Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Sarah McCubbin
Write a book review on Amazon in just a few easy steps. For new and established authors, Amazon is the biggest seller and most common source of reviews. Reviews are a valuable resource for consumers both on and off Amazon as they help us know whether a product is right for our needs.
(Disclosure: If you make a purchase through links in this post, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you!)
Table of Contents
Why Are Book Reviews Important?
As a consumer, book reviews are important because they tell me whether a book actually provides what I am looking for. For this reason, book reviews should accurately reflect the reader’s opinion of a book as well as offer helpful insight as to why it was helpful (or not helpful) for their situation.
Sometimes books have something that is helpful to one audience but offensive to another audience. When you write a book review, you have the chance to include details that help consumers save time and money. Thank you for taking the time to write a good review!
I learned this first hand in 2021 when my brother and his friend wrote the book, REAL Experience: A Tactical Field Guide for Buying & Selling Homes. We were working down the “checklist” of promoting a new book and of course one of the items is asking people to write reviews for the book.
This post came about as I was helping people who bought the book know how to write a review that was genuinely helpful. If you think this guide should have something else in it, please send me an email at [email protected] and let me know!
How to Review Books on Amazon
Whether a book is fiction or non-fiction does play some significance in what you share on Amazon.
5 Tips for Fiction Book Reviews on Amazon
Fiction reviews may include the following elements:
- A brief summary of the story.
- An analysis of the characters, plot, and genre
- Description of the writing style of the author
- If the reviewer is familiar with the author’s other writing, they may offer helpful comparisons that will help potential buyers know if they would enjoy this book.
- A comparison to other books in the same genre to give the reader an understanding of whether they might enjoy this work as well
6 Tips for Non-Fiction Book Reviews
Non-fiction is a pretty broad category that may share some similarities with fiction especially if the work is a biography or other true account.
However, most non-fiction should be reviewed based on other elements. For example:
- What was the books purpose? (This is usually stated in the introduction or first chapter. It is also usually on the back cover or inside flap)
- Why did you buy or read the book? What were you hoping to learn?
- Did the book meet your expectations?
- What did you learn from the book?
- Who would you recommend read this?
- Did the book accomplish it’s purpose?
How to Give Stars on Amazon for book reviews?
In your book review on Amazon, you can rate your purchase as anything between 1 and 5 stars. Before you do a book review on Amazon, make sure you are actually rating the book and not things like the shipping time. You want your review to reflect the product. You can rate shipping times under seller profiles instead.
Additionally, be aware of your own biases when reading a book. If you strongly dislike science fiction…but you are for some reason reviewing a science fiction book, it would be unfair to give a low review based on your dislike of science fiction. Do not intentionally give low reviews on books that don’t line up with your personal preferences in the first place.
Here is a general guide to help do your book review on Amazon:
1 star: In book terms, this book was poorly written, not cohesive and does not meet its defined purpose in any way. Or, it could be that the book is a perhaps a bait and switch…the book’s purpose was not the focus of the book but more of a hook in order to push another agenda. 1 star is pretty rare. I did book reviews for years and as a reviewer, I can remember giving one star only 1 time. It was a very poorly written self-published book written by 3 nurses. Nothing about this book added up…so it was a 1 star book.
2 stars: The author of this book had a good idea but it was poorly executed. Maybe they have poor writing skills. Maybe the book needed an editor. Maybe the ideas didn’t flow…or they flat out contradicted each other. Additionally, if the book failed to meet its own purpose, this would also warrant a low rating.
3 stars: This book is neither great nor terrible. It is neutral. The author had some good ideas. Maybe the story was ok. But the book is incomplete and lacked important details that would lead to a satisfying ending. Perhaps the writing was average and it did not hold your attention well.
4 stars: This work was a very good book. You would recommend it to a friend with perhaps a single reservation…or two. Maybe you liked the whole book but you strongly disagreed with a position or two taken by the author. The book is well written, kept your attention, demonstrated a good though process or story line, but had one or two glaring things you just can’t forget.
5 stars: This is as good as it gets on Amazon. The author of this book clearly put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that the details lined up just perfectly. They must have had a team of editors double-checking for errors as well because this book flowed. You can recommend this book without reservation knowing that the next person will likely appreciate it as much as you.
You are of course welcome to review a book however you would like. Maybe there are factors important to you that are unique but other buyers might find helpful. Writing your reviews to help other buyers is the key!
Guidelines for a Book Review on Amazon (as well as for other products).
As it turns out, Amazon has some specific requirements for writing reviews. Before your review goes live, they do actually have someone check the reviews to make sure they meet the necessary criteria.
1. In order to leave a review on Amazon, you have to have an active account.
They define that as an account that has $50 spent on it on a credit card in the last 12 months. There is a limit of one review per product per account. This means that multiple individuals sharing an account CANNOT all post reviews to the same account. They would need to open a separate account…spend $50…and then be allowed to post a review. Fun right?
The good news is, there are other places you can post book reviews that don’t have any spending requirement. Goodreads is a popular place to leave reviews when one does not have an Amazon account.
2. Amazon wants Genuine Reviews
When you do a book review on Amazon, know that they want reviews that share both positive and negative opinions and are helpful to customers trying to decide whether a product is a good fit for them. They do not allow manipulative or misleading reviews.
Among other things, Amazon does not allow the following and will remove reviews that break their rules:
- Reviews that are a promotion
- Reviews by someone who has a financial interest in the product. (either directly or indirectly)
- Reviews that say they are written by someone closely affiliated (family, friend, co-worker) with the author or product owner. It is fine for these people to write the reviews…just not announce it in the actual review.
- Product Manufacturers
- Paid Reviews
Check here for a complete list of Amazon Rules.
3. Amazon Recognizes Verified Purchases
Have you ever looked through Amazon reviews after an unhappy purchase of a product that was clearly a dud? I know I have. I usually look at reviews before I buy, so it is very frustrating when something is clearly misadvertised. It is even worse when all the reviews are raving about a purchase I now realize is junk. Amazon wants to prevent buyers from having those frustrating purchases, so they identify some product reviews as “Amazon Verified Purchases.”
Can I Write a Review a Bookon Amazon without Purchasing?
Yes, as long as your Amazon has had $50 in purchases in the last year, you can review anything on Amazon without purchasing. However, these reviews will not be marked “Verified Purchase.”
While all reviews are valuable, buyers often look at Verified Purchase reviews with more confidence knowing that at actual person spent their own money to buy this. If they are happy with the purchase, then there is a higher chance that the next customer will be happy too.
For this reason, when someone is launching a new book, they will often promote their book on Kindle for a very low price so that customers will “buy” the book and then submit a review on their new book.
The Most Important Key to Book Review on Amazon
If writing a book review seems overwhelming, know that there is really one important key. The key is to be honest in your review. If your motivation is to help others…you will be a success!