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Amazon Reviews, Stars, and When do you start trusting a book's rating?

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Tuffy the Dumptruck's picture Tuffy the Dumptruck
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A new book by a new author pops-up on Amazon. Rated: * * * * * Total ratings: ten. Okay, so the author's Mom, his wife, and his drinking buddies all think his latest work is shear, unadulterated genius. That's to be expected and perfectly understandable, right? Nothing really wrong with that. It's... kind of a given that a certain impartiality just isn't present in those first few reviews.

So... How many Amazon reviews are necessary before you think a true average rating is achieved? 20? 50? 100?

I personally take with a very small grain of salt any rating with less than, say 25 ratings, and I totally discount any reviews - as well as ratings, blurbs, etc. - by other authors. Quid pro quo is S.O.P. in the land of authorship - "You review mine, and I'll review yours." The mutual "Let's give each other 5-stars" is unstated but implicit, particularly in new writers trying to make a name for themselves.

At what point do you trust a rating? Do you look at them at all? Thoughts?

edit: I'm not calling *anyone* out; I just got to thinking about this in general.