Each of our reviews, scores, and rankings is derived from our proprietary Ranking Criteria™. We do not have any relationships with companies that guarantee position, rank or score—and we never will. Like many sites, we are compensated through affiliate relationships with each company we review; however, our Ranking Criteria™, along with real customer reviews from people like you, ensure we remain honest and unbiased. Read on to discover more about how user review moderation and expert scoring is processed or select an industry to see our full ranking criteria.

How we rank for

10% Types of Books

Online Bookstores will offer a few options (in terms of book style) for interested consumers. The three choices we will be focusing on will consist of: Print, Audio and E (electronic) books. Those bookstores that offer all three, will score higher than those who do not.

10% Book Selection

This criterion takes into account the quantity of books available as well as the variety of categories. Those bookstores who have larger quantities will score higher as they provide more options for interested consumers.

11% Membership Fees

Membership fees can vary in price but can also vary in perks. Those who offer little to no membership fees will rank higher than those who charge. We definitely keep in mind that membership fees come with perks so we reward those with better loyalty programs in our criteria.

6% Book Reviews

Reviews come in handy when you want another opinion on a specific book. Though critic reviews are very popular, we will actually be focusing on editorial and consumer reviews for scoring purposes.

  • Editorial: This allows the author or publisher of the book to leave additional information. This might include product description, author information, review responses etc. This creates a place where the editor and consumer can correspond about the book.
  • Consumer: This allows any reader to leave a comment on the book. This could be useful if you want an overall opinion of what other readers thought of the book. This will also give you (the consumer) the opportunity to leave a comment once you have purchased a book as well.

6% Loyalty Program

Once you find your bookstore you don’t want to waste time signing up for another one, so why not be rewarded for going back to the same one? Loyalty programs are a great way to keep a customer happy. We take a look at:

  • Coupons and/or promotions that are offered.
  • Rewards that are offered specifically to members or ‘loyal’ customers. This might include: free shipping, discounts, newsletters, etc.

10% Return Policy

It is always a sign of great customer service, when there is a grace period for returns. Keeping in mind that books are sometimes purchased for gifts and/or people simply change their mind on the purchase, having a period of time to return the book for a refund is nice for the customer. The longer the grace period, the higher the score.

8% Resale Program

Resale programs are great, especially for students. It allows them to temporarily use the book and return it for cash. We take into account if the online bookstore will buy the book back and what the conditions are.

4% BBB Rating

Although not a perfect indicator, and sometimes biased (based on some things that we’ve seen in the industry), the BBB ranking is a very important data point for most consumers, and therefore we have given this a higher weight. Keep in mind that there are many companies that have very low ratings on their BBB score that are based on the industry they are in, and not consumer feedback.

15% Consumer Reviews

This site is designed to let consumers share their experiences. Given our expertise in the online book industry and the knowledge that we have gained over the years, we know that some of the most important opinions come from real customers. That is why we have allocated so much of our overall rating to the voice of our validated customer reviews. The Consumer Reviews Score is broken down into 3 metrics:

  1. The Average User Score
  2. Total Number of Reviews
  3. Total Number of Reviews in the last 12 months

These 3 metrics not only help us understand what consumers are saying, they also help us gain an understanding of volume and recency. All of which are critical to understanding the value of a company in the eyes of the consumer.

Note: this is different from the user score that is displayed on each company profile. The “user score” that is publicly displayed is the average of all user scores published for a given profile.

User Review Moderation

In order to prevent fake and misleading user reviews, TBC has a review moderation team specifically assigned to moderating all user reviews for all companies listed on the site. This team follows a very specific and strict moderation process that has been designed by gathering learning’s from mistakes other major review sites have made in the past.

This moderation process involves a “flag” system where a “flag” is assigned to each negative attribute associated with a user review. Too many flags result in a disapproval of a user review. Some of the things our moderation staff looks for and assigns potential flags to include:

  • Email Address verification of the user
  • IP Address duplication and region check
  • User Review semantic verification
  • Is the user an employee of the organization?
  • Is the user associated with a competitor of the organization?
  • Foul language of any kind
  • Relevance of the content pertaining to the company and the review

As you can probably tell, we take our user review moderation process very seriously. We believe accuracy and authenticity is critical when it comes to user reviews, and as a result we are constantly finding new ways to evolve our user moderation process to make it better. Please note that we do manually moderate each and every user review.

20% Expert Review

Along with the criteria points mentioned above, we take into account a variety of other factors that help determine the viability, stability and trustworthiness of a company. We conduct an extensive research process specifically tailored to the online book industry that considers many additional factors including:

  • Financial Standing of the organization
  • The number of industry experts and professionals on staff
  • The company’s ability to scale
  • Historical revenue/growth
  • Past and current lawsuits
  • Customer service and transparency
  • And much more.

We consider this Expert Review process a vital component of how we rank and review companies. As a result, the factors included are always changing, adapting, and updating. We also reserve the right to voice our expert opinions as a part of each review.


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