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Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,805
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Review system is fouled up


deesy58 wrote:
There will come a time when paper books will no longer be printed.

I don't believe that's true.  Phyiscal books in some form or another have been around for thousands of years, and I expect that unless we lose the ability to plant and/or harvest trees, they'll be around for thousands more.

 


deesy58 wrote:
Even though the Peter Principle holds in virtually all organizations, is it really likely that a company like B&N could be so incompetent at the top that they would put themselves out of business by driving customers away?

Absolutely.  All empires crumble from within.


deesy58 wrote:
Well, it has been made clear by other posters in this forum that dissatisfaction with the reader review system has caused them to take their business away from B&N and give it to a competitor.  That sounds like pretty compelling proof that there is a direct causal link between the reader review system and B&N's market share.

Yes, they've lost Ya_Ya as a customer.  But they're losing customers for things all the time.  The priority for them will likely be whatever they think will keep the most customers and/or win the most new customers.  And if they take an action that causes them to lose 1,000 old customers but brings in 2,000 new customers, that's a win.

 

Companies look at revenue statistics to determine what to do, and if a particular initiative cannot be tied directly to sales, it falls by the wayside.  Since there's no solid, easy way to tie reviews to sales, and there's really no easy way to tie lost sales to poor and/or rejected reviews, this will not be a likely priority.  Not now, not ever.

 

LOL, call Customer Service for something basic, and then come back and tell me that reviews should be their priority.  Or, easier, take a look at some of the technical support forums here.  They've got a LOT of issues, and these are just on the technology side of the company.  My favorite local B&N closed earlier this month because of "lease issues" for their location, indicating to me that the store was having trouble keeping itself profitable.  And then there's the technology race with Amazon and the others.  Reviews are pretty far down the list.

Distinguished Scribe
Ya_Ya
Posts: 3,334
Registered: ‎09-29-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Review system is fouled up

[ Edited ]

keriflur wrote:

Yes, they've lost Ya_Ya as a customer.  But they're losing customers for things all the time.  The priority for them will likely be whatever they think will keep the most customers and/or win the most new customers.  And if they take an action that causes them to lose 1,000 old customers but brings in 2,000 new customers, that's a win.


A laurel to you!

 

I don't think B&N is particularly concerned about losing my business; $100/month is noticeable money to me, but it's not even a blip on their radar.  I also don't think that my reaction is typical; I can't imagine that most people care that much about the reviews - either the older system that drove me away or the current system that I think is better but seems to be upsetting people.  


I, like you, just can't see that this would be an issue that would upset most people enough to send them to another vendor.

 

I'm not vain enough to think that I matter to them, or that my pirorities are anyone else's.


I do, however, have the right and obligation to spend my discretionary income in line with my oddball priorities...  :smileytongue:

BN_AlexG
Posts: 476
Topics: 68
Kudos: 519
Solutions: 41
Registered: ‎09-19-2011

Re: Review system is fouled up

Hey All,

 

I believe I've caught up to this conversation, albeit a bit late. 

 

1. Lasseter, I'm sorry for the hardship with your review as mentioned in detail before, back in November B&N switched over to a new moderation tool that yes is automated, but serves to filter the majority of off-topic reviews a la "this book wasn't even worth the price, etc" instead of actual thought out reviews.

 

I can happily assist with publishing your review if you PM me the EAN/ISBN and your email address.

 

2. Unfortunately, I do not have a compiled list of what is acceptable or being flagged within the tool. So, sadly I won't be able to provide that to you all. However, we have almost finalized a backend moderation scheme that will serve to address many of these flags in the very near future. Dare I say, this month?

 

3. In regards to the wealth of Off-topic reviews that exist presently. The new tool came into effect as of November, so everything pre-dating this was not filtered. With so many to wade through, unfortunately I don't think we'll be able to clear them up presently. However, the option to report the review still exists and if ever you come across one by all means please do. 

 

I hope this helps a little and again I understand all of your frustration with the matter. My sincerest apologies to you all.

 

- Alex

Click the Laurel leaf to say thank you for helpful posts. And be sure to come back to click the 'Accept as Solution' button for the post that solved your issue. This may help someone else.
Distinguished Scribe
Ya_Ya
Posts: 3,334
Registered: ‎09-29-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Review system is fouled up


BN_AlexG wrote:

Hey All,

 

 

3. In regards to the wealth of Off-topic reviews that exist presently. The new tool came into effect as of November, so everything pre-dating this was not filtered. With so many to wade through, unfortunately I don't think we'll be able to clear them up presently. However, the option to report the review still exists and if ever you come across one by all means please do. 


