Amazon Book Review Policy Demystified for Authors (2022)

Updated: September, 2021

Book reviews are important for all books, but they're especially so for self-published books, because most of their sales are online. And when it comes to selling books online, Amazon customer reviews can make or break shopper interest in a book.

Let's begin by defining the difference between customer reviews and editorial reviews, and by debunking myths.

  • Customer Reviews: Written by a reader—ideally by someone who bought the book—who also assigns a number of stars (1-5). Most authors are referring to customer reviews when they reference “Amazon reviews.”
  • Editorial Reviews: An editorial review is a formal evaluation of a book, usually written by a professional reviewer or expert within a genre. These are also often called blurbs, endorsements, and testimonials.

Editorial reviews are added by the author via Author Central. See our guide: Create and Manage the Perfect Amazon US and UK Author Central Page.

Myth 1: You cannot pay someone to write a review.

False. Amazon permits payment for editorial reviews.

Myth 2: You cannot give people your book and ask them to review it.

False. You can, as long as you are clear that you welcome all feedback, both positive and negative.

Before Amazon became the dominant book retailer—in fact, before the internet—publishers would haul cartons of advance reading copies of their forthcoming books to book-industry tradeshows. These would sit in piles, free for the taking, with no requirements that someone write a review, much less provide their contact information to receive a copy.

(Video) Amazon Book Review Rules (Explained!)

The $50 spending requirement

Sometime in 2017 (they do not date their policy changes), Amazon inserted a new requirement into their Community Guidelines under the heading Eligibility:

To contribute to Customer features (for example, Customer Reviews, Customer Answers, Idea Lists) or to follow other contributors, you must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card in the past 12 months. Promotional discounts don't qualify towards the $50 minimum.

Some have complained that this is overreach and another way for Amazon to force people to buy from them. We don't see it this way. In fact, we consider it a positive.

Many shoppers rely on customer reviews to guide our consideration of a product. How can we make an informed choice if those reviews are polluted by paid reviewers who never bought the product? And that's what was going on. Anyone could write a review; in fact, reviews were being posted by fake accounts.

Here’s a look at what’s permitted, what can get reviews removed, and how reviewers should disclose their relationship to the author.

What’s permitted

  1. Amazon says this: “You may provide free or discounted copies of your books to readers. However, you may not demand a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review. Offering anything other than a free or discounted copy of the book—including gift cards—will invalidate a review, and we'll have to remove it.”
  2. Reviewers can remove or edit a review after it is posted.
  3. Amazon says that just because a review is written by a friend or a social media connection doesn’t necessarily result in that review being taken down.
  4. A reviewer can link to another product—such as their own—if it is relevant and available on Amazon.

Friends & family

A common question we hear is whether friends and family can review a book. Amazon says this:

We don't allow individuals who share a household with the author or close friends to write Customer Reviews for that author’s book.

(Video) Amazon Book Review Guidelines (& Why Amazon Deletes Book Reviews!)

It used to be that Amazon encouraged authors to have their friends use the customer discussions feature to promote their book. That feature has been discontinued, and readers are being referred to Goodreads Groups(requires login).

TIP: One way Amazon can monitor who your close friends are is by comparing the reviewer's contact information with the contact information in your account's address book. For example, if you've used Amazon for Christmas shopping, you probably don't want to bother asking any of those people to write a review.

When reviews are removed, or Amazon never posts it

  • Never invite (or allow) a family member or someone you have a close personal relationship with to review your book.
  • If a reader says they wrote a review, but the review was taken down or they say it was never posted, tell them to send an email to community-help@amazon.com.

When you want to get a review taken down or modified

If you feel a review violates guidelines, you can click the “Report abuse” link or email community-help@amazon.com.

Examples of guideline abuse may include use of obscenities, a privacy violation, impersonating others, and the usual libelous, defamatory, harassing, threatening, or inflammatory statements.

NOTE: If someone makes a negative comment about your book, and you fix what they are referring to, neither they nor Amazon are required to change the review to reflect your correction. You may, however, consider replying to the comment with a thanks to the commenter and a note that the issue has been fixed.

How to disclose your relationship

If you give your book away for the purpose of getting a review, you must instruct your prospective reviewer to disclose how they received your book.

