erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
From Publisher's Weekly

After hinting for months now that it would not stock books from Amazon's relatively new publishing unit, Barnes & Noble made it official: it will not be carrying any titles from Amazon Publishing in its physical stores. In a statement released on Tuesday B&N said its decision "is based on Amazon’s continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent."

B&N went on to say in its announcement: "These exclusives have prohibited us from offering certain eBooks to our customers. Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content. It’s clear to us that Amazon has proven they would not be a good publishing partner to Barnes & Noble as they continue to pull content off the market for their own self interest. We don’t get many requests for Amazon titles, but if customers wish to buy Amazon titles from us, we will make them available only online at"
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Amazon Launches Christmas Attack on Local Shops

Apparently concerned that it's not already doing enough to undermine local physical retailers across the country, announced it will pay customers $5 to go into a local store, scan an item, walk out, and buy the same item on Amazon. Please don't do this cheap, sad thing.

To get the $5 discount, you're supposed to use Amazon's "Price Check" iPhone and Android app to scan in the bar code of an item and then indicate what price the item is being sold at. This gives Amazon valuable intelligence on how various retailers are pricing various items. "We scour online and in-store advertisements from other retailers, every day, year-round," an Amazon director said on All Things D. But now Amazon won't have to work so hard in the future, since hordes of consumers will (theoretically) sell out the merchants who pump sales taxes into their localities with sales taxes, all to save a measly five bones.

By all means use Amazon - they have amazing selection! - but there's no need to be a tacky jerk to your neighborhood store in the process. Unless that store is a Wal Mart, Target, or American Apparel, in which case go to town (by which we mean, go out of town).
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Read about Amazon's marketing insanity regarding e-books and how they accidentally (on purpose?) "lost" an indie bestseller from their website.

Those ebook readers may not work for downloading anything in most countries. They put a $2 surcharge on every book downloaded outside the US, if you can get them at all. Charming.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Now they want to give away ebooks for free.

Who the hell is going to pay the authors?

[ profile] yuki_onna tells it like it is. Go read her entry.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Amazon has an apps store. They have been featuring free apps and telling the public they're paying developers 20% of the usual price. Surprise, surprise. It's a lie. They're not paying the developers anything. And then they discount the app.

If you're picking up free apps from Amazon thinking that you're helping out the developers, you're not.

Highlights from the blog post:

What makes us mad though is the public perception that Amazon pays developers to be featured. Every single person we asked on Twitter or via email thought they were helping developers out, and getting a free application. Amazon does nothing to dispel these rumours, in fact they put really restrictive clauses at the bottom of their emails, saying that no one is even allowed to discuss these back door deals they are doing. But that’s not our only beef with Amazon:

Lengthy review times of anywhere up to 2 weeks (I’ve lost count of the amount of emails from people asking why our Google Market app is newer)

Amazon gets to set the price of your app to whatever they want, without any input from you, or even the chance to reject their price

Amazon re-writes your description, and in ours they even made up things like ‘add up to 100 podcasts’. No idea where on earth they got that number from

Amazon don’t provide error reports like Google do making it hard to fix errors

They don’t yet support Google’s new multiple APK initiative

Amazon pays far later than Google does, and to date we haven’t received any cheques from them, even though we are listed as being ‘payed’

US Only

Much less real-time sales information than Google

Update: (and this one surprised us) you can’t remove apps from their store! You have to ask them for permission via an email. Every other store lets you remove apps from sale.

Thanks again for being so sucktastic, Amazon.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
The Amazon antitrust lawsuit was settled out of court, with Amazon caving to the small presses.

At the same time, Amazon has been refusing to stock things from other pod publishers anyway. To quote Aaron Shepard's Publishing Blog (the link here):

This is very different from how Amazon has operated in the past. For some time now, Amazon has kept substantial stock on hand for all books that sold even marginally—about three weeks worth, the last times I tested it. More importantly, though, Lightning books out of stock at Amazon have still been listed as “in stock” with an availability status of 1-2 days. This has been based on Amazon’s practice of drop shipping such books from Ingram Book Company, as well as on Lightning’s ability to supply Ingram with the required books overnight. But Amazon apparently now feels that its drop shipping arrangement with Ingram is no longer essential or economical.

The situation has become more obvious as more and more Lightning books have gone out of stock. (I would have seen it much earlier myself if Amazon had not carelessly torpedoed Sales Rank Express some months ago.) Though some small publishers still cling to the hope that this is all due to a glitch, the chance of that seems less and less likely.

Lightning Source is aware of the problem, to the extent that it has developed a standard answer for reps to supply to client publishers:

“We are aware that Amazon has changed the availability of some LSI titles resulting in 1-3 week delivery status. Currently, we are continuing to look into the issue and are evaluating our options to address it. We will update you as soon as we have more information.”

