Amazon lets people review items it sells. Outside of being a customer, there is no entrance exam to write a review. You don’t even have to have purchased the item your are reviewing, you just have to be registered with Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Amazon now allows you to mark your review as being from an Amazon Verified Purchase…if they can verify that you bough it from them.
This leads to some great (and often funny) reviews. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has stated that the people who review reviews (and they do exist), are specifically instructed not to remove funny reviews (presumably, funny ones that don’t violate other policies).
For example, see the reviews for the The Mountain Men’s Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee.
Reviews for the Kindles have been mostly positive. Amazon uses a five star rating system. I’m going to assign my own terms to these:
2=Don’t like it
As I write this, the reviews for the Kindle 2 break down this way:
So, 77% of the recent reviewers said they liked or loved their Kindle 2s.
I saw a question recently about whether there had been increasingly negative reviews, specifically about defects.
Well, my intuition was that there would be fewer negative reviews over time, since initial problems would be corrected. “Lemon” units would be returned, replaced (and possibly refurbed).
However, while I think intuition can be a great thing, I always like to look at the numbers.
I was also curious about the allegation that negative reviews tend to come from people who haven’t owned Kindles.
So, I looked at the last 100 reviews for the Kindle 2.
I don’t have a baseline, of course, but I could look at the last one hundred versus the overall.
The recent reviews (the past 100) were more positive than the overall reviews. 85% of the recent reveiwers said they loved or liked their Kindle 2s.
The percentage who “hated it” also dropped from 13% to 5%.
Looking at the narratives was interesting.
Several people who didn’t rate it a five did actually use the word “love” in describing it. That was true for five of the people who rated it a four, and one person who rated it a three. I’ve worked with evaluations for quite some time, and some people just won’t ever give the highest grade…they think of it as an unattainable perfection. Presumably, if you scored a 99% on a test for these folks, you’d get a B.
Six people actually said they didn’t own the Kindle 2. The ratings for those reviews were much lower than for the others.
By the way, you might wonder at the person who rated it a four and said they didn’t own the device. That person had a Kindle 1, and was rating the Kindle 2 a four because it didn’t have an SD slot.
Other negative comments:
* One person said the screen had malfunctioned. They had not yet contacted Amazon, and liked the device before that (rated 2)
* One person didn’t own it, and wouldn’t buy it because of concerns about the books being able to be removed from the device (rated 1)
* Another person had a Kindle broken, but replaced quickly, and was concerned about the fragility (rated 4)
* A person was concerned that it was hard to figure out how to use the device, and claimed an IT background. (rated 2)
* One person said it wouldn’t start, so they sent it back (rated 1)
* One person was disappointed it didn’t have a touchscreen or a filing system (rated 3)
* One person dropped the Kindle and it broke. Amazon sent a replacement for $135 (rated 1)
* One person said it was good, but too expensive (and didn’t own one) (rated 1)
* One person didn’t like the contrast and had some bugs with the internet. Said they would buy the next version (rated 2)
* One person (who called it a “godsend”) had trouble with the contrast, and that the text size on the menus couldn’t be adjusted (rated 3)
* Another person said it was too expensive (rated 2)
* One person didn’t like the text-to-speech and wanted color and a backlight. That person also said “no major complaints and lots of compliments” (rated 3)
* Another person wanted a backlight (rated 2)
* One person was concerned about doing academic citations without page numbers (rated 2)
* Another person said the screen went bad and it would be two weeks for a replacement (rated 1)
* Another person thought a new version would be out shortly (rated 1)
There were lots of positive comments, of course. Amazon lets you search for words in the reviews, so I did a few of those. That search goes through all the reviews, not just the last 100:
* 2910 used the word “love” 46%
* 170 used the word “contrast” (although some were positive) 3%
* 915 used the word “light” (some were talking positively about booklights) 14%
* 77 used the word “fragile” 1%
* 13 used the word “cat” (hey, I was just curious!) .2%
So…um…gee…I hope that provides you with useful information if you are undecided about buying a Kindle 2.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.