July 20, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Amazon's #1 reviewer

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Thanks to The Millions for originally pointing this out...

Simon Owens of Bloggasm has a really great entry up right now, profiling the most prolific reviewer at Amazon, a woman named Harriet Klausner. Think you can catch up with her? Well, consider this -- that she's now published 12,000 reviews since 2000, which means that she's been reading an average of four books every day, seven days a week, for the last seven years straight.

Unlikely, you yell? Wait, it gets better; turns out that almost every single review she's written gives the book either four or five stars out of five, not to mention that most of her reviews are not much more than reprints of what's on the books' dustjackets. Fishy? You bet, which is what sent Owens out on a little investigative search, where he discovers that Klausner really is who she says she is, but still can't figure out why she does what she does. And that's where the article gets funny and interesting, is when Owens interviews various people in the literary industry about Klausner and her possible motivations; included in the interviews is author Tobias Buckell, Soft Skull's Richard Eoin Nash, and Booklist's Keir Graff (who intimates that maybe Klausner isn't a book fan at all, nor a paid shill for the industry, but rather suffers from obsessive/compulsive disorder, and is simply using Amazon as an outlet for it).

Anyway, it's a fascinating little look at a subject many traditionalists in the literary industry are dealing with these days -- the rise of litblogs and the customer review -- well worth your time if you have a few extra minutes to check it out. Definitely do so if you have the chance.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 8:02 AM, July 20, 2007. Filed under: Arts news | Literature |