Amazon is Adding Goodreads Ratings to Book Listings



Always books. Never boring.

*Editors Note – This post originally stated that Goodreads users can easily create many accounts to skew ratings, because there’s no requirement to verify your account. A quoted tweet also makes this claim. Correction: Goodreads has confirmed that all new accounts on Goodreads are required to verify their email address using a one-time passcode.

Amazon bought Goodreads in 2013, but for the most part, there hasn’t been much integration between the retailer and the social reading site. Recently, though, some authors have spotted Goodreads average ratings showing up on Amazon listings of their books, although Amazon has its own ratings system.

For most titles, there are far more ratings on Goodreads than Amazon, and the averages don’t always match. Books can be rated without purchasing or even reading them: it’s within Goodreads’s terms of service to openly rate a book one star or five stars far before even the advanced reader copies of the book comes out.*

It’s common for books to get “review bombed” on Goodreads (as well as Amazon), where a large group of people rate a book one star to lower the average rating. This may be because the author behaved badly on Twitter, because the book has LGBTQ content, or any number of reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the book. There are even scams where authors are emailed asking for money to prevent their book from being review bombed.

Currently, not all books on Amazon display the Goodreads rating, and it is only on the desktop site. Presumably, this is in testing stages before rolling out more universally. Although both Amazon and Goodreads ratings are displayed, they are shown slightly differently: the Amazon average is shown in stars, while the Goodreads average is expressed as a number. Because most books have so many more ratings on Goodreads, though, it is likely the average that will look more trustworthy to a consumer.

Amazon has not yet announced this change or released any information about it, but this is a development to keep an eye on.

A spokesperson from Goodreads also reached out in response with the following statement:

“Goodreads takes the responsibility of protecting the integrity of customer ratings and reviews very seriously. Attempts to abuse our systems are not tolerated and we are constantly making improvements to better safeguard the community. We continue to invest in tools to improve the ability to quickly detect and take action against bad actors. In addition to email verification, some recent improvements include making it easier for members to flag inappropriate content so they can get help faster and investing in our customer service team. We encourage people to contact us directly using our Contact Us form if they need support.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.