I rarely write about “writerly issues” in my blog because since I’m primarily a reader, I want stuff that pertains to reading. But I’m utterly sad that Amazon has performed a WTFery to end all WTFerys.
They’ve deranked books containing erotic content as well as many books that do NOT contain erotic elements but are devoted to topics such as gay romance, lifestyles etc etc. I won’t go down the extensive list because I’d be here all day. Suffice to say, there is no rhyme or reason other than apparently Amazon is seeking to protect the sensibilities of some of their customers as well as play parent to kids who might GASP actually come across said books on their site.
Oy! This could take awhile so bear with me.
1. I do not need Amazon to parent my children. Nor do I need them to protect my sensibilities. Nor does the rest of the population. As popular as it is to remove the responsibility from the parent of monitoring their children’s online activity, that is not anyone’s responsibility other than the parent. Period. End of story. Expecting a business do do so is utterly ridiculous.
2. I’ve already heard it said, rankings? what’s the big deal? Rankings don’t mean anything. Well, yes and no. If you’re looking at it as a popularity contest then no, rankings aren’t terribly important in the scheme of things. However, rankings determine placement on certain bestseller lists.
Being on one of the bestseller lists means VISIBILITY for that book. It means that a whole lot of readers who look at these lists to see what’s hot, new, popular or what other people are buying are going to SEE this book. Marketing 101. Visibility? HUGE. If a book is stripped of its ranking then obviously it will never be listed on any of the bestseller lists (and there are many by category at Amazon)
3. Aside from rankings, books are disappearing from search results. When typing in an author name, not all the books are coming up. The books that have been “deranked” are conspicuously absent. This leads back to the whole VISIBILITY issue.
If a reader is looking for books from an author’s backlist or looking for a new release and they do a search by the author name and the books don’t show up? Missed sale. End of story.
4. I’ve heard the outcry of discrimination etc etc but let’s put all that aside for a moment and lessen the emotional impact of what’s going on. I’d like to know how it makes good BUSINESS SENSE for Amazon to bury these books and cut the visibility of these books. Why would you want to cut off a source of revenue?
This reeks of an emotional decision to pacify a segment of the customer base. I don’t really know because Amazon hasn’t made a statement. But as a business decision? This has to be one of the most moronic I’ve seen in a long long time. And I’ve been a total Amazon fan so I say this with no prior bitterness whatsoever.
5. Lastly, I have been a long, LONG time shopper at Amazon. My end of the year receipts? Number in the hundreds as far as total orders, thousands of dollars in cost. I routinely give away not only my books but many many other authors books and I order them from Amazon. I have given away hundreds and hundreds of dollars in Amazon Gift certificates.
I have a Kindle (recent) and have already dumped hundreds of dollars into buying Kindle ebooks. In fact, I gave up my monthly shopping spree at Eharlequin to buy ALL titles from Amazon. If I add up all my receipts from Amazon over the last few years, I’m willing to bet I pay an Amazon execs salary, so I’d say my business counts for something. Right? RIGHT? Or are you so willing to piss that away?
With everyone crying over the economy and the fact that it’s in the shitter, I’d think businesses would be going that extra mile to make every sale count, to highlight every possible source of revenue, NOT shut down an entire freight train of income and piss off not only a huge customer base but the authors of all those books as well.
Me? I’ll wait for an official response. Provided there IS one. I want to see what, if anything, Amazon does or how they respond to this. However, if they don’t respond in a satisfactory manner, I’ll be more than happy to pay an exec’s salary at BN or Borders (because Im pretty sure Borders wouldn’t turn down ANY revenue right now)
Your very unhappy, long time, very loyal customer