Policy Change On Amazon Book Reviews With New $50 Minimum

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Amazon Combats Fake Reviews With $50 Minimum Spend

Amazon book reviews over the years have attracted more scams than you can possibly imagine. Most revolve around click farms and amassing lots of Amazon accounts.

By creating hundreds, if not thousands of Amazon accounts, scammers could boost free Kindle ebook downloads, add customer reviews, or manipulate book sales ranking.

There have been many, many articles written about problems associated with Amazon customer reviews concerning ebook reviews in particular.

There has also been manipulation of Kindle ebooks, as Let’s Get Digital explains how Scammers Broke the Kindle Store. On top of these scammed and fake reviews, Amazon has always taken a dim view of paid book reviews which are still a problem.



Bring out the Amazon heavy hammer

I have to say that Amazon has tried to resolve problems with book reviews in several ways over the years.

It is especially since the advent of Kindle ebooks and Kindle Unlimited in particular.

Some measures seemed draconian at the time; especially a few years ago when Amazon started deleting masses of existing book reviews.

It was never fully explained, however, the deleted reviews were often classed as being posted by someone with a close connection to the author.

While Amazon was less than clear about what a close connection or relationship meant, many authors believed that it was not only reviews posted by family and friends, or in some case business associates, but also reviews posted by social media connections.

In any event, what was correctly assumed or not, Amazon deleted a lot of reviews at the time.

While successfully eradicating many fake reviews, many honest reviews were removed as well.

It is unfortunate that when Amazon has acted on scams and fake reviews in the past, a lot of innocent authors were caught up in the fix and they were at a loss to understand what they might have done wrong.


But at last, Amazon takes a sensible solution to fake book reviews.

Unless you are an avid reader of Amazon’s terms and conditions and community guidelines, it is impossible to know what changes Amazon makes.

Amazon never dates the changes that it makes, so it is next to impossible to know when a change was made.

However, one change is really worth knowing about.

As it is an update, I can’t precisely say when it changed, but by my reckoning, it must have been in the last few weeks or couple of months.

The important change is this one sentence:


To contribute to Customer Reviews or Customer Answers, Spark, or to follow other contributors, you must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card.

You can view the full page here.

For those reviewers who do not meet the new $50 threshold, they will receive a message similar to this when trying to post a review.

Sorry, you do not yet meet the minimum eligibility requirements to write a review on Amazon. For more information, please reference our Community Guidelines.

It is a very positive change regarding book reviews because it will significantly reduce the ability of click farms.

By adding a $50 minimum spend to Amazon book reviews, the 1,000s of Amazon accounts that have been used to manipulate reviews and free ebook downloads will now be unable to contribute customer reviews.


What can authors do about free ebook promotions and book reviews now?

The new $50 condition should mean that any Amazon book reviews posted from now on will be from real Amazon customers.

It is a very positive move.

However, authors should still be aware that asking for reviews can lead to problems.

Here is what Amazon stipulates:

You may provide free or discounted copies of your books to readers. However, you may not demand a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.

Offering anything other than a free or discounted copy of the book—including gift cards—will invalidate a review, and we’ll have to remove it.

Read the full text here.

In other words, you can, and should continue to use free Kindle ebook promotions if you are eligible under KDP Select.

However, be careful about how you promote your free ebook offer on social media to avoid seeming like you are offering inducements to review your book.



All authors want book reviews. It is a fact.

However, the most worthwhile reviews are gained organically, which means it is up to readers to decide when and if they will post a book review.

Many readers do not choose to do this, so it can be slow going to attract a good number of reviews for a new book.

Amazon has made it clear over the years, and now with its change to add a $50 minimum spend, that it is serious about trying to maintain at least some degree of integrity in Amazon book reviews.

Its aim is clear. Amazon wants customer reviews that are posted by customers, and not by click farms, or gained by inducement or illegitimate means.

Trying to garner the review system now can only lead to problems.

The best way for authors to get book reviews is the old-fashioned way.

Sell more copies of your books, and the book reviews will come.


Update: Amazon UK has applied the same measure for customer reviews. However, at a higher entry of £40.00, which is about US$56.00.

Details can be found here on Amazon UK under the heading, Who can write a review? 