There are many ways for the reviewer to do this; it just must be conspicuous. They can put it at the end of the review (most common), the beginning, or in the subject line.

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Here are some sample phrases you can suggest if asking others to write a review for your book.

  1. In the subject line: I received an ARC for an objective review.
  2. I received a copy of this book via [name of source, i.e., NetGalley, Edelweiss, the publisher, author] and I’m reviewing it voluntarily.
  3. I wrote this review based on an advance reading copy that the publisher sent me.
  4. This review was based on a complimentary pre-release copy.

Knowing that someone reading an “author-encouraged review” might discount its value, some people will add an additional comment (if true), such as one of these:

  • I've since bought two more copies; one Kindle for myself and a paperback for [my mom/dad/friend]
  • That said, I liked it so much that I bought . . .

Amazon resources for more details or help

NOTE: You might need to be logged in or have an account to see some of these pages.

  1. Community guidelines. There are several pages with this title, but with different URLs. From what we see, it’s the same content: find the guidelines here.
  2. KDP has a good resource in their help section. Login to KDP, in the top menu click Help. On the left, click Promote Your Book, then click Customer Reviews. There you will find several FAQs and answers.
  3. Amazon has guides devoted to Promotional Content and its relationship to reviews; find them here.
  4. Most of us sell books on Amazon using one of their book-specific selling tools: KDP, Advantage, or a third-party such as an IngramSpark. You can also sell books via Amazon Seller Central’s Marketplace, which has its own policies. Turns out, these policies are the same for books. Look at this link for information.
  5. Email Amazon to report problems or issues with reviews: community-help@amazon.com.

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FAQs

Can an author remove an Amazon review? ›

Reviewers can remove or edit a review after it is posted. Amazon says that just because a review is written by a friend or a social media connection doesn't necessarily result in that review being taken down. A reviewer can link to another product—such as their own—if it is relevant and available on Amazon.

What are the eligibility requirements to write a review on Amazon? ›

To do any of the following, you need to have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com, using a valid credit or debit card, in the past 12 months: Create reviews (including star ratings)

Why does Amazon remove book reviews? ›

Amazon Reviews Terms of Service and Datamining

Reviews by family and friends, paid reviews, author review swaps—in short, reviews that are biased or posted in exchange for compensation of any kind—are a violation that can lead to reviews and even the entire accounts being removed.

Does Amazon allow Pubby reviews? ›

Due to a recent change in Amazon's policies, anyone leaving a review must have spent at least $50 on the Amazon account they use to leave reviews. All readers and authors on pubby must be able to leave reviews on Amazon, so they must meet this requirement.

What percentage does Amazon take from authors? ›

KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty rate on paperbacks sold on Amazon marketplaces where KDP supports paperback distribution. Your royalty is 60% of your list price. We then subtract printing costs, which depend on page count, ink type, and the Amazon marketplace your paperback was ordered from.

How do I delete a bad book review on Amazon? ›

There are two ways of removing negative feedback on Amazon: contacting Amazon to remove it or contacting the buyer.
  1. Contacting Amazon to Remove Feedback. Visit Seller Central and open a new support case. ...
  2. Contacting a Customer to Remove Feedback. Buyers themselves can also remove negative feedback retrospectively.
18 May 2021

What are the qualifications of reviewer? ›

There are no specific qualifications needed to be a reviewer, but most reviewers will have a PhD. You certainly need to be able to prove you know the field of study well enough to be able to assess the novelty, quality, impact and importance of the research.

What is not allowed on Amazon reviews? ›

We have a zero tolerance policy for any review designed to mislead or manipulate customers. We don't allow anyone to write reviews as a form of promotion. The following are types of reviews that we don't allow and will remove: A review by someone who has a direct or indirect financial interest in the product.

How much do you have to spend on Amazon to write a review? ›

Submission of Customer Reviews

Only customers who have spent at least $50 on Amazon in the previous 12 months are able to leave a Customer Review. Further details can be found in our Community Guidelines and Customer Reviews Help Pages.

Can authors review each others books on Amazon? ›

“Are authors allowed to review other authors' books? Yes. Authors are welcome to submit Customer Reviews, unless the reviewing author has a personal relationship with the author of the book being reviewed, or was involved in the book's creation process (i.e. as a co-author, editor, illustrator, etc.).

