Note to Authors
Simply to address the questions regarding Amazon's Review Policy
and whether or not it impacts our review process (it does not).
October 4, 2016
The short answer to this question is that Amazon's review policy in no way impacts the Books & Benches review process or any reviews we post on this independent website (or anywhere else that isn't Amazon). It also does not impact how authors may use a book review for their own marketing.
Now for the detailed response if you want more . . .
We've recently had a number of authors and reviewers ask about Amazon's "new" policy regarding free books in exchange for reviews and how it will impact Books & Benches. This is not technically a "new" policy, and while this policy may not always seem fair to authors and reviewers, we do understand why Amazon feels it's necessary to keep the review process honest, especially since so many readers rely on honest reviews.
Just to be clear, this policy is also why many professional review sites do not post reviews directly on Amazon. Again, nothing new. This is why the editorial review section should be utilized.
Their policy clearly states (from the page emailed to me from Amazon): "Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review."
Everyone from Big 5 publishers to small presses and mega-authors to newbie self-publishers, all ask for reader reviews in exchange for books. It's a major part of the publishing industry.
When it comes to Books & Benches reviews, like any other site (think NetGalley), book blog, newspaper, etc, it in no way impacts the review process of our independent website. Authors may still submit their books, and while a review is in no way guaranteed, we still review books.
These completed reviews are posted on our website, authors may use them for marketing or in editorial review sections, and some reviewers even post to their personal Goodreads accounts and other retail sites. Amazon's review policy is what it is and all we as authors and reviewers can do is work with them.
A few of our reviewers choose not to use their personal Amazon accounts to post reviews for a variety of reasons. In these cases, reviews may not be posted to Amazon. Books & Benches can no longer post reviews on behalf of reviewers in order to comply with Amazon's updated policies. This is why it is important for authors to utilize the Editorial Review section of Amazon (accessed through Author Central).
Our book reviews are free and always will be. We do not believe in paid book reviews, nor do we believe in reviewers receiving compensation in any form for a book review. We review books because it's fun and we like to help authors. Reviews can also help a reader decide if they want to purchase a book, and if they do make a purchase, this helps authors, publishers . . . and Amazon (but we won't go there).
We cannot control the policies of online retailers, and Amazon's review policy in no way impacts the Books & Benches review process or any reviews we post on our independent website (or anywhere else that isn't Amazon). It also does not impact how authors may use a book review for their own marketing.
For full disclaimers (including FTC compliance), disclosures, and policies regarding book reviews, please visit our site information page.
Authors are 100% responsible for how and where they use snippets of any book review.
The Books & Benches Team
Disclaimer (because everyone likes them so much): These comments are for this website only. For any other website, reviewer, reader, etc. authors and publishers should contact those websites and reviewers for their individual review policies. If authors, reviews, and publishers still have questions about Amazon's review policy, they should contact Amazon directly. This website is in no way affiliated with Amazon.