Tag Archive for amazonfail

Why I’m Dumping Goodreads After Amazon Bought it

So Amazon has bought the book-lovers’ cataloguing and social site, Goodreads. I’ve been digesting this news since it was announced at the end of last week. My first reaction was very negative, and I had already pretty much decided that I would delete my Goodreads account and concentrate only on LibraryThing, where I also have been cataloguing my books over the years (and doing occasional reviews through their “Early Reviewer” program).

Two ideas have come to the fore as to why I’m dumping Goodreads:

  1. I intensely dislike monopolies or companies that try to become monopolies.
  2. The title of this Salon article: Amazon buys Goodreads: We’re all just data now.

There are several Internet companies trying to become monopolies: Facebook, Google, and Amazon are some of the biggies. I do deal with all of them, but I do what I can not to become owned by them. And there are the meatspace/Internet combos too: Apple and Microsoft. And I think Yahoo is making a last-ditch effort to play with the big boys too. I already loathed it when the great photo site, Flickr, sold out to Yahoo, and I think that I was justified. I hate to think of what moves they’re going to make as they try to jump on the “We own our users’ lives” bandwagon.

Part of my point is that in my own dealings, I don’t concentrate my whole life in any one place, and I do whatever I can to try to prevent any of those companies from taking over my whole life. For instance, I don’t register at sites which won’t let me register with an email address but insist I link to my Facebook account. Buh-bye — you guys just don’t get my business. I also may have consolidated several Google accounts in one place — but I still maintain two other accounts with all their own versions of G+, Picasa, YouTube, blah blah blah. I am not going to do absolutely everything in one place and have everything associated with one name all the time.

But apart from all that — I will not pile up a bunch of unpaid labour so that a monster-sized corporation can make even bigger piles of bucks off of my work. I do not post book reviews and that sort of thing to help mega-corp make piles of money. They may like to be the recipients of that sort of charity, but I refuse to be the donor. I post book (and other) reviews for my own entertainment and also because they might help someone else make up his/her own mind. (And when I want to post a review on Amazon, I do so. If I haven’t posted a review there, they don’t get to steal it from somewhere else and use it.) And LibraryThing respects people’s privacy a lot more and does not concentrate primarily on using other people’s work to enrich itself. (This article, Culture Shock: when Goodreads and LibraryThing collide, discusses some of the differences between LibraryThing and Goodreads, and I think it explains why I’ve always subconsciously tended to lean more toward LT from the beginning.)

I also like cataloguing my books for insurance purposes. I already know of a few people who had their personal book lists catalogued on LibraryThing and had those lists accepted for replacement purposes by insurance companies.

I won’t “go gently into that good night” where corporations simply assume we human beings are property that they can buy or sell — or for that matter, that we are money wallets that they can simply advertise at so they can make billions siphoning money out of our pockets and into theirs, while we can barely afford to buy a new book now and then. (And if you think the game is already lost, and we can’t fight the big corporations, and the only choice we have left is to decide whose property we are — you need to read some history books.)

So no, Goodreads. I’m slowly deleting my books from your site (after I check that they’re already properly recorded at LibraryThing). Soon, all Amazon will have of me there is…nothing. An empty account. Enjoy the riches.




Goodbye Amazon



I hate hate hate empires, and those who try to build them and force people to be enslaved to them.

Therefore as of today I am starting to remove Amazon links and affliliate crap from this blog.

Have a look at the Library Thing blog, and read about how Amazon wants LT basically to be a mouthpiece for Amazon books only, and never point anyone to any other bookseller except on some secondary page somewhere. Library Thing pretty much has no option but to comply with THEIR AMAZON MASTERS because they’ve built their whole system around people being able to display cover photos provided by Amazon. They can’t destroy their own site, so they’re stuck. Amazon wins. Though LT is trying their darnedest to get around the problem as creatively as they can.

I agree with the assessment of things on the LT blog:

Together with a new request-monitoring system, banning iPhone applications that use Amazon data, and much of their work on the Kindle, Amazon is retreating from its historic commitment to simplicity, flexibility and openness. They won through openness. Their data is all over the web, and with it millions of links to Amazon. They won’t benefit from a retreat here.

