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What is the lowest-rated book on Amazon?

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Showing 1-25 of 72 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 20, 2012, 3:48:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2012, 3:55:47 AM PDT
Tom Tiding says:
It seems like the star rating system actually starts at three stars, and it's rare to see a book lower than that.

Sure, it happens, but usually for reasons that don't relate directly to the writing: for example, the formatting was bad (this version of The Story of O) or the book was allegedly plagiarized (A Black Journal) or the author was Hitler (lMein Kampf or Mein Kampf: The 1939 Illustrated Edition).

But short of that, how bad does a book have to be in order to generate copious bad reviews?

Asking for a friend.

Posted on Apr 20, 2012, 3:56:36 AM PDT
Angie T.D. says:
I've given 2 books only one star, because they were so dire, and both my reviews were removed.In fact I've seen quite a few people give only one or two stars to the one author,if you can call him that, and either he or his henchmen storm in with cutting and bullying remarks, and then quite often the review is not there anymore, so it seems to me that if you really don't like a book and only give it a low rating the author has the power to have your review removed, thus creating a better inpression of the rubbish they wrote than is obvious.

Posted on Apr 20, 2012, 5:45:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2012, 6:01:09 AM PDT
Splinker says:
I had a one star review but i was able to find out what school the reviewer's children went to and the review was eventually deleted.

Posted on Apr 20, 2012, 5:51:24 AM PDT
Sometimes a book is so bad that it generates good reviews. Moon People.
I cannot believe this book costs over $7.00 now.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012, 9:00:48 AM PDT
Tom Tiding says:
Moon People is awesome! I love that book!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012, 9:09:43 AM PDT
I've had one 1* review and a couple of 2* reviews. The readers just didn't like my book, which is fine.

Unless the review was spiteful, which these were not, I would never protest or respond. I try and concentrate on, and be pleased, by the good reviews.

Everone has, and is entitled to, a different opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012, 11:54:55 AM PDT
Sheila (NJ) says:
I have given 2 books 1 star reviews. One was a children's science book with a glaring error on the front cover and one was an alphabet book with misspellings, bad pictures and no consistency. Neither of my reviews were removed, but they were downvoted a bit, most likely by the authors and friends. That is the problem with giving books low stars, your percentage helpful usually takes a nosedive when friends of the author come and exact revenge. I know some people who will not bother reviewing the bad books because it is too much of a hassle.

Posted on Apr 20, 2012, 12:07:18 PM PDT
This post may sound more harsh than it is intended, but this subject really seems pointless in the context of self-published books. Hasn't it been established ad infinitum lately that a lot of screwy stuff happens on indie reviews?
[Appreciating the fact that the OP's examples were actually traditionally published.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012, 5:24:19 PM PDT
Tom Tiding says:
OH yeah, there are a lot of shenanigans, but I was honestly interested in trying to figure out what the worst, widely read book on Amazon was. I suspect it actually wouldn't be an indie-- the indies that get a lot of legitimate reviews seem to do alright (for example, Wife by Wednesday), whereas a lot of the bigger authors and books attract reviews from people who hate their particular style (oh, let's just use Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy as an example.)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012, 6:16:14 PM PDT
Well good luck with that then...

Here's a slightly different twist on a similar subject - I saw this guy in the Top Reviewer's Forum (fascinatin' place), and he's actively working his way towards getting the lowest-reviewer ranking:

Posted on Apr 20, 2012, 11:40:02 PM PDT
I have no idea what the lowest rated book is. I do occasionally stumble over "books" that only have one or two stars as their cumulative rating. But usually it seems like they're bad porn, pamphlets reprinted from wikipedia, non-original cookbooks and that kind of thing. Sometimes I'll see it for an actual novel, and it's usually a self-published book with very few reviews, like 5 or less. (And at least it's nice to be able to say, no shill reviews.)

For more mainstream books from publishers, if it has a 3 star average it's doing poorly. It means there are a much higher than normal number of 1 and 2 star reviews. Generally I don't even bother looking at the book pages for those if the rating is based on a good number of reviews, unless I'm curious about what's so awful about it. Because people tend to be generous in star assignments, a book from a publisher that only has a 1 or 2 star average is really rare, though there are a few out there that I've run across. (Can't remember any titles though.)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2012, 7:02:34 AM PDT
Mary says:
I've heard that it's actually quite difficult for an author to get a review removed and has succeeded only in cases of the review being totally off the wall, such as, "I hate cats and this book has cats in it, therefore...."

Posted on Apr 22, 2012, 4:03:44 PM PDT
Page243 says:
Mary Ellen, that's been what I've seen too. There have been a few really absurd reviews. I posted about one where the reviewer gave the book one star because it was free for a promotion and "real authors" don't have to give their work away. And he enjoyed the book! LOL. I reported abuse and so did others, including (I think) the author, but it stayed up. I've also seen some revenge reviews come out of posse of haters on the Romance forum. One star reviews because they were just so offended at something an author said or did that had nothing to do with the quality of their book. Those reviews have stayed, and been steadily voted up by those in the group.

Someone sent me a link to Hacker Hunter on the forums the other day as an example of fraudulent reviews. I guess this author at one time had bought reviews and of course they were all glowing. Readers caught on and Amazon removed the reviews, not the book. It's now rated one star, with 7 reviews.

