Posts Tagged by #amazonfail
|February 1, 2010||Posted by annathepiper under Publishing|
I spent most of this weekend at the filk convention Conflikt, and that was great fun, but even as a bunch of geeky music was going on I kept an eye on the kerfuffle that exploded between Amazon and Macmillan. The issue at hand appears to be the pricing of ebooks, and as an ebook author, this is of course Relevant to My Interests.
The issue as I understand it is that Amazon and Macmillan are having a huge dispute about how much ebooks ought to cost. Macmillan is aiming for a variable pricing structure from $14.99 down to as low as $5.99, whereas Amazon is standing adamant about $9.99 as a price point. (Side note: since a lot of the ebooks I buy tend to run lower than even $9.99, even when purchased on Amazon, the nuances of the ebook pricing structure are still a mystery to me. But I digress.) They couldn’t reach an agreement, and so Amazon up and pulled all Macmillan titles out of its database, not only the ebooks, but the print titles as well.
To wit, whoa.
Amazon has since capitulated but as of this morning, Macmillan authors are still reporting that new copies of their works are still not available for purchase on Amazon. And the agents I’m seeing chime in on the matter are pretty sure this isn’t over yet by a long shot. I’m still thinking hard about what I want to do about this, if anything. I’ve seen a lot of people asserting that this has been the last straw for them, and that they will cease doing any further business with Amazon; I’ve seen several authors now go and pull all links to Amazon’s pages for their works off their sites.
It’s just one great big mess, and I’m hoping it’ll settle itself out soon. ‘Cause again, Relevant to My Interests. Drollerie is tiny enough that I can’t exactly tell people not to buy Faerie Blood or Defiance on Amazon, if that’s where they want to buy it–especially given that neither of these titles have shown up on Barnes and Noble’s site yet, and Fictionwise doesn’t have Defiance, either. But man, it’s making me inclined more and more just to point folks directly at Drollerie’s own store. Where we don’t have any DRM anyway!
Link roundup, for those of you who want to see more on the matter:
- Agent Nathan Bransford has a good summation here
- John Scalzi is less than pleased
- Tobias Buckell goes into the differences between what print books cost and what ebooks cost, which is good reading if you want a handle on why ebooks might not necessarily be as cheap as you think they should be
- Charles Stross is also less than pleased, but attempts to provide an outsider’s guide to the fight
- And agent Kristin Nelson does a quick overview of what exactly Amazon and Macmillan have themselves said on the matter
- ETA: Agent Jennifer Jackson chimes in with her own link roundup and reactions
- ETA: And a kerfuffle of this magnitude just wouldn’t be complete without a word (or many!) from Fandom Wank!
- ETA: Scott Westerfeld has a good summation, and I think that by and large I agree with his analysis
- ETA: An interesting counterargument suggests that even if Amazon is the one who had to capitulate here, they’re still going to win this fight
Again, whoa. This is me over here in the corner, munching popcorn and waiting to see how this all plays out.
|April 14, 2009||Posted by annathepiper under The Internet|
Okay, so as of today the prevailing winds of opinion on the Net appear to be hitting three major points:
- It’s nice that Amazon did acknowledge their error, although from scattered reports I’m picking up, not everybody has had their previous sales rankings restored. I have not yet been able to confirm any specific de-ranked books that haven’t been restored, myself.
- It’s not nice that Amazon hasn’t actually come right out and said “we’re really, really sorry about this, yes, this was a screwup of the highest order”. I’ve seen at least one author outright demanding an apology since her writing is her only source of income, and Amazon screwing this up therefore adversely affected her.
- It’s also not nice that the mechanism for hiding items globally is there to begin with. Charles Stross ably expressed concerns about this over here.
|April 12, 2009||Posted by annathepiper under The Internet|
So as I was waiting for Norwescon to wind down, I settled in to hang out in the lobby and check in online. And I found that the Internet has apparently exploded this afternoon. Yeah yeah yeah, I hear you say, isn’t the Internet always exploding about something or other?
This one, though, is personal. They’re calling it #amazonfail on Twitter, and here’s the sitch: apparently Amazon has started de-ranking books on “adult” topics. This has the effective result of making books so quantified very, very hard to find on the site; it’s the equivalent of pulling them off the shelves in a physical bookstore and forcing people to go to the Customer Service desk to ask for copies.
The problem? By “adult”, they’re including a whole host of GBLT-themed books, many of which aren’t “adult” in theme at all, such as Heather Has Two Mommies and John Barrowman’s autobiography. To add insult to injury, if you search for “homosexuality” on Amazon right now, the top hit is something called A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. Books of similar nature also show up in the top ten search results.
And this hits me where it hurts. Those of you who have read Faerie Blood know that two of the second-tier characters are a male couple, and should I get to write Books 2 and 3, chances are good that a couple of the other second-tier, female characters will form a couple as well. So if this policy of Amazon’s remains in place by the time Faerie Blood comes out, it’s certainly possible that you’d have a hard time finding the book there.
While I respect the principle of needing to be careful with adult content on a site that can be searched by minors, I am deeply offended that what’s getting called “adult” in this case is so blatantly discriminatory. I’ll be telling them as much, and I’ll be prepared to take my business elsewhere if this policy does not reverse itself pronto.
Pertinent links I’ve found so far include:
For those of you on Twitter, follow the #amazonfail hashtag. There’s also a petition you can sign if you choose to here.
ETA: Since I’ve been asked on Facebook, here’s a quote from dearauthor.com about how to express your opinion on this matter to Amazon:
Amazon executive customer service email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and the customer service phone number is 1-800-201-7575.