Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Reviews 2.0

“At age 36, I found myself in a medium-security prison serving 3-5 years for destruction of government property and public intoxication. This was stiff punishment for drunkenly defecating in a mailbox, but as the judge pointed out, this was my third conviction for the exact same crime.”

So begins an Amazon review of The Secret which 8,581 of 8,905 Amazon readers found “helpful.” What exactly is the key to getting your review chosen as "helpful"? "The product review, as a literary form, is in its heyday," writes Virginia Heffernan. "Polemical, evocative, witty, narrative, exhortative, furious, ironic, off the cuff: the reviews on Amazon use all the tools in the critic’s cubby — and invent some of their own. The ones that rise to the top, in the site’s parallel 'favorable' and 'critical' categories, adroitly win your trust and close their cases."

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