All new self-published authors are thrilled to get a few great book reviews but are shocked if or when their book reviews are deleted by Amazon.
“Why were my Amazon book reviews deleted?”
The reason why Amazon deletes reviews is not easy to understand from its guidelines, which you can read here in full.
However, there are two main areas that cause the most problems for both positive and negative reviews. They are paid book reviews and reviews from close friends.
Paying for book reviews can cause your reviews to be deleted
Paid reviews are clearly not acceptable to Amazon. It states:
We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind.
However, it is well known that paid reviews are available, and are being posted.
It only takes a few minutes to find a paid book review service on social media or by doing a Google search.
But Amazon is well aware of the practice and takes action quite quickly.
If you are tempted to buy book reviews, you could be taking an expensive risk.
Too many reviews for too few sales
Amazon also looks for a sudden influx of positive reviews that are well in excess of what would normally be expected from the number of Amazon verified purchases for the books.
If you have only sold five copies of your book over a month, and you suddenly receive twenty-five new five star reviews in the space of a week, Amazon will treat this as suspicious.
It will probably consider them as possible paid or fake reviews and may start deleting some of these new reviews.
Very few readers leave reviews on Amazon, and this is why genuine reviews are so hard to get.
On average, you could expect one review for every two to three hundred books sold or for free books.
You can use gift cards to attract reviews, but there are some drawbacks to this method.
When reviews start coming in well above an expected average rate, Amazon will take a look, and then examine the legitimacy of your book reviews.
Reviews from close friends will almost always be deleted
This is where most authors get into trouble and it is very often the reason why your book reviews are deleted.
Firstly, Amazon states that is does not accept reviews from an Amazon customer who is classed as an immediate family member of the author or publisher:
We do not permit reviews of the same ASIN from customers in the same household.
However, the following clause about Amazon products is what causes the most problems for authors:
… family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews …
Close friends can be defined by Amazon as someone you are in contact with on social media.
It is not a pleasant situation, but Amazon can check your online connections very easily.
There is very little privacy on the Internet. So a lot of your data on Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms is available for Amazon to access and scan.
Therefore, it is easy for Amazon to cross-check your friend list, followers, and any other form of social connection that might be connected to a book review.
If you have asked someone on Facebook or Twitter, who is also an Amazon customer to give your book a nice book review, be prepared for the review to be deleted quite quickly.
Amazon’s data reach is enormous and perhaps even bordering on draconian. It might not seem fair and reasonable, but it’s a fact of life on the Internet today.
I know from first-hand experience that some of my readers have even been barred from adding a review to my books because they are in contact with me on social media.
Another connection to lost reviews can be commenters on your blog. I can’t prove this, but again, it is data that is in the public domain so it is very easy for Amazon to access and cross-check.
If you have your blog feed connected to your Author Central page, it would also make it very easy for Amazon to cross-check.
I have heard from a few authors who believe this might be the reason why they lost some reviews.
Amazon checks all reviews
You need to know and understand that Amazon can and does check your online connections in relation to your book reviews, and can classify these as close friends.
Asking other authors is also a way to possibly have a review deleted because any other author publishing on Amazon is classed as a person selling on Amazon.
Because of this, they can be precluded from adding reviews to any associated products.
Honest and genuine organic book reviews are painfully slow to gain, especially if you don’t sell a lot of copies.
But unfortunately, this the reality of the book market today.
Trying to kick this process along by either asking friends, and especially online friends to post reviews, or paying for reviews, will probably end up in your reviews being deleted, and tears shed.
When it happens and you contact Amazon customer service, you will most likely get a copy and paste reply telling you to read the terms and conditions.
Don’t expect to get a reason or explanation as to why your reviews were deleted.
It is frustrating, but with over one million new Kindle ebooks being published every year now, Amazon is not going to spend much time answering every complaint about deleted book reviews.
Learn how to you CAN add reviews to your book
If you have a professional review or reviews you have received from other sources, you can add these to your book on Amazon and they will not be deleted.
You can do this by using your Amazon Author Page to add editorial reviews to both your Kindle version and paperback.
Read our short article on How to fix Amazon Reviews using your Author page and you will be able to publish your reviews to your book’s sales page.
You should also be aware that Amazon now also has a $50 minimum spending limit for posting reviews.