I completely don't want to shoot the messenger, so this isn't directed at you.

 

HOWEVER, why should we believe that clicking Report today will do what it did not months ago, when it was first clicked, and by many?

Distinguished Scribe
Sun_Cat
Posts: 788
Registered: ‎12-03-2011

Re: Review system is fouled up


BN_AlexG wrote:

3. In regards to the wealth of Off-topic reviews that exist presently. The new tool came into effect as of November, so everything pre-dating this was not filtered. With so many to wade through, unfortunately I don't think we'll be able to clear them up presently. However, the option to report the review still exists and if ever you come across one by all means please do. 

 


I'm glad to hear that changes are planned.

 

As for the existing reviews, I would suggest that an appropriate launch of the new system might include automatically deleting all reviews that provide no text (just a rating) and adding a filter that prevents posting any review shorter than some arbitrary length, say 24 characters.

 

All this assumes that B&N really wants to build a credible reviews database. Like many others here, I often go to Amazon for reviews. Whatever rules they use seem to have resulted in robust and reasonably credible reviews. Maybe B&N ought to study the details of Amazon's system rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

Please visit me on Goodreads. Currently reading:
Journey Into Now by Leonard Jacobson
Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Review system is fouled up


Lasseter wrote:
...

deesy58 wrote:

 

If one really believes that the book market is in the process of migrating to 100% electronic formats (not at all unthinkable), then the independent bookstore must go the way of the dinosaur.  It is difficult to imagine how any independent bookseller could ever afford ...

 


 

This reminds me of something dear to my heart and something that I think also speaks to the point that article was making in its digression about independent bookstores and their survival: vinyl records.  It seems unlikely that vinyl will ever take over the market of music again, but vinyl sales are actually up in recent years (a very happy bit of news to my mind), and the thing is that those who love vinyl or want to collect vintage recordings are still around enough to keep it going.  Like the model of the independent bookstore that was mentioned in the article, there are some things that, although perhaps only a small number of consumers will want, those consumers will seek because of whatever special reason: the sense of "community" or whatever other appeal that cannot be duplicated in a massive enterprise.

 

Operating a small business is a venture with particular risks in any area, regardless even of the size of one's competitors, and regardless of whether one relies on electronic commerce.  I don't think they're all doomed, though, (although they're not a model built for world domination, to be sure) and, also ...

 

Hmm.  Are these vinyls brand new pressings, or are they old, previously listened-to records?  It is difficult to imagine that any small operation might, once again, purchase the necessary equipment to start pressing vinyl and printing jackets ... unless, of course, they are located in China and are pirating the music.

 

It is also difficult to imagine how all business could become electronic.  How, for example, might we find a way to eat an electronic fast-food burger?  :smileytongue:


 

There will come a time when paper books will no longer be printed.

 


 ... I sure hope not.  Once they stop printing paper books, they'll start making Soylent Green out of people.  The dead will rise from their graves.  Cats and dogs living together!  Mass hysteria!

 

Let's not be so gloomy.  Gee whiz.

 

Well, we don't really want to be Pollyanna-ish about this, do we?  Do we suppose that those who invested in Henry Ford and withdrew their investments from the buggy whip and horseshoe industries were gloomy?  This is simple economics.  As much as we might feel nostalgia for the printed books we love so much, they are being replaced by a newer technology that is unstoppable in its progression to replace a less-efficient technology.  Change happens.

 


 

Even though the Peter Principle holds in virtually all organizations, is it really likely that a company like B&N could be so incompetent at the top that they would put themselves out of business by driving customers away?


 

I reckon a big company like B&N can afford to drive a few people like those here who've advertised their migrated business, in favor of trying to address its far larger concerns.  My lament, my email to Customer Service, my wailing and gnashing of teeth over my lost review: these things are but an infinitesimally small fraction of Barnes and Noble's bottom line.  Now, if this were my corner bookstore, I might be able to have a word with the owner, even take him to our corner coffee store to talk it over--you know, since we have that sense of community there.

 

Oh, wait.  The corner coffee store is a Starbucks, and there's another one on the opposite corner.  The opposite corner where my local independent bookstore used to be, why, just last week!

 

Oh dear.

 

An astute observation.  Much as we might abhor it, the extinction of the independent bookstore is already under way, and it is likely to proceed.  If Borders couldn't survive, how could independent book sellers survive (porn shops could be an exception). 

