Yale's business school released an overview of a study that concludes customer reviews "do have an impact on what consumers buy" at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. Observing randomly selected titles, they found "the addition of favorable reviews at one site increases book sales at that site relative to the other retailer. It also finds that negative 1-star reviews carry more weight with consumers than do positive 5-star reviews. The impact of a negative review is more powerful in decreasing book sales than a positive review is in increasing sales." Bear in mind, though, that the researchers were not using actual sales data; they were just working from posted sales rank data. (Publishers Marketplace-emphasis mine)
Nonetheless I find it fascinating that buyers have cottoned on to the "five star friend" phenom. Miss Snark is as guilty as the next agent of both writing reviews (hey I DO like this book...I didn't exactly buy it though) and soliciting friends, relatives and passersby on the street to do the same. Time for a new strategy I guess....finding books from your cross town rivals and writing 1 star scathing reviews.
So, does this match your buying patterns? Do lots of five star reviews make you think it's hype? Do one star reviews make you click to another book? Fess up Snarklings, the boys at Yale are watching!
From Publishers Marketplace