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Amazon flexes

Last night while I was playing Dominion with my family, Amazon yanked the Kindle editions for a great many books from their website. At the time no one was sure why, but according to the NYTimes, they’re demanding new contract terms from a distributor and the erasure of all Kindle editions was muscle flexing. (Update: as pointed out on LJ, that article is from last February. Damn I feel dumb for not noticing that. This PW article reports that Amazon claims a “glitch” caused the removal of all those Kindle editions. The supposed glitch appeared to affect Big Six companies only, though, and there has been no explanation for that.)

An awful lot of authors lost impulse sales but, you know, boo hoo, right? Amazon is a private company who can do what they like with their website. If they want to take my books down, that’s they’re right.

What I can’t wait for is the reader backlash. How long are consumers going to put up with this bullshit? Yeah, Amazon wants lower prices, but what good is a low price if the book isn’t available to buy?

Kindles break. Kindles become obsolete. When it’s time for consumers to replace their old ereaders (or when the time comes to do some Christmas shopping), how many of them are going to stick with Amazon?

Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 9th, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
This is the fourth or fifth fucking time they've yanked my titles. I am not amused.

I have extracted a minor (childish) revenge in my next novel: look for the interestingly-named parasitic worms ...
Nov. 9th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
And your book will outlast Amazon, too.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 9th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
Sensible self-pubbed authors will venture outside Amazon's walled garden. If not right away, soon. I'm sure of it.
Nov. 9th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)
How have they managed to stay regulator proof?
I am waiting for them to be "disintermediated".
Nov. 9th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
Re: How have they managed to stay regulator proof?
People have been asking the Justice Dept to take a look at them, but these things are much slower than the usual internet-age processes they're supposed to regulate.
Nov. 9th, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
So that explains it. Last night I went to pick up a couple books by an author I like, ones I know come in Kindle format, and the Kindle page for it said a Kindle edition was currently not available. I kind of boggled but thought it was some weird glitch. I then went to go grab the other book instead, and got the same message on that page. I then pulled up the author by name, clicked over to her Kindle edition page for ALL her books, and they were all "Not currently available". I posted a question about it but got no reply. I did notice they are all back and available today though.
Nov. 9th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
It's going to keep happening as long as Amazon uses its store as a bludgeon against its own supply chain.
Nov. 9th, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
The date on that article is February...
Nov. 9th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)

Thank you for pointing that out. Now I feel profoundly dumb.
Nov. 9th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
You certainly weren't the only one. :)

I'm sure it was a glitch. When Amazon starts flexing muscles, they're more consistent about it (they didn't have any conflict with those specific companies) and they're more thorough. Not all titles from all affected publishers lost ordering info, and the results were kind of random anyway. Some prices were gone, some had territorial issues. And customer service did respond right away saying it was an error and they were trying to fix it.

A couple things to know about Amazon. They do catastrophic testing monthly, I believe. This means they yank a whole data center offline, without alerting the rest of the company. This is to test that they can afford to lose a data center. But sometimes they weren't quite ready for that... and you get weird results.

Also, all their divisions operate autonomously. So, independent groups manipulate portions of the database and interface, and sometime one group screws up (like when books with erotic content all got dropped from ranking lists -- someone was testing content rating).

There are a LOT of weird glitches at Amazon pretty often. It's a super complicated system always being remade. People who know about databases seemed to think something went wrong with importing information from the publishers, last night. I'd guess something like territorial rights.
Nov. 10th, 2012 05:21 am (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying.

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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May 2020


  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:47
    Oh, yeah, excellent point.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:46
    Oh yeah. Like the lawyers who get obvious really venal criminals off because it makes their success rate look good. But those are not the ones I am referring to in meaning well. These guys are mixed…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 20:37
    This reminds me of the time my wife was injured and the insurance guy handling her case did everything possible to deny and stall the payment. We had to put her surgery on a credit card because this…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:24
    The creepiest part is that some of them are actually well meaning.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:08
    Yeah. It's godawful what people will do when they have authority and no fear about using it.
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