Return of the long lost Kindle ratings!
On Monday evening I noticed something odd happening with the rating count of my Time Bubble book on Amazon.
This book has been out for nine years, selling steadily, and accruing reviews along the way. Up until about two or three years ago, people had to leave a written review in order for their ratings to be included in the total, but that has now changed. Now, if someone rates a book they have bought without leaving a review, that's included too.
They could leave a rating formerly, but the only place it showed up was on Goodreads, a sister site.
So accumulating reviews was a long and slow process. It is estimated that only about 1% of people who purchase leave a review, so it took a long old time for The Time Bubble to reach the milestone of 100 reviews. In recent years, since they started including the ratings, it climbed more quickly but it was only new ratings. The historical ratings seemed lost forever in the mists of time, like those long sought-after missing black-and-white episodes of Doctor Who. OK, they were on Goodreads, but that's no help when someone is on Amazon browsing for books.
So, imagine my surprise when I noticed a sudden surge in the rating count of The Time Bubble on Monday evening. At first, I thought it might be a glitch, but as the week went by, the count continued to increase, from around 900 on Monday to nearly 1,400 by Friday. And I wasn't the only author affected by this phenomenon.
I checked the ratings of another author I know, Tracy Bloom, who started around the same time as me. I noticed the same jump happening in her early books too, and interestingly, like myself, not in her newer ones. Or not yet, anyway. This led me to speculate that Amazon might be adding in the missing ratings from all those years ago and moving chronologically forward in time as they do. At the moment they seem to have covered all books released by the end of 2015.
If this is true, it's great news for authors with older books, who may have felt they were at a disadvantage compared to new releases that could accumulate ratings and reviews more quickly. Now, those old ratings are finally getting added in, it is almost like receiving backdated pay for our past work. OK, there is no immediate financial benefit, but the more reviews a book has the better in the eyes of the consumer.
Of course, I don't have any official confirmation from Amazon about this theory, but it seems like a plausible explanation for what's happening. If you're an author with books from this era, let me know if you're seeing the same thing on your older titles. And if you're a reader who left me a rating way back in 2015, thank you! It got through eventually!