General Question About An Element 2 Amazon

So obviously I post a lot of reviews on Amazon, as we all do. However, has anyone heard of the program Amazon Vine? I have never heard anything about it before this, but Amazon contacted me about joining, I’m assuming because of the amount of reviews I do. Hopefully though this means that Amazon will let me review a little more liberally when it comes down to the fact that the book I am reviewing was not bought on Amazon (cause they never are). And, I guess for the most part they have let me review most books I read- while there have been some times I can’t post a review, for the most part, they have let me place the last couple Bookishfirst book and I know people were complaining that they were having a hard time posting on Amazon. Has anyone else ever had Amazon contact them about this program- the Vine or Amazon Vine? I knew absolutely nothing about it before this, not even of its existence. I’m just looking for a little advice or guidance on it as there isn’t much on the site and the tax info is complicated. And that’s the first thing you fill out, almost like your application- a tax withholding form, I believe. And most of you guys are so knowledgeable about everything Amazon??

I got the same offer after posting my review on A Multitude of Dreams. I’ve never heard of Amazon Vine either.

Did you reply? I actually filled out the form and from what I understand the program seems pretty cool. But, after you get over $600 in items, from what I understand you pay a 20% of fair market value items tax to the government. And they actually value ARC’s at 99 cents which, while it may be cheap is really unfair. I mean that an ARC of Harry Potter- a first (really, first, first, edition as the ARC is worth absolutely nothing. None of the famous books are- like a John Grisham, A Time to Kill (as the first edition is worth 5,000 when I looked about 20 years ago). All this is a hobby, not work for me. I even write columns in free and low cost newspapers and don’t get paid. If you look up how they pick Vine members I guess they choose people whom customers tell them that a review helped- so Amazon customers value your reviews and that’s why they pick you. But I also read that the #1 reviewer from Amazon gets all kinds of free stuff but she gets death threats from jealous people. While I knew reviews were important, I didn’t know they were the difference between hundreds and thousands of dollars in sales- it’s crazy really. The Internet seems so small when I am on it but it really is this huge thing connecting the whole world that I just can’t even conceive. I don’t know if we are allowed to chat like this on the forum and if anyone is offended or we’re not allowed to talk like this, let me know. Thanks. I just really like talking to all my fellow reviewers and I wish we could communicate more, have more of a social network here like Facebook- maybe one day at that is a lot of work to set up and what we have is quite nice.


I haven’t looked into it further. I enjoy reading and if my reviews help others, that’s great. Like you, I do this for fun, not for work. Also, I am hesitant to get into Vine without knowing more. I don’t want to get a bunch of products I would never use normally and feel that I have to review them.

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Wow! While I totally understand where you are coming from, you are stronger than I! But, its been a long time since I was able to get anything for myself, really. And it feels like I was working toward something, maybe this is it? But, I don’t know how my type of reviewing will translate to products because, as you can see, I am a typer/ an online over- sharer. While people may want to read book reviews that are always at least a page and a half to three pages, when it comes to products, IDK if others will want two pages on my story about the shaver I bought for my husband. Part of the reason I write print columns is for the limits. And it has been hard progress to say what I want in 400 words, a def. learning experience. But, I can’t help but want to try it, at least, for some time. You are right though, I need to control what I spend there and watch that I don’t buy something just to buy it. However some of the things there my house has a real need for. I just have to stick to buying more necessary things, other than luxury items I want just to want. Thank you for sharing your story as it gave me some sage advice! One thing I did find out though, in the beginning, the 1099 form you fill out let’s the government know you are “self-employed” with Amazon. And then, with how taxes go, over $600 bought (and Amazon prices things with FMV, a fair market value but it looks like vitamins and medical things don’t count as many are priced 0), you pay around 20% taxes. And while it can be helped with deductions (like donating), for the first time I may be paying the government more $ than I ever planned. Which means too, you are essentially buying things for a lesser price and paying the government later. And that makes this a whole bigger issue- whether I can afford to do this and if I am buying all these things I don’t really need, in the end I am going to have to pay something for them. I just need to exert some self control- which is always hard for me. This, in the end, could be a nightmare. So you are right to proceed with caution- I envy you cause this is hard for me!