Meanwhile, Amazon has been issuing this caveat to inquiring publishers:

“Please note that making your titles available through a wholesale vendor and/or distributor does not guarantee an ‘In Stock’ availability message on our site.”

The result of all this is that small publishers are seeing sales of some titles dwindle or even plummet due to poor availability. Interestingly, other titles with the same status seem to still be doing well—possibly due to good availability through Amazon Marketplace, or less need of quick delivery among that book’s prospective readers, or simply a more competitive position. Still, having your books show poor availability on Amazon is uncomfortable for any publisher (not to mention one like me, who publishes books about getting your books on Amazon!), and you would have to expect long-term effects, or at least want to prepare for such.

What does this mean to small presses? Amazon continues its attempts to monopolize the print on demand world despite the lawsuit, they're just doing it slightly more subtly. If you're publishing through small presses, working with and supporting Amazon is still shooting yourself and your publisher in the foot.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
I have a lot of creative friends -- artists, musicians, makers -- people who are often looking for that little extra boost to get their latest project off the ground. Many of them are using the crowdsourcing model that Kickstarter supports.

I love the idea. I even sometimes have money I can spare to donate to projects like this. Yet I cannot do it through Kickstarter. This is why:

Kickstarter works through Amazon.

Amazon is still in the middle of an antitrust lawsuit because they are attempting to force small presses to use their in-house print-on-demand publishing press. No Amazon POD, no sales through Amazon. That, at least, was the model they were attempting to force through a couple of years ago. That's the model they want.

Their prices are higher than other POD presses for the same product. Their quality is lower. They pay the presses and the authors less.

What this means is, Amazon wants to put all those small presses that I publish through out of business. No small presses equals no more books and essays from me. If I donate to you through Kickstarter, I am shooting myself as an author.

Don't be mistaken. I love you and would love to give you money. I'll even donate if you have a PayPal button on your site and I happen to have some money available. Yes, I know PayPal has its own set of issues, but it's not trying to put the people who publish me out of business. I can't justify helping you bring your project about by killing the presses who publish me.

Maybe, once the antitrust lawsuit is done, I might be able to use Kickstarter. If Amazon isn't given the legal authority to crush small presses with its policies.

In the meantime, consider offering more than one donation option. Please?
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Thanks to [ profile] ogam for the link, Amazon calls Macmillan a big meanie and agrees to sell their ebooks anyway.

Take that, Amazon. :P
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[ profile] yuki_onna talks about Amazon refusing to sell books from MacMillan or any of its subsidiary publishers (Tor, etc) here because MacMillan wants to set its own prices (horrors) on its ebooks rather than allowing Amazon to dictate its pricing practices.

And, as usual, it's readers who want to use Amazon to buy their books that end up getting scrod. Yet more proof that Amazon wants to be the sole book-dealer on the planet.
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You know those Kindle e-book readers? Yesterday Amazon deleted all copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from the Kindles of readers who had legally bought and paid for the e-books.

You think you own what you've paid for? Nuh-uh. The publisher decided they didn't want to sell e-editions any longer. Fair enough, but hey Amazon -- don't steal the ones that people have already bought from you, eh?

Big Brother is in your Kindle. And people wonder why I wouldn't touch one with a ten meter cattle prod. This is literally a case of wouldn't have one if they paid me.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
From [ profile] lupabitch -- Author of lesbian romances talks about ongoing troubles from Jan 2008.

Yeah, right. A glitch.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
I wanted to find out the status of the Amazon anti-trust lawsuit. The most recent post I could find about it was from March of this year and there is no real evidence that Amazon has changed its policies. The class action is still crawling along, as these things tend to do. It may be years before it comes out of the wash.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
From the Bi-Net USA list:

They're baaaack! Amazon restores sales rankings

NEW YORK - The missing sales numbers are coming back on

Two days after Amazon said a "glitch" had caused the sales rank to be dropped from thousands of books, the numbers returned Tuesday for Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain," James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room" and other notable titles.

the entire thing in all likely-hood REALLY was caused by a "perfect storm" of a (somewhat funny IMHO) programming error:

Amazon calls mistake 'embarrassing and ham-fisted'

. . . "It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. " . . . "some idiot editing code for one of the many international versions of Amazon mixed up the difference between 'adult' and 'erotic' and 'sexuality.' All the sites are tied together, so editing one affected all for blacklisting, and ta-da, you get the situation." . . . "A guy from Amazon France got confused on how he was editing the site, and mixed up 'adult,' which is the term they use for porn, with stuff like 'erotic' and 'sexuality.' That browse node editor is universal, so by doing that there he affected ALL of Amazon."

and that in yet another dim-witted corporate cost-cutting measure, had followed the lead of so many other American companies and "dumbed-down" and outsourced it's previously well thought of Customer Service Department:

Amazon: Epic Fail or Just a Glitch? The Failure of Scripted Contact Centers

If they hadn't decided to be so money-grubbing "penny-wise and pound foolish" this would have been caught by professional Customer Service personal when it began to creep in back in February. Wonder how THAT great cost-cutting idea is now looking back at Corporate Headquarters now, hmmm?
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Text from --

Last night, after finding out about the Amazon craziness, I immediately called my editor, Brooke Warner, over at Seal Press. (Especially because Full Frontal Feminism and Yes Means Yes were two of the books affected.)

