Monday, December 24, 2012

Is the Noose Tightening Around Harriet Klausner? NY Times Article

It was inevitable that Harriet Klausner would eventually draw the attention of the mainstream media as more intense scrutiny is focused on Amazon and its reviewing practices.  It happened on December 23, 2012,  in the New York Times article, “Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars?  Amazon May Cull Your Review” by David Streitfeld.

This piece identifies Klausner as part of the reviewing problem on Amazon’s website.  In it, Streitfeld says:

“The dispute over reviews is playing out in the discontent over Mrs. Klausner, an Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer for the last 11 years and undoubtedly one of the most prolific reviewers in literary history.”

One of the most prolific reviewers in “literary history”—not Amazon history (where the controversy rages), but the history of literature.  Ouch!  Obvious overstatements are often used to cast doubt on an underlying statement. We all know that Klausner's place in the history of literature wouldn’t make a ripple in a thimble full of water.

Klausner is mentioned 10 times in the article and about one-third of it is devoted to her.  She points to Harlequin Romances as the reason that she can read 7 books in a day.  This statement is as disingenuous as it is misleading.  Harriet reviews comic books, graphic novels, science fiction, westerns, biographies, non-fiction, manuals, self-help books, and many other genres.  In fact, most of the romances that Klausner reviews are not Harlequin Romances.   Her reviews for Harlequin are only a minor percentage of her “reviewing” output.

Streitfeld notes that 99.9% of Harriet’s reviews are four and five stars and that her husband Stanley even says Harriet is soft on her ratings.

What does Harriet say in her final defense?  “Get a life.  Read a book.”  Yeah, another compelling argument to believe what she says.

Our thanks to you, Mr. Streitfeld, for your revealing and excellent article.  Kudos!

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