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Trolls, Flamewars, and Harriet Klausner: Deep Inside The Strange World Of Amazon

Amazon pages aren’t the kind of thing you spend much time thinking about until you or someone you know publishes a book and then suddenly they become obsessively fascinating, in that ‘can’t look away from the car crash’ way. There are so many bells and whistles on Amazon pages now, it turns out. Not only can customers post reviews, you can comment on someone else’s review — this has been possible since Fall 2006, apparently, but it still seems crazy and newfangled to me. There are also customer community forums that have nothing to do with anything! You could spend hours lost in the wilds of Amazon, marveling at the people who have time to wade through multi-paragraph customer reviews in order to offer up pearls like “whenever publishers put out books about working class people they’re always drunks and sleeping with their siblings.” (This re: ‘Unaccustomed Earth.’) Commenters also like to impugn the realness of Amazon’s #1 reviewer, speed-reading retired librarian Harriet Klausner. Amazon: who knew it was quickly becoming one of the craziest places on the whole Internet?

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