Friday, May 22, 2015

The market for early book reviews: commercial, crowd sourced, and bootleg

My book, Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design isn't due to be published until June 2.  But there are already some reviews, from commercial reviewers (Kirkus Reviews), from crowd sourced  reviews from Amazon, and at least one of what looks like a bootleg review from someone writing for Newsweek Europe, who may have ignored the label on the boxes of books warning folks to respect the June 2 "publication date" (the books will be in stores by then, so they are floating around).

The Amazon reviewing process is through what they call Vine Customer Review of Free Product, which they describe as follows:

"Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions. Amazon invites customers to become Vine Voices based on their reviewer rank, which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers. Amazon provides Vine members with free products that have been submitted to the program by participating vendors. Vine reviews are the independent opinions of the Vine Voices. The vendor cannot influence, modify or edit the reviews. Amazon does not modify or edit Vine reviews, as long as they comply with our posting guidelines. A Vine review is identified with the green stripe Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program."

They classify the reviews as positive or critical, so far there are 15 positive and 1 critical, here's the critical one:
Showing 1-1 of 1 reviews (critical)show all reviews
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free ProductWhat's this? )
Note: Advance Reading Copy

Alvin E. Roth, Nobel Prize laureate in economics has written a comfortable and conversational book explaining complex concepts of market design for the lay person. A more apt title, I think would be Problems, Challenges and Solutions in Market Design or Marketing Design for Dummies. “Who Gets What and Why” makes this book sound simple. It is not. It is also not for every casual reader with a mild curiosity.

Dr. Roth defines and explains the new economics of market design which he says brings science to matchmaking. He shows how market design helps solve problems that existing market places haven’t been able to solve naturally.

The author discusses his design of clearing houses for markets that are not commodity markets like: the kidney exchange; the medical labor market; new labor markets for Ph.D.s in economics and school choice systems in New York and Boston.

He defines the challenges and solutions and explains that to achieve efficient outcomes, market places need to make markets:

Thick: Those with enough potential transitions available at one time.
Congested: Enough time for offers to be made and/or accepted or rejected.
(and) Safe to participate in.

He defines matching markets where one can’t just choose, but must also be chosen.
He gives concrete examples to explain his concepts like attributes of three different kinds of restaurants. He discusses design inventions to make markets smarter, thicker and faster.

This book is detailed. It reads like Dr. Roth has taken pains to be clear about those details.

For more in dept discussion of market design you can watch Dr. Roth’s lecture at Stanford University on the web.

Thos book is not for everyone, but is worth the effort to gain new insight and understanding of markets and “Who Gets What.”

No comments: