No longer an Amazon customer
Posted March 29, 2008on:
I’m not sure if you heard but in a boneheaded, asinine, flagrantly anti-customer move, Amazon decided Print On Demand (POD) publishers must print their books through Amazon’s newly acquired POD publisher BookSurge (with a reputation for quality service) or Amazon will no longer sell their books (via Petrona). Customers will only be able to get the books from third party sellers so the purchases won’t be eligible for any Amazon promotions, including the free shipping offer. Of course, you can still get it through Kindle, that product still too needs to be established.
Protests that the publishers are free to go elsewhere are disingenuous: Amazon is the premier site online for book information — even if one doesn’t buy directly from the site it’s likely that one goes there to get book details, reviews and, most importantly for me, excerpts. I make a conscious decision to buy from local stores but for friends abroad its the easiest way to buy books for me and if I’m pre-ordering it’s where I’d go to do so. Not any more.
I will no longer link to Amazon on my site. I’ll stick to publisher sites or use Book Depository. (I’ve been trying to do that regularly now, for a while, but it’s hard to break linking habits and, let’s face it, Amazon typically has the most information.) However, this move overrides the convenience factor. I’ll change the links in my most popular posts and, on bored days, I’ll go through random posts (reviews and the like) to edit links. Please, pardon the updates of old posts that may appear in your RSS readers.
I’m pissed off. I know that brick & mortar book stores long complained about its dominance but I could never feel more than token sympathy because Amazon made itself into an important resource on a scale they couldn’t manage, in a fair and innovative way, to the best of my knowledge. Other bloggers criticised the stupid “one click” patent but as a customer I didn’t think it affected me much. But this ultimatum dumps more expenses on publishers and actively impedes developments in POD, and subsequently makes it harder for me, the customer, to acquire products. If their books are only available through third party sellers whose sales they may or may not be earning any money there’s no incentive for them to list their inventory there making it harder for me, the customer, to get the facts on the books I want. This is a slap in the face I can’t ignore. I’ve cancelled all of my pre-orders and deleted my wishlist. Amazon, you can just fuck right off.