system of reviewing reviews so that those which clearly "bash" another book are removed instead of removing the option for authors to review books. Their policy of "close friends" not able to review is also problematic because not every 4-5 star review is a friend just giving a good review to boost potential sales. I think there are much better ways that Amazon can go about this to make it easier for everyone.
When I self-published my crappy novel a few years ago, it was a big thing in my life just to put my work online (hell, it's still in my gallery here, all of it, so clearly getting money and a fanbase is not the reason I wrote the book). I can't see how this policy is going to help any of the self-published authors out. Amazon is a gigantic platform for upcoming authors nowadays, and if I had put my work on Amazon those few years ago, I'm sure I would have at least seen increased traffic and some more interest. However, I thrived on help and advice that was given to me by other self-publishing authors. It's a rough world out there for us, and to me, the last thing I thought would have helped me was slandering "shittier" self-pubbed authors. That's ridiculous. Hearing what I was doing wrong is what spurred me to start writing more.
I think if Amazon has a tactic that weeds out clearly slanderous reviews, and also ones that show favoritism, they could keep the review system in place without it becoming a battleground.
I agree. Instead of banning it so that authors can't review other author's works, they should just have a system that reviews the reviews (and takes out those which are obviously "slandering"). Authors in the genre are those who are experienced (more often than not) IN that genre, and their reviews are usually very important and helpful to a lot of consumers. Not allowing those who are knowledgeable in that area to give their opinions is a really unintelligent move.
And precisely as you said! Authors are out to help one another (granted, there are a few that would probably bash others to try and make themselves look better) because they're all in the same boat. Even IF someone were to write a poor review on a book, it's NOT going to ensure sales to their own. On the same note, one bad review isn't necessarily going to turn potential buyers away either.
Their policy on "close friends" is something, too. Honestly, how are they going to know who is a "close friend" of the author? Not every 4-5 star review is a family member or close friend.
Reviews are often what helps sales in the book industry (though some don't use them when determining what to buy, but many still do) and taking away those who probably would have the best say on what's good literature in the genre is just stupid.
Looks to me as if they're just trying to eliminate a possible conflict of interest, which can cut either way. Perhaps they've had problems either with authors running down the 'competition', or with boosting their friends, or both.
I can see where they're coming from, but I think their method is a tad too harsh. If there are obvious reviews that are out there to clearly "bash" the work (and I mean OBVIOUS), then they should be removed. Most people's concern from what I've been reading, however, is how Amazon is going to determine who "close friends" are. Not every 4-5 star review on a book is a close friend trying to boost the ratings.
I'm sure there are other ways they can go about it, but, I guess we'll see!
1. I don't think authors should be doing a whole lot of reviewing if they plan on posting both positive and negative reviews. Post recommendations! Post about books you like! But I think authors should avoid posting negative reviews or rants about other authors. Why? It's kind of like peeing in your neighbor's cube. You never know who you're going to run into or need/want to work with in the industry.
2. HOWEVER, as an author who posts reviews (recommendations) on her blog and cross-posts to Amazon, I'm bummed that I won't be able to. I can see how it can be problematic, but I also think it's kind of ridiculous. 90% of the time, the reader isn't going to even look at the name of the person posting the review anyway.