She spoke to their Amazon rep today, and he told her it was definitely not a glitch. From Brooke's email to me:

Basically he said that amazon has been experimenting with the way they dole out content specifically so that people who are searching Harry Potter or whatever won't run into links to products that might be offensive.

...It's super fucked up, but apparently he's saying that Amazon is a bully when it comes to stuff like this and it's all about sales for them and it's not about censorship. [He said t]hat they love you, love Seal, but that this is mandated from their bosses, who essentially want to be Walmart.

...He also said no human is responsible for the decisions per se, and that it's all about tagging and feeds which are constantly being tweaked. He does think that amazon will retweak the tags based on the uproar that happened over the weekend.

It's also worth noting that some folks, like the fabulous Deanna Zandt, believe that the reps may not know what they're talking about. "I'm almost positive at this point that it was a scripted (automated) thing someone figured out how to exploit," Deanna told me via email.

So that's what I know so far. Will update this post again if I hear anything different...
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Wild Hunt today examined how the alleged Amazon "glitch" is also affecting Pagan books, particularly books on queer or sexual themes in Paganism.

Glitch or not, hack or not, Amazon has a history of backpedalling, denying, and deflecting whenever they do something that pisses people off. Let us not forget that they're still stalling around about the whole Booksurge print on demand monopoly issue, screwing small publishers and self-publishers with an eye only to their corporate bottom line.

Back as far as 2000, Amazon was busting attempts to unionize. Remember unions? The organizations that gave us 40 hour work weeks? Weekends off? Health and safety regulations? The end of child labor? Health insurance through our jobs?

Oh, right. We don't have most those things anymore. I wonder why.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Apparently the disappearing of queer content books is not new. It's been happening at least since February in greater or lesser degrees. I most sincerely doubt that this current issue is just a hack job, at least not in its entirety.

At any rate, I haven't bought a single book through Amazon (I've bought DVDs once or twice) since the POD publishing debacle. That, incidentally, is apparently still wending its way through class-action lawsuit land.

Support your local bookshop, folks. Most of them do special orders and will be glad for your business. Does Amazon really need more money in its pocketses?
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Amazon Says Glitch to Blame for "New" Adult Policy

By Rachel Deahl & Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly, 4/12/2009 5:49:00 PM

A groundswell of outrage, concern and confusion sprang up over the weekend, largely via Twitter, in response to what authors and others believed was a decision by Amazon to remove adult titles from its sales ranking. On Sunday evening, however, an Amazon spokesperson said that a glitch had occurred in its sales ranking feature that was in the process of being fixed. The spokesperson added that there was no new adult policy.

Do I believe this? Not really.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
The Bi Writers email list is starting to heat up with news today that books with queer content are being censored from searches, having their sales rankings removed, and having their reviews removed from Amazon's websites in some sort of misguided "morality" crap.

Author Lorraine Hutchins of Bi Any Other Name fame reports:

I searched for Bi Any Other Name (of course) as a test and came up w/BAON’s famous history – it’s description and its many favorable reviews – all erased.

They didn’t even have the correct publishing date up there, it’s as if we almost never existed.

Déjà vu, as a bi, for me, of course, but NOT pleasant

[ profile] meta_writer has an ongoing tally of books affected posted here.

[ profile] kynn from Bi Writers is covering the issue here.

In order to find books on queer topics you have to get pretty specific and currently it seems that the books turning up on homosexuality are dominated by "ex-gay" titles.

The Dear Author blog is covering the issue with a some posts here that discuss what kinds of books are being removed and some of Amazon's responses. Amazon's excuse is that anything with a queer content is obviously "adult" in nature and therefore they must protect their customers from horrible adultness through preemptive censorship.

Removing sales ranking listings interferes with the search engine, making titles very difficult to find. Seriously folks, this is egregious stuff. Please read the linked posts if you have any interest in this subject at all.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (boycott amazon)
Remember how some of us have been saying Amazon's new policies would harm small publishers? Now we have proof that Amazon is lying about availability to back up its bullying policies. Avontaynu is a small press dealing with Jewish history. Read about their adventures in test-ordering their own books from Amazon and the lies they've received when they inquire about the orders.

Friends don't let friends buy from Amazon.


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September 2013



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