Have You Checked Your Reviews at B&N Lately? (A Bunch of Gibberish Coming to a Book Near You)

Under my new book is a bunch of reviews that look like gibberish.  You can check my link to see what I mean.  Look at the reviews.  Most of it is utter nonsense.  I’m not even talking about “I hated this book” type of reviews.  These have nothing at all to do with the book, and it’s obvious.  It sounds like some school kids are doing this to “chat” with each other, but I have no way of verifying that’s what is happening.

I’ve flagged and reported the reviews to B&N.  But it doesn’t sound like B&N does much to respond.  I came across this thread on the PubIt boards.  I’m not the only person this is happening to.  Others are noticing it, too.  I thought I saw a thread on KB about this, but I can’t find it right now.

So I wanted to give everyone a notice that this is going on at B&N.  I don’t know what the answer is, except maybe to remove the book and put up a new version, wait and see if B&N will do something about it, or something else.  What I do know is that it’s hard to get a sales ranking back when you remove a book.

As if there wasn’t enough stuff going on out there to hurt the credibility of reviews, this is another hurdle hard-working, honest self-published authors are facing.  All I can say is self-publishing is not for the weak of heart.


  1. That’s the downside of indie publishing. Too many so-called writers just playing at being an author and trying to sabotage other authors.

    1. I don’t know if this is a case of other authors doing it or if it is school kids. However, there’s no denying that some indie authors are trying to hurt sales on other authors’ books. It’s sad, too. I wish everyone would be professional.

  2. Cyn Bagley says:

    I just saw a one star review on there that said one thing “go to hell.” I flagged it. Normally I leave them alone.

    1. That’s worse than the gibberish. What book is it? I’ll flag it, too.

        1. I flagged it and down voted it. Is it possible you have someone who put that there because they didn’t like you? Abuse in a review shouldn’t be tolerated.

  3. jerrydunne says:

    Hi Ruth,
    I thought comments were checked out before they were allowed up, and if comments such as those found on your comments sheet did get through that your complaints would be taken seriously and the rubbish removed. But I see what the problem is from that posting you linked to. Their software has a glitch in it that allows the comments software to be used as a chatroom. God knows how the kids managed to find this out! B&N shold be sorting this out pronto,as it is damanging to their online brand name both for writers and readers. I’ll bet they’re very emabrrassed by it and are working on it. But meanwhile, you have to get that gibberish off the comments sheet. One thing you could do is to contact them again, saying how you understand that any software can be taken advantage of, and that you and your readers and they are in this together, so please can they sort out your problems quickly as you are a professional (like them Hint! Hint!). You can go on to give them stronger hints that they should get their act together by telling them how this news is spreading over the blogs and chatrooms and many writers and readers are growing very concerned about B&N’s lack of response…. and so on.
    Well, you see what I’m getting at.
    Good luck with it!

    1. I wish they would check comments again.

      I can see it being a glitch in a software. I hadn’t considered that. I’ve asked a couple of people to report the reviews and have already contacted PubIt. In a few days if there’s more of those, I’ll have to go back and email again, and when I do I’ll mention the software glitch possibility. I could also link to places where I find others mentioning this issue on other books.

  4. yeah, I have a few on some of mine. one is a one star that says ‘What is this book about?” and another is “is his book suitable for thirteen year olds?” They’re both older and I’ve flagged them but they’re still there and i figure it’s selling anyway so oh well. But a huge pile of them could cause someone a real problem.

    1. A 1-star asking those questions doesn’t make sense since you can’t even comment under reviews, but it’s still annoying. Which book is this to? I’ll flag it and down vote it. All I know is that I can vote down these things to push them further down so the actual reviews can have greater visibility to people who want to learn more about the books.

  5. M T McGuire says:

    For what it’s worth I had that happen on a WordPress blog of mine. I was able to block the IP addresses the comments came from so they couldn’t post any more. It all stopped. I can’t help thinking that if WordPress could do this 5 years ago, Barnes & Noble could do it now…

    Good luck.



    1. I’ve gotten a couple weird comments on WordPress, and thankfully, that’s easy to avoid. You’re right. There’s no reason why B&N shouldn’t be able to correct the issue easily.

  6. JoanReeves says:

    This happened to one of my books last year. The posted “review” sounded like a couple trying to set up a hookup or something. I notified B&N. They NEVER removed it.

    1. Same thing here. Sounds like a “furry” chatroom with prople talking about animal traits and names. I’ve reported and flagged them twice, but got no response. It’s annoying, but at least it’s only on one of my titles, and it is a free book, so it isn’t affecting downloads.

      1. I keep hearing that notifying B&N and flagging it doesn’t work. I think I’m going to remove it from sale through PubIt and let Smashwords upload it.

  7. conspiracyqueen says:

    I’m learning about all kinds of things. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Wow! Right before I go Indie, the self-pub worlds seems to be going crazy.


    1. It seems that as soon as you figure out one thing, another pops up. I don’t blame any author for going with a publisher. In fact, I think I’m going to try going that route next year when I finish a book I can submit. When you self-publish, you have to wear all the hats, and you have no advocate in your corner to act as a buffer between you and the bookstores like Amazon and B&N. Don’t get me wrong. I love self-publishing. But I’m thinking of trying a couple of books with a publisher while still self-publishing so I can get some relief for some of my titles.

  8. I am so sorry about all the trouble you are having. Man, one thing after another. May God give you strength to stand all of this. It looks like something went wrong. I wonder why Barnes and Noble does not keep on top of everything better. Rainy day. Hope you are doing well. God bless.

    1. We all have things we have to deal with. What you think is a simple process can turn out to be more complicated than it needs to be. I hope your book is up there soon.

  9. Barb says:

    When I checked the link to B&N in your blog, the numbers in parentheses showed 10 reviews, but only two reviews appeared on the page, and clicking on the stars didn’t make more reviews appear. The lower starred reviews, simply stated: No text provided. So, I’m not sure if I connected to the wrong page, or if they’ve removed the offending text. I’ll help flag them, if I can find them.

    1. This was after Stephannie Beman contacted them and got the reviews removed. I’m waiting for the stars to reflect how many reviews are actually there. I figure that will occur in a day or two. It boggles my mind what caused it in the first place. It probably was a software glitch.

  10. For those of you who are having this problem, I’m going to share with you what I did on Ruth’s book (I haven’t seen the problem on my books and I didn’t think it would hurt to try in on hers).

    After flagging the reviews as spam and voting them down, I emailed B&N’s customer service http://www.barnesandnoble.com/customerservice/contactus/ and reported that I thought some kids where using the review section of the book (provide link to the book) as a chat room board. They asked me for all the sign in names on Monday so I copied and pasted all the bogus reviews into the email and sent it to them. They wanted me to call them, but when I checked on the reviews they were gone.

    I think contacting them or having someone else do it for you will help remove reviews that as spam or off topic. I hope this helps those that are having this problem.

    1. I did contact them and never got a response, so Stephannie got more than I did. Maybe it’s because you were more detailed than I was. An author emailed me to let me know after she flagged her reviews, they were removed in a week. I don’t know what makes B&N look at some books but not others. Overall, it looks like most books aren’t dealt with over there. I miss the days when B&N had to check a review before posting it.

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