PSA Regarding Amazon Guidelines for Reviews


PSA to reviewers and authors/publishers regarding Amazon’s revised review guidelines.

This little bit here is super important to observe:

“Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.”

This means that technically speaking, an author/publisher should not require a review in exchange for a book. Instead, offer the book for consideration. In my experience, that is the approach most industry professionals take anyway, so no major change there for most.

More importantly, it means that reviewers need to drop language such as the following from their reviews: “I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.” As far as Amazon is concerned, this means you were paid for a review and they will yank your review. Even more importantly, if they see a pattern of this happening in your reviews, they will yank all of them and block you from leaving them in the future.

It is also important not to mention if the author/publisher is your friend/associate. Even if the review is an honest one or a critical one, Amazon will yank the review and, once again, you risk being banned from leaving them in the future. I haven’t used this type of language in my reviews in years, but a lot of reviewers still do so, just a word to the wise.

Finally, Amazon now owns Goodreads so you should probably assume the same rules are going to apply there eventually.



  1. Thanks for the reminder – I’m just about to send out copies of a new novel for review. I’ll be sure to advise the recipients accordingly!


    • The same rule would apply. If you received it in exchange for a review, you don’t want to mention that in an Amazon review or mention that you got it from Story Cartel. If you do, they will reject it.


  2. I’m a lot more cautious about this. You’re still technically required by the FCC to say that you were given the product for free – but I’ve honestly never ever heard of someone getting in trouble for it.

    The wording that I use now is similar but takes away the “for a review” I usually say “I was provided with a free copy of this book – it has not affected my review in any way”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with saying it was free, they say much the same thing in their guidelines. It’s just that verbage, “in exchange for…” that will get your reviews deleted.


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