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I’d love to learn more about the Vine program! I write LOTS of reviews (all for books), and have tried to find information on the site to no avail. I also tried contacting Amazon, but they never responded or provided any info. As a reviewer, I get lots of books for free (NOT from Amazon, directly from authors/publishers and reviewer services). Please keep sharing Vine info. Is it just for books, or for reviewing products as well?

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No- its for all products. But, I don’t think they are ever going to let me choose books as I don’t even have a selection like that in my account. I have no idea why or how they picked me. They just sent the invite and honestly, I really didnt know what I was doing at first, I had never heard about the program. The one thing I have read is that they pick people whose reviews are helpful to others, so I guess people found my reviews helpful, which shocked me- and I am beyond honored about it. I write long, long reviews and to think a lot of people stuck around and liked them- I am touched. Not that a long review is what helped- I have no idea. But, there is no contact you talk to about the vine program. I think its a little like a golden ticket. The worst thing that you feel is that it will go away though- that you open your account and then poof, its gone. And then you start to question whether people will like your reviews still, if Amazon will- and all I wrote was book reviews and I dont know if long product reviews will translate. As you can tell, I am long winded. Since the program it has also taken time off my book reading too. Hopefully Ill find a happy medium. The worst thing however is the taxes. The first thing Amazon has you do is fill out a 1099 form. So you are now self employed for them. And then all the products you choose have a fair market value by Amazon, usually the cost. At the end of the year, they add up your total FMV and then you pay the government about 20% taxes. Are Vine members really quiet about this stuff on social media? They really don’t talk about the program with others? Not talking is VERY hard for me. And I don’t want to keep talking on Bookish- you emailed me about the book group before, right? If you want, send me an email and we can talk. But, I dont think that you can do anything to get into the group, I can’t even tell Amazon anything and no one contacts me. But there really are positives and negatives and if you review long enough and do a good job and get into the group that gets higher priced merchandise, I mean your taxes could get horrendous- I saw some youtube videos. And I really am at a loss at what I am going to do about them cause this, I know, is going to conflict with some things. But, how can you pass it up and then- how can you do it and royally screw yourself? So there is this positive/negative appeal- and its terrible that famous people gets millions in free stuff at actual conventions but when the middle and lower class get it- they have the government with an open hand. And if you dont have my email, leave me yours- if you want to talk more. But I wish you the best with it all- I have always just remembered to be grateful for where I am at and what I have because, for no reason, one day Amazon could tell me this was over and there is nothing I can do to fix it. And if that happens- think about the sense of loss there would be- and if you never got to the bigger priced items- because there are no directions and you are there as long as your reviews remain helpful which, you never know. Really, I guess you know as much as I do- even the acceptance email they sent me a few days ago telling me I was a member was short and to the point. There is a little more direction on how you do levels but it’s brief, so- I mean, how did really long book reviews I thought people might never read get me there? Your guess is as good as mine. But I think hearts and helpful checks help- And really the Vine, I found out started with just books and book reviewers. So maybe I was some old school pick, like- lets bring one of them back. I was reading an article by a journalist who was in this first book reviewer group and the first product, he said, was beef jerky. And then he got an email thanking him for his service and it was over- that was it.

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Sorry, it’s for products and books are there, I think, as they say the FMV of an ARC is 99 cents (nice, right)- but I have never seen a book and there is no book category in my choice thing of products so I think they might have blocked me from getting them as I get enough of them anyway. But then I really don’t know, never real know and Amazon isnt telling. But other people can get books, I can’t though.

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Yeah, I got that and decided to try it about a year ago. There’s only certain things offered, it’s not for the whole website worth of stuff. I’ve only seen one or two books offered in that time. Mostly more for other products, but I did get a few things to try that I probably wouldn’t have bought otherwise.

Can u just give a quick explanation of what Amazon Vine is?

HI, I can’t tell if anyone has responded to you yet. In case not, it’s my understanding that the Vine program is for Amazon reviewers that their company feels write worthwhile reviews for which other customers give a useful vote. You may receive occasional samples of products which might include a book. You are then expected to post a useful review that includes enough details to be helpful to other customers.

Okay, thank you for clarifying. I was a little confused.