How do authors get thousands of reviews? ›

Your job is to get advanced reviews that can go in your Author Bio section or in your description section. This involves asking review bloggers, review sites, other authors, magazine editors, newspaper editors, etc. for reviews. A review from a publication such as Kirkus Reviews will go a LONG way.

How many Amazon reviews does a book need? ›

How Many Reviews Do I Need? For a minimum, you should try to get 20 reviews within the first two months after your book release date. That shows your book has traction with real readers. At around 50 reviews, you are probably good to go.

Are you allowed to ask for reviews on Amazon? ›

Can you ask for reviews on Amazon? Yes, you can still ask for reviews. Amazon's new terms state you can only send one request for a review through Buyer-Seller Messaging. So limit your requests.

Are Amazon sellers allowed to ask for reviews? ›

The Request a Review feature provides sellers with a safe way to ask customers for product reviews and seller feedback. It is completely compliant with Amazon's policies, so you'll never be penalised for using it.

Can I get paid for my reviews on Amazon? ›

Amazon reviewers are helpful to both potential sellers and potential buyers. And free and discounted products are enough reimbursement for the thousands of people who have gone through the steps to become an amazon reviewer. Because, spoiler alert, reviewers don't get paid cash money.

How much do self published authors make on Amazon 2022? ›

Self-publishing platforms pay up to 70% of each book sold to authors (fantasy authors get between 40% and 60%). Of authors who have published their first book in the last 10 years: 1,200 traditionally published authors have earned $25,000+ a year. 1,600 self-published authors have earned $25,000+ a year.

How much does an Amazon author make per book? ›

If you sell books through Amazon's regular distribution network, you'll receive 60% in royalties. However, if you sell through Amazon's Expanded Distribution Network to stores like Barnes and Noble, you'll only get 40%. The printing costs for physical copies are subtracted directly from your royalties.

What is the difference between a 70% and 35% royalty KDP? ›

Works in the public domain or consisting primarily of public domain content are only eligible for the 35% royalty option. If you add substantial original content or publish an original translation so that your book is not primarily public domain, then it would be eligible for the 70% royalty option.

Can you remove a negative review? ›

To ask Google to remove or delete an inappropriate review from your Business Profile, report the review. Google can remove reviews that violate Google's policies.

Can you leave an Amazon book review without buying? ›

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.

Can Amazon sellers delete bad reviews? ›

No, Amazon sellers cannot directly remove negative feedback. They can only remove it by contacting Amazon or asking the customer to delete their feedback.

What are the qualities of a good book reviewer? ›

Here are a few skills that a book reviewer might need:
  • Excellent reading and comprehension skills.
  • Strong writing abilities.
  • Time management skills.
  • Communication skills.
  • Critical thinking skills.
20 Apr 2021

Do reviewers get paid? ›

Peer reviewers get paid for reviewing books and conference papers, so why should journals be any different? Critics argue that payments to peer reviewers would simply be passed on in higher subscription fees or article processing charges, but all that does is perpetuate the low internal valuation of the service.

Do reviewers make money? ›

The average review pays between $5 and $15, but you could earn up to $25 per review if you review specific types of software. The website has hundreds of thousands of reviews, so it is one of the most popular review websites on the internet.

What is Amazon policy violation? ›

Amazon Listing Policy Violation. A listing policy violation happens when a listing's attribute is tampered with by a seller. This can be due to a genuine mistake. But it can also be because of a hijacking attempt.

What is Amazon's Section 3 policy? ›

Section 3 is simply a section which allows them to terminate your relationship with Amazon. Amazon's Business Soltions Agreement is written as an "at-will" agreement they can terminate at any time. But Amazon has put into place a specific internal appeal system to allow sellers a second chance at reinstatement.

How many reviews can be posted on Amazon? ›

Only one review per order ASIN is permissible by amazon (1 each for seller and product).

What percentage of people leave a review on Amazon? ›

The average review rate on Amazon is 1-2%. That means out of every 100 sales, you should expect 1-2 reviews. You should be able to aim for a 5% review rate, or one review every 20 sales. This is actually easier than you think, since most Amazon sellers do not have a strategy for getting reviews.

Does Amazon pay for 5 star reviews? ›

Amazon's seller guidelines specifically ban offering a financial reward for reviews. It's supposedly a zero-tolerance policy.

