Afternoon links: Amazon Vine as the wild, wild west.

  • From the Guardian: Inside the world of Amazon Vine book reviewers: how I ended up with a mailbox full of dog poo. "The day that I stopped reviewing books on my own blog was a Tuesday, if I recall correctly. It was the day in 2012 that I returned home from covering a conference in downtown Manhattan. I stuck my hand into my large metal mailbox to see if I had mail. I didn’t feel any paper. When I pulled out my hand, instead of holding any letters, I found it was covered in dog shit."
  • This Margo Howard essay is old, but worth reading if you feel the need to experience some hilariously AMAZING snobbery and privilege: Amazon's Elite Reviewing Club Sabotaged My Book. "Books, of course, can be and are reviewed pre-publication—but by reviewers who are attached to magazines or newspapers. "Book Reviewer" is considered a profession, and reviews are done by other writers. Good sense would seem to militate against any group of people unschooled in creative and critical reviewing coming up with a worthwhile review. The Vine people, who deal mostly with products for the home and the body, seem inappropriate bellwethers regarding products for the mind, if you will." Gosh, READERS EXPRESSING THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT BOOKS?? THE ANARCHY. It's a good thing she didn't stumble over to GoodReads.
  • Jennifer Weiner, in response to Howard at the New Republic: No Author Is Too Good for Her Amazon Critics. "The us-versus-them game that Howard wants to play is the same argument that’s been on a loop since the advent of the Internet, and the rise of the book bloggers: citizen critics who built websites to discuss and reviews the books they loved. Readers were delighted. Some “real” critics were affrighted. What was this rabble, and what made its members think that they had anything worthwhile to say?"
  • BONUS! Not Amazon-related, but in the same authors-having-a-REALLLLLLY-difficult-time-with-criticism vein: Richard Brittain Violently Assaults Book Reviewer. "Security footage of the store confirmed the reviewer's worst fears about the identity of the man who had assaulted her so brutally. She ended up getting six stitches but thankfully did not have any fractures in her skull or a concussion. She posted pictures on her injury (which I will not link here, they are graphic and show her face), and it is a HEINOUS, deep jagged gash." 
Books, NewsLeila RoyComment