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Amazon.com reviewers

  1. Jul 10, 2007 #1

    Simfish

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    Do you generally trust the reviewers of books on Amazon.com (especially textbooks)?

    Of course, it's very easy to see which reviewers are submitting poor reviews (hence providing a buffer against being influenced too much by such reviews). But on a side note - I have to note that a lot of the interviewers seem interesting. Some of them mention their educational backgrounds and the contexts that brought them upon such books. The Amazon.com reviews also remind me that self-motivated learners who read books independently of their classes are not extremely uncommon (as anyone who would come to my old grade school would ascertain - or even most people at my old university). Some of them even read textbooks on subjects as abstruse as general relativity - years after leaving academia.
     
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  3. Jul 10, 2007 #2

    VietDao29

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    No, I don't trust them entirely. Their opinions is good, but you have to judge it yourself, too. Don't rely much on them.

    Say, you can skim through all the reviews made by Amazon's customers to get a brief view of the opinion, to know the books' strong-points, and weak-points.

    It's very good of them, that Amazon also offer some sneak into most books. It allows you to look through the contents, and some first pages of the book, to get an idea. So, just skim through that book, and you can know if it really suits you, or not.
     
  4. Jul 10, 2007 #3

    JasonRox

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    I generally trust them if they have more than 3 reviews. I don't base my purchase on it, but it can influence whether or not I will if I'm sitting on the fence regarding the purchase.

    I like to read what the book is about too.

    Normally I find all the reviews to be the same. One of the reviews I read today mentionned how the Cantonese Pimsleur series does not speak authentic Cantonese. The other audio tapes sound pretty similiar to me. But then again, you shouldn't be learning from just one source. That's why I found free online audio lessons, bought a grammar book, and another audio learning device that can increase vocabulary and be a bit more challenging.

    It's honestly a slow process learning this, but for only 30 minutes a day, it's going quite well. I'd like to do one hour a day soon.

    Overall, just read the reviews. I don't care about their backgrounds though. I read the actual critique they have about the book.
     
  5. Jul 10, 2007 #4

    Moonbear

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    I'll look at the patterns among multiple reviews. I won't trust any single one of them, but if something keeps coming up over and over, then I'm more likely to believe it. With books, I try to look at what people write about the context of using it. If they are self-studying, that's a different perspective than someone in a course, or an instructor of a course. Different books are written with different audiences in mind, so the background of the person writing the review is important. But, as JasonRox put it, I'm not going to base my entire purchasing decision on the reviews, but if there are concerns raised in them, it might give me pause to do more research on the item before deciding to purchase, or to help choose between two otherwise similar sounding items.
     
  6. Jul 10, 2007 #5
    I trust the engineering library which has a copy of almost every book you can imagine. I look through it, and if its good I buy it on amazon. I dont trust what those people say sometimes. I had a terrible controls book, and all the reviews said, "this is such a great book, its so simple and leaves out messy derivations!" <Smacks forehead>
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2007
  7. Jul 11, 2007 #6
    Which one did you use? We used Ogata's.
     
  8. Jul 11, 2007 #7
    It was Nise, stay away....far awayyyyyyyyyy.

    Actually, its got some high points, but its also got some annoying LOWWWW points.
     
  9. Jul 11, 2007 #8
    For books, I tend to not put too much weight on the reviews although they sway the balance if I'm on the fence about a book. If I can find it at a local bookstore or i the library, I'm likely to check it out first and see if it's a book I want to add to my collection and then check out the reviews on Amazon to see what other people thought about it.

    When it comes to gadgets though, I tend to pay more attention to the lower ratings. You're more likely to read about the shortcomings or lack of features you were expecting in those reviews than you are in the 4-5 star ratings.
     
  10. Jul 11, 2007 #9

    JasonRox

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    Yeah, but according to you, your review is worthless. :approve:
     
  11. Jul 11, 2007 #10

    ranger

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    I usually preview books at my engineering library or I use Google Books before I buy.
     
  12. Jul 11, 2007 #11
    I also refer to external reviews. Because if I trusted A. reviews, I would only own books on ID :yuck:
     
  13. Jul 11, 2007 #12

    Moonbear

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    I do look at them and try to see if it's going to give me a clue about the shortcomings. But, I still take them with a grain of salt. A lot of what people call "shortcomings" are really problems with their own complete cluelessness in how to use what they bought. I'm more likely to look at issues on durability of a product, things like, "I only had it 2 weeks before X stopped working," or "It's a great product, but be careful of the connector to ..., it comes loose easily." Those tell me something about how the product holds up under a variety of conditions. When someone just writes, "Everything works okay, but it's SLOW," I tend to write off those comments without further research. Slow compared to what? Their misconceived expectations? Similar products they've tried? Is it the product, or the hardware they're connecting it to? So, the more specific the comments, the more helpful they are. If someone describes more about the conditions of their use of it, that helps too. I will pay more attention to a review that admits they are really rough on their belongings (tossed in a backpack every day to take to school, for example) and something didn't hold up under their abuse, than someone who says nothing about it (then I know if it's something I'm likely to be equally rough with, I will consider the review, but if I'm going to keep it in a place where it will be treated with care, then that's not one to worry about).

    With any review, I want to see enough information provided by the reviewer to evaluate their level of knowledge of how to operate the product (sometimes I want to know if the inexperienced user is the one having trouble). The more I know about how much they know, how they use it, and what their expectations were, and familiarity with similar products is, then that is more helpful than, "This really sucks!"
     
  14. Jul 11, 2007 #13
    PF reviews are ok, I just dont trust amazon. :tongue2:
     
  15. Aug 2, 2007 #14
    lol u guys are gonna love this. One time I was browsing various mp3 players and one of the reviewers wrote "I don't understand why anyone would want one of these, It doesn't play tapes, It doesn't play records, It doesn't play cd's. What the h*ll is this piece of crap supposed to play? Don't buy this unless you are one of the few tech geniusses who like these useless toys". It said the reviewer was 12 by the way. Lesson learned: Reviews can be helpful but keep in mind alot of ppl dont know what the **** they are talking about:biggrin::rofl:
     
  16. Aug 2, 2007 #15
    They said they wanted my opinion of a book, and I told them it wasn't worth anything. They said they wanted it anyway.
     
  17. Aug 2, 2007 #16

    Simfish

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    Oh, where are the PF reviews?
     
  18. Aug 26, 2007 #17
    I used Nise too. I agree....it was a hideous book.
     
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