The stories over the weekend about the paid book review service has sparked a lively debate around the web on whether any reviews can be trusted. With the revelation that successful indie authors like John Locke had sunk to the level of buying reviews, many are wondering what can be trusted anymore.One Reddit user studied the patterns of reviews on Amazon and put together the following chart. He's identified several warning signs in the reviews including how to tell that the bulk of the reviews are paid as well as when the only positive reviews were probably posted by friends and family of the author.
The chart is below, but I wouldn't read too much into it. A number of legitimately popular books like the 50 Shades series have a spike of 5 star reviews with a tapering of 1 to 4 star reviews (though the first title in the trilogy does have a spike in 1 star reviews). In any case the chart is good for a chuckle.
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."