 

The world's economy is in the process of changing from being based on labor-intensive industries to one of being based on capital-intensive industries.  The old saw about freedom of the press belonging to the man who owns the press might have a corollary that states that the ability to print books (or press vinyl) will belong to those who can afford to own printing presses (or vinyl presses). 

 

Imagine if you wanted to attract investors for a new startup business.  Imagine further that you intended to either print books or press vinyl recordings.  Do you suppose that it would be easy to locate venture capital to fund such an initiative?  Wouldn't that be a little like trying to convince potential investors that you are sure that horses and buggies are certain to make a comeback and, besides, there are already a number of horses and buggies in use in various parts of the world today, so the idea of building a brand-new, highly-automated buggy whip factory is a good one.  :smileyhappy:






Your words are thought-provoking.  Unfortunately, as much as I might like to be able to walk into my local, family-owned bookstore and browse for a bit, it doesn't seem likely that I will be able to do so for very much longer. :smileysad:

 

Also, Barnes and Noble does not own a monopoly (at least not yet).  They have a major competitor.  That competitor is eroding their market share a little at a time, as confirmed by some of the posts in this forum.  It might take a little while, but sooner or later B&N Management will figure out the answer to the question: How do you eat an elephant?  Answer: One bite at a time.  That appears to be what Amazon is doing. 

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Review system is fouled up


keriflur wrote:

deesy58 wrote:
There will come a time when paper books will no longer be printed.

I don't believe that's true.  Phyiscal books in some form or another have been around for thousands of years, and I expect that unless we lose the ability to plant and/or harvest trees, they'll be around for thousands more.

 

Dinosaurs were around for millions of years.  Horses and buggies were around for thousands of years.  Spears and stone knives were around for tens of thousands of years.  The ink on paper form of books will, in all certainty, become extinct simply because it will become too expensive to produce them compared to their replacement technology. 


deesy58 wrote:
Even though the Peter Principle holds in virtually all organizations, is it really likely that a company like B&N could be so incompetent at the top that they would put themselves out of business by driving customers away?

Absolutely.  All empires crumble from within.

 

Agreed!


deesy58 wrote:
Well, it has been made clear by other posters in this forum that dissatisfaction with the reader review system has caused them to take their business away from B&N and give it to a competitor.  That sounds like pretty compelling proof that there is a direct causal link between the reader review system and B&N's market share.

Yes, they've lost Ya_Ya as a customer.  But they're losing customers for things all the time.  The priority for them will likely be whatever they think will keep the most customers and/or win the most new customers.  And if they take an action that causes them to lose 1,000 old customers but brings in 2,000 new customers, that's a win.

 

Companies look at revenue statistics to determine what to do, and if a particular initiative cannot be tied directly to sales, it falls by the wayside.  Since there's no solid, easy way to tie reviews to sales, and there's really no easy way to tie lost sales to poor and/or rejected reviews, this will not be a likely priority.  Not now, not ever.

 

LOL, call Customer Service for something basic, and then come back and tell me that reviews should be their priority.  Or, easier, take a look at some of the technical support forums here.  They've got a LOT of issues, and these are just on the technology side of the company.  My favorite local B&N closed earlier this month because of "lease issues" for their location, indicating to me that the store was having trouble keeping itself profitable.  And then there's the technology race with Amazon and the others.  Reviews are pretty far down the list.


Just because reader reviews are currently not a high priority with B&N does not mean that it shouldn't be.  At some point in time, somebody in the Barnes and Noble Marketing Team determined that it would be a good marketing strategy to allow readers to post reviews on the B&N Web site.  The reviews would not be posted in the forum, but at the point at which a potential customer is making a purchase decision.  You can be sure that this decision (which would certainly result in greater capital investment and greater operating expense by the company) was not made lightly. 

 

You, yourself, point out that the brick and mortar stores are closing (for whatever reasons).  That indicates that the B&N business model is moving closer and closer to an e-Business model.  The Web site, which is the face that B&N shows to its potential market then becomes critical in its importance to the survival of the company.  The reader reviews are a part of that face.  If B&N screws that up, they will follow Borders down the path to extinction. 

 

Just because Customer Service and Technical Support are currently not responding to customer concerns about some aspects of the Web site does not mean that they never will.  If you believe that B&N will survive in the increasingly technology-based book selling business, then you should believe that they will, eventually, solve the majority of their technical issues. 