Can you write a review for your own book on Amazon? ›

Can I review my own book on Amazon? Sadly, no. Some authors might think it's a good idea to review their own book to get an initial momentum going for their reviews, but that's against the rules specified on Amazon's Guidelines.

Can authors publish the same content multiple times? ›

Duplicate submission is a common form of academic misconduct. Each published article in a journal is expected to be completely original. Submitting the same or a very similar manuscript to two or more journals is unethical and can lead to rejection or even retraction.

Do authors work on multiple books at once? ›

Usually one of the books is in short form, a novella or similar, which makes the process easier. I also like to write a book in season, so summer scenes in summer and winter ones in winter, and this way I am able to do that.” Rachel McCollin concurs: “I've normally got two or three on the go at any one time.

Can authors review books? ›

Of course you have a right to write reviews—we're all readers! Readers get to have opinions! —but you should give some thought to what you want those reviews to accomplish. Do you want to boost other authors and recommend the books you loved?

What is a good number of reviews? ›

Review Quantity – According to an article by MarketWatch, 20-50 is enough reviews to prove a product has been tried by enough people. If you don't have many reviews now, this is a good starting goal because it will show potential customers that others have tried you.

Do authors pay for book reviews? ›

Even institutions like ForeWord, Kirkus and Publishers Weekly offer programs where you pay to play. Although PW doesn't guarantee a review, there are lots of other places you can simply buy them. The reason thousands of authors pay for these reviews is simple—reviews can help sell books.

How do I increase Amazon book reviews? ›

Let your followers know that you have a new book coming out and that they have the opportunity to read and review an advance copy. These readers can be added to your launch review team. Your author newsletter can also be a great way to subtlety remind those that have purchased your book to please leave a review.

How much should a book review be? ›

Book reviews are usually 600 to 2,000 words in length. It is best to aim for about 1,000 words, as you can say a fair amount in 1,000 words without getting bogged down.

How many books does it take to be a best seller on Amazon? ›

“How many books will I need to sell?” In order to hit #1 on Amazon, you'll need to sell somewherebetween 3,500 and 5,000 copies in 24 hours. Want to hit top 10? You'll need to sell roughly 300 for print, or 2,000+ copies for combined formats.

How many reviews do people read before buying? ›

According to online review statistics, 95% of consumers read reviews before they buy a product, while 67% say they wouldn't trust a high rating unless it comes with many reviews.

Can a seller respond to a negative review on Amazon? ›

1. Reach out to Directly Address the Concern. Amazon sellers can respond to negative reviews to limit risk to their business. On Amazon, you have the opportunity to publicly respond to every review, either positive or negative, which shows as a store owner you are aware of your customers needs and ready to make amends.

Why is Amazon blocking my reviews? ›

There are a few reasons you, as a buyer, could experience a “review block”: Amazon finds your reviews suspicious. Amazon detects that you are systematically leaving negative reviews on a frequent basis. You have violated Amazon's review rules.

Can a seller delete an Amazon review? ›

All you have to do is contact Amazon's seller support team and get the review removed. If you think that the feedback is given by a competitor, you can report it to the support team.

Can sellers remove reviews on Amazon? ›

No, Amazon sellers cannot directly remove negative feedback. They can only remove it by contacting Amazon or asking the customer to delete their feedback.

Can you dispute a review on Amazon? ›

Requesting the removal or revision of a review is fairly easy: you can report a review to Amazon with a few clicks or by writing an email. Go to the product details page of your product, find the questionable review, and click “report abuse”.

Can I leave Amazon reviews anonymously? ›

If you don't want to use your real name, once you click on the “Write a customer review” button, look in the upper right corner to change your reviewer name. Click “CHANGE” that is in tiny blue letters under the words “YOUR PUBLIC NAME”. A blank box appears that you then write your chosen reviewer name for that review.

How do I hide my name on Amazon reviews? ›

Go to Your Profile. Select Edit your profile. Select Edit privacy settings to make your changes. Select Save.

How do you ask a customer to remove negative reviews? ›

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to resolve this issue! We want to again apologize for any inconvenience our mistake might have caused. Your review is really valuable to our business, and we would be grateful if you can please consider updating the review to reflect your most recent experience with our business.

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