When visiting GalleyCat recently, I came across an article about one-star reviews being given for the late Robert Jordan's new release, A Memory of Light. A decision was made to release the hardcover copy January 8th with the ebook releasing in early April. This has made many readers very unhappy. Over 200 negative reviews have been placed on Amazon, the majority from those who have never read the novel.
This is Brandon Sanderson's explanation for the delay:
This is not my decision or Tor's decision, but Harriet's. She is uncomfortable with ebooks. Specifically, she worries about ebooks cutting into the hardcover sales. It isn't about money for her, as the monetary difference between the two is negligible here. It is about a worry that her husband's legacy will be undermined if sales are split between ebooks and hardcovers, preventing the last book of the Wheel of Time from hitting number one on either list. (Many of the bestseller lists are still handling ebooks in somewhat awkward ways.)
As the last books have all hit number one, she doesn't want to risk one of these not hitting number one, and therefore ending the series on a down note. (Even though each Wheel of Time book has sold more than its predecessor, including the ones I have worked on.) I personally feel her worries are unfounded, and have explained that to her, but it is not my choice and I respect her reasoning for the decision. She is just trying to safeguard Robert Jordan's legacy, and feels this is a very important way she needs to do so. After talking about the issue, we were able to move the ebook up from the originally planned one-year delay to instead come out this spring.
If there is a large group of readers who want to make a lot of noise and grab a publisher's attention, then Amazon is certainly the place to do it. But I'm curious, how do you feel about readers leaving one star reviews for a novel they have never read? If a publisher or author made you angry, would you show your disapproval with a negative rating even if you're rating the author/publisher and not the actual story?