Buying Books: 3 Ways to Get the Most from Amazon Reviews

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Amazon is usually the second stop on my book-buying journey. First, I get pointed toward a book by trusted source. Then, I click over to Amazon to see what the reviewers have to say.

Amazon reviews are incredibly helpful in finding books that it’s worth my time to read. According to my research, that’s true for most business book readers. My informal survey says that almost every business book purchase touches Amazon.

The reader may buy the book elsewhere, but he or she almost always visits Amazon and reads the reviews. Here are three things you should look for to find the reviews that will help you make a wise book buying decision.

Look for Verified Purchases

Amazon identifies people who have bought the books they’re reviewing on Amazon by marking the review as “Verified Purchase.” Think about what that means.

Verified purchasers paid money for the book. Other reviewers got the book free. Maybe the author was their friend, or maybe they got the book from a publicist. Some of those reviews may be helpful, but, at least in my experience, verified purchasers are more likely to tell you whether they got value for their money or not.

The Content of a Good Review

The reviews that will be most helpful to you are the ones that go beyond telling you whether the reviewer liked the book or not. The best reviews tell you something about what’s in the book and about why the reviewer liked it or didn’t.

Look for Readers Like You

A reviewer who writes a solid, descriptive review, probably also tells you something about themselves. Pay attention to that. You can usually tell from the description if the person has the same motivations you have for reading. If they liked the book, you probably will, too.

Bottom Line

The most helpful reviews are from verified purchasers who describe the book and their reasons for liking or not liking it. Sometimes you can also identify people who are like you and therefore more likely to evaluate a book the same way you do.

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