Tales from the Sith Witch - The Official Blog of Julie Ann Dawson

Author Ethics Series

March 15, 2012

Bookplex: Why Honesty, REAL Honesty, is the Best Policy

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Claiming honesty and BEING honest are two different things. This is a point often missed by politicians, and equally overlooked in the indie community at times. Take the case of Bookplex.com as an example. Bookplex is another one of those places that sells reviews, promising that you will get five “honest and unbiased” reviews of your work for $45.



On December 22, 2011, a user by the name of akshhat posted a thread in a forum I frequent posted the following question:


I am a new self-published author and looking to get reviews for my book. The best option is to approach book bloggers but most of them are flooded with requests that they simply reject review requests or take ages to review the book.
I came across 2 websites – thebookplex.com and bookrooster.com which offer reviews for your book but they charge a price. However both assure that the reviews will be unbiased and reviewers write only honest reviews.

So can anyone provide me a feedback which one should i opt for?
Bookrooster has been for a long time but many complaint that they have started taking months to get reviews and their customer support has been pathetic.

TheBookplex is very new and there arent much feedback available. However they post reviews on many places against bookrooster’s just amazon. They looked more professional but charge more than bookrooster.

Can any1 help me on this?


Sounds like a simple question, right? A new author asking for advice about review services. Anyone who frequents writer forums sees questions like this all the time. But one astute member noticed something amiss and pointed out that the person ASKING the question had also PROMOTED Bookplex in a different thread, stating “The Bookplex is a new website started by me to cater to the needs of reviewers, authors and readers.”


So in one post we have the poster promoting his new service, and in another we have the same poster pretending to be a neutral third party asking questions about the service.


About that whole “honesty” statement…


Oh, but wait! There is more.



On February 4th someone named book_demon12 started a thread promoting a contest giveaway on Bookplex. Again, no problem. You are running a contest. You want people to know about the contest. The site has a strict “bumping” policy. You may only bump your thread once a week. You are, however, allowed to respond to other people’s posts. A moderator specifically posted the forum rules to the thread (this is the norm on the site as a courtesy to all).


This is important. Pay attention to what happens next.


Later in the day someone with the username akshhat94 posted to the thread saying that it sounded interesting and thanks for sharing. So obviously the next day the OP posted a reply thanking akshhat94 for his interest.


Oh, does akshhat94 sound familiar to you? It should. Particularly because in akshhat94’s signature line, there is a banner ad PROMOTING BOOKPLEX!


About that whole “honesty” statement…

Now during this entire fiasco of sock puppetry, our pal akshhat94 was adamantly defending Bookplex in a couple of other threads that pointed out that the Amazon TOS specifically prohibits paid reviews. In one thread the poster personally started, he complained that one of his clients was insulted by Amazon forum users who accused her of collusion in regards to her book reviews. In his words “The general notion that is fast spreading is that Indie Authors are promotion hungry and will steep to any level to promote their books even if it is against ethics”


Go ahead. Absorb that for a minute. THIS STATEMENT from a person who SELLS REVIEWS and creates SOCK PUPPETS to promote his site.


About that whole “honesty” statement…

  1. Paying for reviews seems nuts to me.

    Comment by Rogue Mutt — March 16, 2012 @ 9:29 pm
  2. I’m 99 percent sure that Akshhat can be found an various boards frequented by authors, including Goodreads, and is annoyingly persistent in try to get us to join this or that. Best to igore!

    Comment by Mainewriter — April 7, 2012 @ 4:26 pm
  3. You know, a while back someone suggested that I might apply to be a reviewer for bookplex in order to get some side cash and to practice my reviewing technique. This sounded great to me–I’d be getting paid for something I would do for free anyway and my fledgling blog might get more traffic. So I did, and for the most part I’ve been content. It hardly pays anything but at least I get new reading material. However, a little while into my job I did notice similar trends to the ones you mentioned. No, while there’s nothing wrong with promoting your company, a Bookplex employee pretending to be an author with a problem is absurd. If they wanted feedback on their program they should’ve dropped the ruse and posted as themselves.

    All that being said, I will say that I’ve only written honest reviews (some of which have been very negative) and so far none of my reviews have been turned down. So in that area they seem to be fairly honest. Though I have noticed quite a few of their reviewers seem to give EVERYTHING a glowing review. In that regard, it is a tad suspect. From my experience however, anything suspect would be on the reviewers parts as I’ve have written negative reviews and not been asked to revise or change anything. So I suppose you’re right—it is like politics. There’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Comment by Luna — June 13, 2012 @ 7:43 pm
  4. Just to add to the discussion…I approached this Bookplex to pay for 5 reviews of my indie book. I had no idea that this practice was frowned upon within the industry and even banned by Amazon. I now have mixed feelings about the fact that they never even carried out those reviews…phew! A close shave for me. I’ve lost the money but perhaps kept something even more valuable – my integrity. However, I must say that, at the time, I didn’t think it was wrong to do this. I honestly thought this was okay and that I’d receive HONEST reviews for my work. I guess I’m naive or thick?

    Comment by NW — October 10, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

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