Kindle Orwellian Nightmare

This post at Technovelgy ask the question, Could Amazon, via the Kindle, end up being the Big Brother of 1984 fame? Or at least his proxy?

"The apparent success of Amazon's wonderful Kindle has everyone's head full of blissful visions of instantly updated newspapers, books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound tracks, cartoons, photographs - every last error corrected and every last and most recent version included.

Well, maybe not everyone's head.

Dead Media Beat: No Amazon? No Kindle Library

Kindle users have been grumbling lately about Amazon locking them out of their accounts, reportedly due to an overly high volume of returns on their Kindle books. ChannelWeb draws attention to the plight of one user who admitted to three "high-priced returns," though he denied abusing Amazon's return policy. Despite this, Amazon banned him from making more purchases from the online store, which also locked him out of accessing his already-purchased Kindle items.

Full blog post at Wired

How they handle the world’s cultural heritage

Here is an article in the New York Times about the Amazon sales rank problem and Amazon's response.

One of the activist against Amazon has this quote in the article:

Mr. Kramer said on Monday that he was willing to shelve the boycott for now. But in an e-mail message he wrote: “I don’t think for one second that this was a glitch,” adding, “We have to now keep a more diligent eye on Amazon and how they handle the world’s cultural heritage.”

Wow! Now Amazon is responsible for the world’s cultural heritage. Oh well, one less thing librarians need to worry about.


Statement by Amazon

In response to a media inquiry initiated by the LISNews Netcast Network, the following statement was provided by Director of Corporate Communications Patty Smith in response to the questions over the recent Amazon situation:
This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection. 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. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon’s main product search. Many books have now been fixed and we’re in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.

Bookstore Display: Books Amazon Doesn't Want You to Read

"We have put up our display of 'Books Amazon Doesn't Want You to Read.'"--@Vromans tweet in reaction to Amazon's de-ranking of LGBTQ books (Shelf Awareness, April 13, 2009).

In a subsequent bookstore blog post titled, "Amazonfail & The Cost of Freedom" Vroman's observed that "independent publisher sales rep John Mesjak put it best when he tweeted this statement: 'I haven't read all of #amazonfail, so I am likely repeating, but my takeaway: this S#!T happens with monoculture gatekeepers. "

Amazon Says It Will Correct Its Search Function has generated a dustup over the way it filters adult books. Books with any gay content at all — racy or not — no longer have a sales ranking. That makes those titles more difficult to find using Amazon's search function. Amazon says it is fixing the problem.

Story on NPR


Amazon stripping sales ranking from gay & lesbian books

Writers of gay romance noticed, over the past few days, that books in the "Gay Romance" category have disappeared from the best-seller list in that category. Publisher and author Mark Probst, whose book, "The Filly" is a gay young-adult book without explicit content, queried Amazon. This is what they said to him:


Authors have lost the plot in Kindle battle

Cory Doctorow says Amazon's Kindle 2 text-to-speech feature is not so much violating authors' copyright but rather basic consumer rights.

Dropping $359 (£251) on a device whose features are subject to the outcomes of ongoing negotiations to which you are not a party is, frankly, nuts. Would you buy a car if it was known that your air-conditioner and stereo system could be remotely disabled?

Western Union Now Offers Gift Card Claim Codes

If you are off the grid and do not have a credit card but you want to buy something at Amazon here is an option.

The Western Union Company today announced that consumers can now purchase Gift Card claim codes with cash at its U.S. Agent locations. The service offers a convenient and appealing solution for those wishing to make purchases on without using a credit card. Consumers can purchase Gift Card claim codes at any of the more than 44,000 Western Union Agent locations in the United States. The Gift Card claim codes allow the customer to purchase millions of items in over 40 product categories on

Full press release here.



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