On the same page link above, there is also mention of non-verified reviews.

It states that customers can submit five non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews each week.

This would seem to confirm that readers can add book reviews to a book without buying or receiving it for free.

Logically, however, their account must have spent £40.00 to be able to do so.

While unconfirmed, I have had messages from a few UK authors saying that some or all of their earlier book reviews have been deleted. This is not good news.

Please add your comment if you have been affected recently by deleted reviews on Amazon.



Derek Haines

Webmaster and Writer at Just Publishing Advice
A Cambridge qualified CELTA English teacher and author of 18 books with a life long passion for publishing in all forms.
I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
Derek Haines

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Derek Haines

A Cambridge qualified CELTA English teacher and author of 18 books with a life long passion for publishing in all forms. I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business. Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.

53 thoughts on “Policy Change On Amazon Book Reviews With New $50 Minimum

  • January 6, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    I understand that they are trying to prevent fake reviews, but having to spend $50 bucks just to post a review for a book you purchased for .99 cents is ridiculous. If a reader bought a book, and it’s verified, they should be able to post a review. If they can find out how people were scamming, then they can verify that a book was a verified purchase. All ‘verified purchases’ should be able to post a review. Amazon is really getting greedy and it seems as if ‘they’ are the only one making any money out of it. They are pretty much, forcing people, to spend money, (and not a cheap amount), just to post a review. RIDICULOUS! BEYOND RIDICULOUS! I purchased a book, want to leave a review, and can’t do the author justice by giving her an honest review to reveal my satisfaction with it. It was a good book and others should read it. This is hurting authors in a major way.

  • October 20, 2019 at 4:36 am

    I believe they’re using fake and verified and unverified psychology to get people to spend and get richer. By making a person feels guilty they will be able to squeeze every penny out of them if the buyers are stupid enough. The art of making billions is by keeing them at the bottom scrambling over one-another trying to climb to the top. Those billionaires who owns amazon must be grinning their teeth at all those poor authors and suckers.

  • September 10, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    I consider this incredibly unfair. On the bright side, as I understand the policy, this is going to affect ALL writers who use Amazon. When people like Margaret Atwood and Stephen King can’t get reviews because readers haven’t spent the requisite $50, the publishing industry is going to react – and not in Amazon’s favor. What happens if you paid for a Kirkus Indie review? Is Amazon going to tell Kirkus to go to hell? Tell me that’s not going to get interesting. I predict this nonsense will be temporary, though we’re all losing money the while. In the meantime, however, we’re screwed, big time.

    Honestly, if Amazon really wants to win in this game, they need to find ways to partner with authors rather than viewing them as the enemy. They are, after all, making a tidy bundle off of us. A dozen free promos that generate reviews can be enough to raise awareness that generate future sales. It’s a little more problematic with the click farms and paid reviews, but in a highly competitive market, some of this is the cost of doing business, not a freaking moral dilemma.

  • August 11, 2019 at 6:31 am

    Hi, Can the $50.00 minimum requirement be spent on anything from Amazon if I want to write a book review? Or does the $50 minimum have to be spent on buying books for a book review? Thank you.

  • June 6, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks for the article. Related question, please: Does a gifted ebook show up in reviews as a gift purchase or a verified purchase, or both?
    I’m about to launch my ebook for 99c as an intro price. I’d like to send gift emails to people (no prizes, gift cards or pressure to review.).
    1. If they do end up posting, will it show up as a gift or verified purchase?

  • March 3, 2019 at 10:08 am

    This has been Amazon policy since at least 2016 and was in place when I opened my account then. Great that you’re informing people about it, but in online terms, it’s ancient news. So anyone who has been able to post reviews during the past two or two-and-a-half years is highly likely to meet the criterion anyway and has no reason to be devastated by this.

    • June 21, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      My question about this is, having a Kindle Unlimited account counts as spending on Amazon products? Technically is a service but you read books through it so I’m scratching my head about it.

  • November 21, 2018 at 2:17 am

    I became aware of this ridiculous system when one of my readers purchased two of my books on Amazon, but the total of both books did not equal $50, so she could not leave reviews. REALLY?
    This review system lacks all integrity since authors can buy reviews. It’s disappointing at best.


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