I spent time, this past weekend, looking at romance books on Amazon. I do this from every once in a while, so I can see what’s recently been published. Also, I get email alerting me to discounts and free ebooks, so I look through these, as well.
I have no earthly idea if the reviews, as a cross section, provide a reader with the additional knowledge needed to make a purchasing decision. In the past year, I’ve heard about friends of the author bumping the star reviews up a notch or two. This skew is of a different nature.
The genres I look at, beyond romance, are thrillers, SciFi (not SyFy), mysteries, fantasy and sometimes anything else, recommended by friends and associates.
During my weekend quest, I saw, as a whole, weepy romances and titillating erotica tend to collect higher review ratings than mainstream. This is not a scientific theory or empirical announcement, but a feeling I got.
As I traveled through the Amazon library, I noticed erotica, at least the books and stories I looked at, had more five-star-ratings than what I expected to see, based on the mainstream examples, looked at during the same viewing session.
The tendency is, I believe, to rate a book higher, based on emotions. Romance and erotica are books intended to cause an emotional reaction (albeit, most of time for different reasons). Looking at the accompanying reviews, rarely do I see much written about the structure or theme or content.
It may be I’m painting targets around arrows…