For the 4th time in less than two months a less-than-flattering review has been posted for ULBG on Amazon.com.
Now, before I go any further, let me first say that I’m a big believer in free speech. People should express how they feel, when those feelings are honest and sincere.
However…. it strikes me as odd that these recent reviews have been so negative when so many of the previous reviews for the book were much better.
The one thing I think some of these reviewers forget is that the Internet often provides two-way communication. It’s not just a means by which they can post their rhetoric and have it stick, no matter what. In fact, this blog (which gets cross-posted to the Amazon.com page for ULBG) and that page itself (by way of comments) provide a means for me to respond to these criticisms. And so I’m doing just that.
As noted, I believe people should speak their mind if they have a valid point to make. But what’s bothered me about some of these recent reviews is that the criticism is far from constructive and in some cases is downright laughable in its content. Take, for instance, one of my favorite recent examples:
“Is that all? An Ok book, but I was hoping that the author would go into greater details.”
Yup, that’s it. That’s the entire review. What I find ironic is that the reviewer complains that the book doesn’t go into enough detail but fails to provide any details about what details my book doesn’t go into!
The other thing that bothers me is when the reviews contain false or highly misleading information. Take, for instance, the review posted today (Mar 16, 2008):
“This book doesn’t have any diagrams or projects to build. It’s just a book that gives general advice, such as- have your lego organized so that you can build with it. It was a huge waste of money!”
The first sentence of this review is completely false. In fact, the book contains the complete instructions for a minifig scale train station, a sphere sculpture and a mini space shuttle orbiter. (And there are further complete model plans posted on my website (www.apotome.com) It does, as noted, contain a lot of general advice, basic construction and engineering knowledge and yes, most definitely tips on organizing your LEGO collection. But the initial statement, made in the review, is not only misleading but it’s completely inaccurate. It’s as though this reviewer flipped through the book at a store, got what they thought was an idea of its contents, and wrote their review based on that. That’s the only explanation I can think of. Because if this person had actually read the book they’d have seen the instructions for the models I note above.
So to those reviewers I make the following suggestion… by all means, tell us how you feel about a book, good or bad. But please be prepared to back up negative comments with facts, examples and suggestions for improvement. Otherwise, your review simply serves to steer people away from a book that they might find they enjoy for reasons other than the misleading statements you’ve posted.
To anyone reading this, I humbly ask for your help. I’m hoping that some long-time fans of ULBG might take a few minutes in the near future to leave a review on Amazon.com to help offset some of these hit-and-run reviewers. (Note that of the last four, I have immediately commented to three of them and yet weeks later they have not taken the time or effort to respond. It’s sad that they feel justified in simply hurling mud at my book but aren’t prepared to stand behind their comments.)
I’m not looking for people to post unrealistically glowing reviews, but rather I’d really like to know what you liked about ULBG. Perhaps it would help to mention a few sections you found most interesting or useful after reading the book and by all means please do include suggestions for improvements. There may someday be a second edition of the book!
I put this request out there to all the ULBG readers who’ve contacted me, or who haven’t, and have read the book, since its release back in Sept 2005. It couldn’t have been this successful without you, and so it’s with great thanks in advance that I ask for your help now to keep the positive vibe alive for this little book.
For those of you who may be interested in leaving a review, here’s the link you’ll need to get started. Just scroll down to the section called “Product Details” where you see the sales ranking, release date and so on. There you’ll find the link that you click to leave a review.
Thank you very sincerely,