Friday, January 18, 2013

Reading by numbers...

I wonder what the numbers mean.

I'm an Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer! It sounds great, but I'm really not sure how I got there or how long I'll stay--or even how to stay. Rumors abound about reviews by authors disappearing.  If my reviews vanish willI stop being in the Top 1000? Or does being a Top 1000 Reviewer help my reviews stay where they are?
Of course, being a reviewer of any sort on Amazon involves numbers. I can't just post a review on its own without adding some kind of rating, and I hate rating books. I'd much rather let the reader decide if they'd like the book or not. Should the rating tell if I liked the book (or hated it)? Is it really so personal? Or is it meant to be some global scale where everyone knows exactly what 3, 4 and 5 mean? And is 5 "perfect"? If so then, as a mathematician, I should never rate anything 5.

Come to that, is 3 negative or average? I gave one book 3 stars and another reviewer accused me of trying to sabotage the author's career. But I've given others 3 stars and been thanked for my efforts.

Then there are ranks. Psalm Stories is ranked #2 in Amazon's Hot New Releases in children's religious efiction, but what does that mean? It was #1 in kindle free children's religious efiction for a while. But does that really make it a best-seller? Does it make me a top-ranked author? A best-selling author?
Nearly 1,000 people have downloaded Psalm stories so far, but it only has 2 reviews on Amazon. Does that mean only 2 people actually read it? I guess not, since I know more than 2 of its readers personally, but you see what I mean.

And now Psalm Stories is "ranked" 170,393 in the kindle store, but my question remains--I wonder what the numbers mean.

Psalm Stories... "contains a whopping 75 delightful Five-Minute Psalm Stories… one for each Psalm. And every one of them consists of a short but thought-provoking question, a marvelous story that illustrates a moral lesson, a closing observation or comment, plus a short, meditative prayer to wrap things up. Like every volume in the Five-Minute Bible Story™ Series, it will leave your children begging for 'just one more!'" Find it on Amazon at: and see what you think.