Amazon Refines Customer Review Process With New Ratings Options

amazon reviews It’s always been easy to post a review on Amazon; simply jot down a few sentences, select a star rating, and you’re done. It’s so easy to post a review, in fact, that it’s also easy to miss important details.

That doesn’t help readers, and it doesn’t help Amazon, which is why Amazon has added more options. In addition to the star rating, Amazon has added extra dropdown menus which invite reviewers to describe the quality of the writing, the amount of sex and violence in the book, and other details.

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The new review system was first noticed by Self Publishing Review, which notes that:

At the bottom of the page it says: “Write your reviews using the traditional review authoring page” so this is a beta system. Time will tell if this will be helpful and/or abused. It could potentially lead to a more reviews, as it caters to people who might have trouble articulating themselves. Perhaps it will lessen the number of reviews saying “Loved it” or “Hated it” as the total review. Or, worse, those people who write reviews like, “This arrived to me undamaged.”

The new description options are optional if you want to simply leave a star rating or a text review, but I don’t think Amazon has worked out all the bugs.

I tried to leave a review, and after I rated the writing quality and then decided not to rate, I was stuck with no option but to use that rating (or start over). I couldn’t finish the review without selecting an option from each of the dropdown menus.

Luckily I was able to get around that issue by resetting the page and simply starting over.

All in all, this is a good move on the part of Amazon.  I’m sure I’m not the only reader who has put down a book in frustration with the writing style, tone, or amount of extraneous sex or violence. By offering specific prompts for these areas of concern, Amazon is helping readers make more informed decisions.

That said, I would hope that Amazon’s next move will be to make it easier to start a review. Currently you have to navigate to a book’s listing, then open the “all reviews” page, and finally click a button so you can write a review.

It would be nice if I didn’t have to dig so deep; perhaps Amazon could include a link in the sales email, or perhaps a button on the book’s listing page.

Edit: Scott Lewis pointed out in the comments that there is a link on the book’s listing page; it’s just way the heck down at the bottom of the page (that’s why I had never seen it).


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Will Entrekin23 March, 2015

    Wow. This could be really, really cool.

    I wonder if part of that digging is that Amazon wants to encourage people to review from within the book; every time I’ve finished a book that wasn’t a personal document lately, the app has asked me if I’d like to review it. And I think I did a couple of times.

    1. Nate Hoffelder23 March, 2015

      Some of us also buy paper books 😉 .

      1. Will Entrekin23 March, 2015

        They’re printing ebooks now? Whatever will they think of next?


        1. Nate Hoffelder23 March, 2015

          I’ve heard rumors that someone is thinking about turning ebooks into movies!

          1. puzzled23 March, 2015

            Gee, I wish there was a place that me and my friends could go to watch these ebook inspired movies, with very large screens, food & drink and other stuff to do afterwards (or before)…

            1. Nate Hoffelder24 March, 2015

              That sounds like a great new idea for a business! I’m meeting with a couple VCs tomorrow, and I’ll see how much they might want to invest.

  2. Scott G. Lewis23 March, 2015

    Are you specifically referring to the new beta review page, or that in general you wish it were easier to submit reviews?

    For me, there are two easy ways to get to a review:

    1) On the product information page itself, under the few reviews it shows, right below the link to “See all XXX customer reviews” there’s a button “write a customer review”.

    2) On the “Your Order” summary in your account, each order has a “Write a product review” button.

    1. Nate Hoffelder23 March, 2015

      I don’t see that first one. Strange.

      Edit: No, it’s there; I just never scrolled far enough. Thanks!

  3. Cassie23 March, 2015

    I just go to my account and there’s a link to review my purchases. I don’t have to navigate to the actual book page unless it’s something I bought elsewhere or was given to me by the author for free.
    This is a great idea. I hate seeing people leave reviews about the delivery, whether or not the book arrived in pristine condition, or ordering experience rather than saying something about the contents of the book.

  4. […] Amazon has refined its system for customer reviews, as Jennifer Becton describes in her latest post: […]

  5. Doug23 March, 2015

    B&N once had “detailed ratings” with 16 different categories in their user reviews. Not that it helped their user reviews be any more useful. As far as I know, they don’t do that any more. I don’t think they even show the detailed ratings that were entered back when.

  6. Garrison L.23 March, 2015

    This seems like a helpful service. I always found Amazon to be somewhat poor as a book discovery service (in terms of random browsing to find something that appeals), so if they could leverage this into better discovery, I think it would be a win all-around. Not sure if that’s their endgame with this though.

  7. R23 March, 2015

    Should add “any religious content” there. Not everyone wants to read books that constantly talks about “God’s love” or it is “God’s will” that happens. I try to avoid books that contains “God” but it often fails.

    1. Scott G. Lewis23 March, 2015

      Or basket weaving. I read a lot of religious books, but I try to avoid books about baskets. Or weaving. Or worse: basket weaving.

      I mean, since we are singling out book categories here and all.

    2. Moriah Jovan23 March, 2015

      Also, dogs. I hate dogs. Especially dogs that get their own POV as if it’s cute. It’s not. I don’t want to read that.

      1. Nate Hoffelder23 March, 2015

        Damned chihuahuas …

        1. Moriah Jovan23 March, 2015

          Yippy-yappy dogs. The worst.

    3. hhd24 March, 2015

      I agree about the religious content; nothing wrong with sex though. Whether god exists or not makes no difference … I just don’t want to read about it.

      1. Jeremiah Zeiset24 March, 2015

        …without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6)

        1. Nate Hoffelder24 March, 2015

          Can we all just agree to disagree, please?

  8. Michele R24 March, 2015

    Hopefully it will stop the negative reviews that are about other reviews. This skews the rating for the actual item/author which is not only unfortunate, but should not be allowed.

  9. Holding out on EPUB3 Gets Harder as UX Gets Better | Digital Book World25 March, 2015

    […] Amazon Adds Book Review Tools (Ink, Bits & Pixels) Amazon fleshes out the range of options at readers’ disposal for how they share feedback with other potential readers, including information on book’s predominant mood and how much violence it contains. Related: In Ebook Discovery, Who Gives the Best Recommendations? […]

  10. […] einem und fünf Sternen vergeben werden, wird es meistens nicht. Deshalb will Amazon jetzt das System verfeinern und zukünftig Standard-Felder ausfüllen lassen. Dadurch bekommt die verehrte Kundschaft etwas […]

  11. […] “Amazon Refines Customer Review Process With New Ratings Options” by Nate Hoffelder at Ink, Bits & Pixels – March 23, 2015. […]

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  13. Valerie Shaw26 July, 2016

    Not sure if I am in the right place but need a little help, I like to read customer book reviews and if I clicked on a reviewers name it brought up all the books they had reviewed but I can’t seem to do this now, when I click on a name nothing happens

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