The rules of Amazon’s review ecosystem are always changing. We would like to bring you up to date on the current rules and share some guidelines we have found most helpful for how to get book reviews on Amazon.
Here you will find the most frequently asked questions around the Amazon review process and Amazon’s answers. I have gone right to the source and given you the Amazon rules right from the horse’s mouth.
Can anyone post a review on Amazon?
Anyone can submit a review for nearly any product sold on Amazon, even if you haven’t personally purchased that product. You can also submit reviews on Amazon if you bought the product elsewhere. For books, this can greatly help authors when folks who bought their book anywhere else post a review to Amazon, Goodreads, and other retailers. You can also edit and delete your reviews later on should circumstances (or opinions!) change.
Should I discount my book to get more reviews at the beginning of my launch?
Amazon’s technical position is that you’re not allowed to purchase or incentivize reviews. That said, there are a lot of authors who offer some sort of freebie reward once a review is submitted. The strategy of pricing your book at a lower cost right at the launch can indeed engender more reviews. You just have to do the work to strongly encourage all your readers to do so!
May I ask people to write a review of my book?
Absolutely! You should be asking people to write reviews of your book at nearly every opportunity. You can even send free copies in exchange for a review (though you can’t influence the tone or position of the review).
Is it true that people were not allowed to post reviews on products that they had not purchased?
That is true, but Amazon knows that book publishers and authors have supplied review copies of books to reviewers for generations. Amazon does NOT allow reviews for products unless the reviewer has bought the product unless it is a book.
Then why are so many reviews being taken down?
Because a year or so ago, Amazon changed their review policies and put the following in place:
In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, content and activities consisting of advertising, promotion, or solicitation (whether direct or indirect) is not allowed, including:
- Creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products, refunds, or reimbursements) or on behalf of anyone else.
- Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content. (Book publishers are EXEMPT to this rule as stated by Amazon above)
- Reviews may only include URLs or links to other products sold on Amazon.
- Customers in the same household may not post multiple reviews of the same product.
And the BIG NO-NO is posted here:
(No) Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative’s, close friend’s, business associate’s, or employer’s) products or services.
This means that you should not ask anyone you know to post a review. End of story. Yes, in the past, Amazon allowed for colleagues and acquaintances to post reviews. They allowed for clients and those connected with your business to post, but not anymore.
In addition, do not offer any bonuses or anything in exchange for a review. The ONLY thing you are allowed to do is offer a review copy of your book to a reviewer.
So my fans and customers cannot post reviews?
Sorry guys, I know a lot of you have readers who are HUGE fans and stay in touch and follow you online. But if your readers have become close connections online and in life, they may find that their reviews are now suspect. Your fans and clients should feel free to post reviews. But you should not ask them to.
The big line we all need to stay behind is that we should not ask those we know or work with to write a review. Even encouraging Amazon reviews in social media posts can be considered in violation of this policy.
What can I do if a review is taken down unfairly?
Nothing much, I am afraid. If Amazon determines that the review in question violates their policies, they own the site and have the final say.
But that does not mean you should not complain and make a stink! If enough complaints come in, Amazon may change their policies again.
In addition, in the past year Amazon has accidentally taken down all reviews on some books, but they were restored once authors started complaining that their reviews all disappeared.
If a review is taken down by Amazon, keep these posted rules in mind:
- If your review is removed or rejected because it does not comply with our guidelines concerning promotional content, you may not resubmit a review on the same product, even if the resubmitted review includes different content.
- We may restrict the ability to submit a review when we detect unusual reviewing behavior, or to maintain the best possible shopping experience.
Does Amazon go over all the reviews being posted?
Amazon’s Answer: Amazon reserves the right (but not the obligation) to remove or edit such content, but does not regularly review posted content.
So there are the current rules and answers to your questions about Amazon reviews. We will keep in touch with Amazon and let you know if there are further changes to the guidelines and rules.
The big things to keep in mind when planning to get more Amazon reviews:
- Focus on professional book reviewers and bloggers.
- You CAN offer book reviewers review copies of your book.
- Do not solicit Amazon reviews on your social media page or website. Suggest, instead, that they post reviews online wherever they prefer to shop.
- Do not ask anyone you know (even on social media) to post a review. Let the reviews come organically.
- Work on promoting sales and use ads and keyword bids to increase sales and your reviews will grow!