The Hacker Hunter

I think this was the start of the armchair detectives in the forums. It's sad that what started off as a good cause, targeting truly terrible behavior from authors, has become this kind of nasty vigilantism that actually seeks out authors and books to destroy.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2012, 4:44:50 PM PDT
@Page243: The Hacker Hunter debacle was one of many. It wasn't the START of the armchair detectives in the fora, as these type of reviews seemed to have been the norm for some time. You cannot dispute the author to author 5 star reviews. I can randomly pick a self-pubbed author on this forum, and can in good faith, state that if they had a 5 star review from another author, then they will probably have given this fellow author a 5 star review as well. Vigilantism isn't the appropriate word when the poor ethics and behavior, seem to be rampant. If there were just a few "outliers" then I would agree with you, but the fact that we can almost always click on an author's reviews? At this point I would decry your "vigilantism" and state that this is just simple "common sense".

Posted on Apr 22, 2012, 5:00:30 PM PDT
If authors feel they are being maligned by so-called vigilantes, their simplest and best recourse is to contact amazon. The reason that thread stays so active is there happen to be a lot of numbskulls in the self-pub business. I'm grateful to the people around here who call shenanigans - it helps me realize when to take a closer look. As always, then it's up to me to make an informed choice on a book/author.

Posted on Apr 22, 2012, 5:19:04 PM PDT
Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story

That might be a contender, for pretty obvious reasons. And yes, that is seriously a real book. It currently has a 1.5 star rating out of 163 reviews, and copies are (thankfully) no longer available for sale on Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2012, 6:23:07 PM PDT
Page243 says:
G & Mitford. I agree that there are way too many abuses. I've never disputed that. But I've also seen a few authors that looked pretty innocent to me get caught up in the kerfuffle and really treated unfairly (in my opinion). Anyone coming to their defense are considered shills or the author themself in disguise. It was a huge turn-off for me (personally), but I do understand the roots of the disgust. I just believe in innocent until actually proven guilty, not just suspected. And I guess I take issue with the hunting down of books for the sole purpose of looking for something to pick apart, whether its a few reviews from blank profiles or an author's comment. "Bad behavior" in that forum has come to mean almost anything someone doesn't like. It's not always about fake reviews.

I don't know if I'm a typical reader or not, but I take all reviews with a grain of salt and sometimes don't even read them before I buy. I rely way more on the preview and book description. But when I do read reviews, I don't just pore through the good ones. I'll click on a couple of the negs too. Sometimes they seem well-intended and sometimes just dumb or malicious...just like often the five stars sound like the book is the

I see that those reviews might affect rankings, but I'd never buy a book on reviews alone. Just me.

Posted on Apr 22, 2012, 7:28:28 PM PDT
land zebra says:
Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion
This is the only book I can think of off the top of my head (and that I've reviewed) that got more 1 stars than 5 stars, but I know I've seen others. Actually, that's what motivated me to review it, because it seemed to me that most of the negative reviews were from Playboy shills with an axe to grind.

Posted on Apr 23, 2012, 9:55:22 AM PDT
Ivy Cooper says:
53 one-star reviews, 6 five-star reviews for Ice Age... published by former Harper-Collins CEO Jane Friedman's Open Road Media. Seems to be based solely on the writing, which is odd considering this was a major acquisition by a large digital publisher and was likely edited a good deal.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012, 10:20:40 AM PDT
Huh - that is a strange one. Looks like there's only one review even close to the 2002 original print date (and that one's 2007, and also...not good) - so prob not much of a winner before it was kindle-ized... But also looks like Open Road picked up the author's catalogue, of which the "Muffin Man" series seems most popular, so maybe they just got stuck with the dud as well...Got me interested enough to look at the sample ;)

Posted on Apr 23, 2012, 7:30:18 PM PDT
Tom Tiding says:
That is strange. Sort of a head-scratcher that an editor even looked at it, considering how harsh the reviews are.

What did you think of the sample Mitford?

Posted on Apr 25, 2012, 6:34:47 AM PDT
lcs says:
I submit Seven Deadly Wonders: A Novel by Matthew Reilly for your consideration. It's probably rated about as low as a published book (Pocket Books/Simon Schuster) can go without the author doing something horrible on the side. A one-handed hero (lost his hand reaching into a stream of lava to unlock an unfamiliar door and narrowly escape certain doom... he does that a lot), cute nicknames, single-sentence paragraphs, exclamation points and italics galore, a VTOL 747, bad guys with all the subtlety of Snidley Whiplash, 2000-year-old crocodiles, a device that alters the flight of the bad guys bullets (thank God we used rubber bullets! bwahahahahaha!!! they're probably shooting lead guys, so you'd better DUCK!!!), etc. A total mess!!! And yet, somehow it got published, made the NY Times Bestsellers list and received 35 5-star reviews offset by 65 1-star reviews (currently 2.7 stars).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2012, 9:36:31 AM PDT
AmeliaAT says:
That does look pretty bad -- and the author has a lot of books out. Bizarre!

Posted on Apr 25, 2012, 10:45:10 AM PDT
KJ says:
I don't know about lowest cumulative rating, but I know so far the only book I've reviewed as one star was The Cat's Apprentice. Ugh. Just awful. It was a freebie, so thank goodness I didn't spend any money on it. Terrible writing, jumpy plot, unlovable characters...

Posted on May 1, 2012, 6:59:43 AM PDT
Ivy Cooper says:
Okay, I noticed the Kindle version of Ice Age vanished a couple days ago. I wonder if this has anything to do with the overwhelming negative reviews of it.
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Initial post:  Apr 20, 2012
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