Why Does Amazon Remove Book Reviews?

When you publish your book on Amazon, one of the best ways to help boost your sales is to build up a good bank of positive reviews.

However, lots of authors are finding that Amazon is removing their reviews, and this can feel incredibly frustrating, especially when you are trying to boost the reputation of your book, and build trust, so more readers are likely to purchase it.

So why would Amazon remove book reviews? Let’s go through the reasons so that you know what to avoid to ensure that all yours stay put!

Amazon’s reviewer policies

Amazon tends to change its policies every so often, as it is always trying to make sure that it offers a fair platform for authors to sell their book. This means, however, that their guidelines and algorithms that are put in place to help minimize inauthentic reviews can suddenly change, resulting in a whole lot of your book reviews suddenly disappearing. 

Here are the most important rules that are currently in place:

You cannot offer something in exchange for a review. Boiled down this means – don’t bribe people to leave you positive reviews. If Amazon discovers this is what you have done, they will remove the review and could possibly impose even harsher sanctions. The exception to the rule is you are allowed to provide free or discounted copies to readers as long as authors do not state that they “require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.”

You cannot review your own book or get family or close friends to review it.

This is one of the most disheartening rules for new authors who are trying to build up a positive reputation. Unfortunately, no matter how much your mum loved your latest book, she can’t say so on Amazon. The technology Amazon users to decide whether a book review is legitimate or just from a mate is intelligent. They examine IP addresses and can also look at social media connections to determine whether a review is from someone you already know. 

People in the same household cannot leave multiple reviews for your book. So if a stranger buys it, recommends it to their flatmate who also buys it, and they both try to leave a review, one of them, or possibly both could end up being removed. 

Reviews must be respectful

If Amazon deems a review to be offensive, they could well delete it. You can look at their guidelines if you need more clarity on what kinds of things are permitted and what’s not. 

The review cannot contain promotional material

If someone leaves a review and tries to market their own product simultaneously, the review will be taken down. 

The reviewer must be a current Amazon customer

While you can still leave a review for a product that you haven’t purchased through Amazon directly, you do need to be an active and recent Amazon customer to be eligible to leave reviews on their platform. The deal is you must have spent a minimum of $50 on Amazon.com in the past year.

While it can be disheartening to have reviews removed, it is worth understanding how Amazon works and appreciate that they are trying to keep a level playing field for writers. Receiving authentic, genuine book reviews can be a tough part of the marketing process, but it does mean that you can feel even more proud of what you have accomplished when you do. 

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