Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Amazon Part Deux

So: Amazon wants money more than it wants to be the Guardian of Moral Righteousness And All Things Ruddworthy... at least for the moment.

This article from the New York Times offers a little insight. But very little information, I fear, and it appears that Amazon isn't giving much of an explanation. Far from being a "storm in a teacup", there are way too many unanswered questions here for me to go back to being in any way comfortable with Amazon.

Right now, Bezos' boyz are claiming it was all "a glitch" in the system - without offering any kind of specifics as to how the "glitch" managed to be so very target specific. And of course, there's the question of the other little things Amazon did. A quote from the NYT aticle:

In a blog post late Monday, Mr. Seymour wrote that Amazon’s statement was a start, but not sufficient. “It does not explain why writers, like myself, were told by Amazon reps that our books were being classified as ‘adult products.’ ”

Likewise, there's no real explanation of how a book like American Psycho -- which is, let's face it, about as 'adult' as it's possible to be -- remained entirely unaffected by the shiny new classification system designed to protect us poor innocents from inadvertently suffering an UnRuddworthy Moment.

Hanlon's Razor says: Never Attribute To Malice That Which Can Adequately Be Explained By Stupidity. My personal view on this? I think we can attribute to 'stupidity' the failure by Amazon to foresee the response to this manuevre. But given the way their 'glitch' played out -- the specificity of its impact, and the piss-poor nature of Amazon's so-called 'explanation' -- I'm not convinced the targeting wasn't deliberate.

Still. For the moment, it seems to be fixed. But I'm relegating Amazon to 'fallback' status now; if I can find somebody else to supply me with the sort of off-beat and out-of-print stuff that comprises a lot of my interest, I will do so. Amazon will be the people I go to when I can't find anyone else.

After all... do we really want a monopoly on this service?