 

Some of what you say is true, and is on-point.  For example, I just tried to activate a free electronic subscription to the tablet-edition of one of my favorite magazines.  Unfortunately, because I own a NOOK Tablet, rather than some other brand of tablet, Barnes and Noble has established rules and procedures that make it extremely difficult to subscribe.  I told the magazine's Customer Support staff member that it was waaay too complicated, and that I would continue to read the printed edition.  For users of other tablets, it is easy and simple.  Sooner or later, however, either B&N will rectify this problem, or they will lose another customer. 

 

BTW, the assumption that B&N might gain 2000 customers while only losing 1000 represents an unrealistic scenario.  The ratio could easily be just the opposite.  B&N could be losing 2000 customers for every 1000 it gains.  Any business that is unable to retain its existing customers will not survive in the long run.  The world is full of examples that bear this out. 

Contributor
Lasseter
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-31-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Review system is fouled up

Thank you, Alex.  I shall send you a message momentarily.  And here's a laurel for your crown as well.

Contributor
Lasseter
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-31-2012

Re: Review system is fouled up


deesy58 wrote:
Hmm.  Are these vinyls brand new pressings, or are they old, previously listened-to records?  It is difficult to imagine that any small operation might, once again, purchase the necessary equipment to start pressing vinyl and printing jackets ... unless, of course, they are located in China and are pirating the music.
 


They're both, old records and new ones.  People who want their music presented that way do manage to find the means to produce it, and people buy it.  I remember when I bought a turntable with a diamond needle about, oh, fifteen or so years ago, and the salesman, who was himself an enthusiast and spoke lovingly about the thing, seemed to think that I was buying into a soon-to-be dead enterprise.  It just didn't turn out to be so.

 

I mean, look, (to borrow from your own examples), yes, the horse-and-buggy has been replaced by the automobile.  Still there are the Amish (and I live in a state where you can drive a ways outside the city and there they are, with an orange warning flag stuck on the back of the carriage, clippety clopping down the highway), for instance.  For the rest of us, yes, the convenience (and, frankly, the pleasure) of the car is preferred.  And yet many people--not just people who fully reject modernity--still ride horses, and even do so in their work.

 

Anyway, I don't want to compare books to these other things too much.  And the whole thing brings to my mind an old episode of Star Trek where Captain Kirk was being court-martialed and his lawyer was so old-fashioned that he still did his research on actual books.  Seems to my memory he even had a little monologue praising the virtues of books.  A man after my own heart, that future outer space country lawyer.

 

I just can't see a time when books will be so categorically rejected as to be relegated to a puny "niche" market or left to the Amish.  A lot of people like to hold a book in their hands and turn the pages.  Like the way the word looks on the physical page.  Like to see a stack of books ("You're right, Ray: no human being would stack books like this") and like to see a bookcase or a library with volumes in it.

 

Records didn't destroy live concerts.  Electronic Star Trek, Captain's Log gizmos aren't going to destroy paper books.  I just can't see it.

 

I also can't see how we got this far into this.  This discussion, fascinating as it is, has gotten downright Baroque.

 

Oh ho!  Classical music and Romantic music and 20th century music came along, and yet we still have Baroque music and period ensembles.  Take that, e-commerce!

 

All right.  Let me take a moment now.  I have to tune my psychic wavelengths into the credit card number imprinted on the computer chip in my brain and order some electro-nutrient dinner from the E-Donald's High Earth Orbit Combination Fast Food Teleportation slash Satelite TV Radar Dish.

 

Mm-hm!  The electrons in my Six Million Dollar stomach are highly agitated at the thought of this delicious meal!

Scribe
DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Review system is fouled up

I wholeheartedly agree with you! Never in the years that I have been posting reviews to B&N have I had any rejected until last November or so. Now it seems that if I am the first to post a review, or some extraneous reason, the review is killed in less than two minutes. I don't violate the terms of use here nor would I ever want to. But, even with all of the complaints, they don't seem to want to fix the problem. There are great places to post genuine, thoughtful reviews and Good Reads is one of them. 

 

I really find this to be a very sad thing because I have enjoyed reading and writing reviews here for years. Now, I am rethinking.....


keriflur wrote:

For anyone putting effort and care into their reviews, why not post them to Goodreads?  You control the review, and your review will be posted, not rejected randomly.  And the biggest benefit - people will actually read it, unlike on B&N, where most of the reviews are so useless that hardly anyone even bothers to look for them anymore.  If you're putting in the effort, why not post the review where others will see it, on a site designed for that purpose explicitly?




DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
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