Amazon believes it has enough of a monopoly now that it can rule with an iron fist and nobody has any recourse but to obey them.

Amazon has gone all corporatist insane, and I want nothing more to do with them if it’s humanly possible to avoid them. Somebody has to fight empires, no matter how inevitable they think they are.

Reason #5,861 why I will never get a Kindle, plus will always prefer paper books over ebooks



Yegods. Every day now, Amazon is up to something nasty again. It’s hard to keep up. And I’d really rather write about good stuff.

From Pogue’s Posts in the New York Times, “Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others:”

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.

This is simply an abomination. What happened was that the publisher changed its mind about making the book available after many people had already bought it in good faith.

1984It’s ironic, don’t you think, that the book was George Orwell’s 1984?

And ebook cheerleaders try to tell us that buying an ebook will be no different from owning a paper book??

This, my friends, is to put it bluntly a big fat lie.

Not only do you not own a book you’ve paid for — unlike with paper books — the publisher can bloody well take it back any old time they please. But hey, it’s okay. After all, they give you a refund.

As someone on the discussion thread on Amazon says, “I wonder if Amazon will sent representatives to customers’ houses to retrieve dead tree copies? Orwell fans, lock your doors!”


I had a conversation on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, with a couple of people waving the pom poms for ebooks. I asked what would happen if one’s ebook reader crashed and you lost all the books on it. Would you have to repurchase the whole lot? No, they said. The seller would have it on record that you had bought the book, and you could re-download indefinitely.

As it turns out, that’s not true either. There is a limit set by the sellers to how many times you can redownload a book you supposedly own. So yes — you do have to repurchase your whole library several times.

They said, “Well, you’d have to do the same thing if your house burned down.” But it’s funny, you know. My house burns down much less frequently than my electronic equipment crashes. So no — I don’t have to repurchase my whole library very often. Sorry.

And now, if you archive your ebooks, the publishers can now intrude into your archive and take back the books you thought you owned.

As David Pogue says,

we’ve been taught to believe that e-books are, you know, just like books, only better. Already, we’ve learned that they’re not really like books, in that once we’re finished reading them, we can’t resell or even donate them. But now we learn that all sales may not even be final.

As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.

I think I’ll go have a look at my seven tall bookcases now, and maybe lean into some shelves and kiss my paper books, that actually last and don’t have to be repurchased because of changes in technology or some publisher’s or seller’s whim. I love them more every day. And nobody’s ever gonna take them away from me as easily as they can do with ebooks. Not without losing a lot of blood.

Oh, for gods’ sake, Amazon…!


You know, I don’t even go looking for this stuff about Amazon, but it just seems to be busting out all over, lately. I keep thinking, as I watch this sort of thing happening more and more, “Who do they think they are — General Motors??” (Meaning, of course, the old General Motors before the supposedly new and improved GM.)

See Brier Dudley’s blog, in the Business/Technology Section of the Seattle Times: “Amazon Sued for Cracking Kindles, $5-plus million sought in class action.”

It would appear that the covers bought for the purpose of protecting the new Kindles from Amazon have a bad cracking problem. And often these cracks actually cause damage to the Kindle itself, rather than protecting it.

And what happens when customers complain? Customers get told that they have to pay another $200 either for repair or replacement. Of the thing that was supposed to protect the Kindle. Which damaged it instead.

So Matthew Geise of Seattle has launched a class action lawsuit, filed yesterday. According to Geise’s attorney, Beth Terrell, Amazon started with a policy of automatically replacing cracked Kindles, but has now changed it to charging customers for the repairs or replacements instead.

Way cool business practice, huh? Charge the customers an arm and a leg for a crappy product, and then charge them again when your product doesn’t last three months!

And as of yesterday, at least, according to Dudley, “Several Amazon representatives did not respond to repeated calls and e-mails seeking comment.”

Gosh. Sound familiar??


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