Frugal readers! Are you looking for a classy graduation gift that won’t break the bank? Great news! At the time of writing, The Possessed has become an Amazon bargain book and will set you back scarcely the price of a Venti Mocha Coconut Frappuccino!
In other Amazon news, it was recently been brought to my attention that the Possessed reader rating has dropped to 3-point-something stars. Looking over the stats, I saw that, although 5-star ratings has a large plurality (thank you, friends!), there are also quite a few 1-stars, which can’t all be from Orlando Figes.
I found myself wondering why the Amazon reader reviews were, on average, less positive than the reviews in the press. My guess is that satisfied readers of a well-reviewed book are less likely than unsatisfied readers to post on Amazon. One group thinks to itself, “Why should I write a good review when the Times already did,” while the other thinks, “Aha, a venue to express my outrage at the Times for hyping this book.” I found support for this hypothesis in the fact that many particularly well-reviewed books tended to have relatively low reader ratings. So… it’s the old dialectic of hype vs. backlash.
I remember when “hype” used to be a pre-publication phenomenon. Hype was inherently unreliable, because it came out before anyone had actually read the book. Today, pretty much any good review counts as “hype,” which has thus become a codeword for any positive opinion that you don’t share – a way of disguising a difference of opinion as a conspiracy theory.