People want quality books: blogs? Not so much
This started out as a post about the bestselling blogs in the Kindle store…but then I noticed something.
Those bestselling blogs have surprisingly low averages on the customer reviews at Amazon. I’ve decided I’m going to compare the bestselling items in different categories, to see if there is any pattern. First, though, let’s look at those blogs:
Blogs in the Kindle store have always been a bit of an odd duck (and there probably is a blog specifically about odd ducks). 😉
Subscribers (thanks, subscribers!) read them on Kindles…and not on Fires, for the most part.
Non-subscribers often read them on Kindle Fires.
I keep hoping that they will let you subscribe directly to them for the Fire, but they haven’t yet. My best guess is that most people just navigate directly to the site in their tablet’s browser, although some may certainly have them in some kind of feed reader.
In the case of this blog, for example, I have a Twitter feed…and you can add that into
and other apps.
I like to look, from time to time, at how the blogs are doing. I do keep an eye on this one specifically…it’s normally top ten (and has been #1), but has dropped out of that.
Subscribing to blogs typically costs $0.99 (for the more popular ones) or $1.99 a month, through Amazon.
Here are the top ten right now:
- Kindle Books and Tips by Michael Gallagher: 4.4 out of 5 stars, 158 customer reviews…1,637 days in the top 100
- The New York Times – Latest News: 3.9 stars, 80 customer reviews…1,818 days in the top 100
- OnKindle: 2.6 stars, 20 customer reviews…1,514 days in the top 100
- Huffington Post: 2.8 stars, 34 customer reviews…1,818 days in the top 100
- Free Books for Kindle: 3.7 stars, 23 customer reviews…1,512 days in the top 100
- Kindle Nation Daily by Stephen Windwalker: 3.6 stars, 41 customer reviews…1,769 days in the top 100
- National Review Online – Articles: 4.2 stars, 13 customer reviews…1,513 days in the top 100
- Free Kindle Games: 1.9 stars, 35 customer reviews…851 days in the top 100
- I Love My Kindle: 4.2 stars, 39 customer reviews…1,709 days in the top 100
- Joke of the Day by Gagler: 2.5 stars, 20 customer reviews…1,648 customer reviews
It’s strange to me how low rated some of these are…and the small number of reviews.
What’s the average number of stars for those top ten blogs? 3.38. Honestly, out of five, that’s not great.
For the books?
Average? 4.36…a full star (and then some) higher.
Hmm…Kindle magazines are also fairly low.
- 4.4 (Soap Opera Digest)
- 4.4 (Real Simple)
I pointed out the two highest. The average? 3.54. Higher than blogs, but not by much. My guess is that the low blog ratings have to do with content, and that these have to do more with formatting or restrictions on use. Just my guess, though.
Newspapers, though, where I would expect the content to be better, also have disappointing ratings:
- 3.4 (The New York Times)
- 2.5 (The Wall Street Journal)
- 3.6 (The Washington Post)
- 3.1 (USA Today)
- 3.0 (The Onion)
Average: 3.28…even worse than blogs! These are professionally produced. So, my initial thought that the blogs might be lower rated because the content is amateur (and perhaps misleading in some cases) doesn’t appear to be holding up.
I have to take into account what makes someone write a review. I think it may be when people are surprised. That would make some sense to me. People are less likely to be surprised (in a positive or negative way) because they have a lot of experience with the medium of books…and e-books are not that great a departure in experience.
Most people don’t have a lot of experience with blogs, I would say…so they might have expected them to be something different.
With the newspapers…I’m guessing that the experience of the electronic version is so different from the paper version (or even a website version) that it disappoints people.
Let’s test this.
I would guess that albums are more like books…that they would tend to rated fairly highly.
Apps…well, my intuition is that people who rate apps may be easier on the rating system, more likely to go high. I’ll take a quick look at those…but Kindle active content, I would guess, will be rated fairly low.
Let’s try MP3 albums first:
- 5.0 (Rascal Flatts Rewind)
Average: 44.4…the highest so far!
Hm, another hypothesis: maybe books and MP3 albums benefit if their scores are combined with their physical counterparts…which wouldn’t be the case with blogs or e-magazines or e-newspapers, I think.
- 2.2 (Mods for Minecraft)
Active content (games/apps for non-Fire Kindles):
Hmm…this may require a more in-depth analysis at some point.
I think that most authors/publishers think that better customer review ratings averages drive sales…but here we see top-selling items that just don’t have exemplary scores (except for books, and albums).
I’m going to have to think more about this.
What do you think? Does this surprise you, or do you expect that people will buy items which other people have reviewed relatively poorly? Could it have to do with being given popular items as gifts…and then turning out that you don’t think they are very good? What impacts why people review something? Will people give a bad review to something just because it is very popular? Perhaps popularity encourages people to try something, thinking it must be good…and then they are disappointed? Is it just because I haven’t done a larger sample…maybe a 3.0 average is relatively good in the Kindle store? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.