Tuesday, April 28, 2009

#Amazonfail Fiasco Leaves Bookbuyers Suspicious

The big story in the book world yesterday was the fact that Amazon went on a shopping trip. The Seattle-based bookseller acquired Lexcycle, the company that makes Stanza, which is a free e-book application for the Apple iPhone. From The New York Times:
Stanza allows users to browse a library of around 100,000 books and periodicals for the iPhone, many of them in the ePub format -- a widely accepted standard for e-books that Amazon has yet to support with its proprietary Kindle platform.
After the news was announced yesterday, the blogosphere and the Twitterverse (did I just seriously type those words?) started talking about what the move might mean: was there something darker and more sinister behind the announcement? Something beyond what Amazon “spokeswoman” Cinthia Portugal told the Times, that “Lexcycle is a smart, innovative company, and we look forward to working with them to innovate on behalf of readers.”

Consumer suspicion is understandable. The Amazon-Lexcycle deal comes just weeks after a “glitch” in Amazon’s ranking system was seen to be dropping many books with possible gay or lesbian content from its ranking system.

As I write this, I suspect that things still aren’t what they should be with Amazon results. At 12:15 am Tuesday morning, the number one result Amazon returned when the word “homosexual” was typed into its search bar was Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would: A Fresh Christian Approach (Brazos Press). Somehow that result doesn’t feel quite right. It’s possible Amazon needs to poke at their search algorithms still further. More importantly, it illustrates consumer’s wariness of Amazon right now, a wariness that has many former customers researching alternatives for online book purchasing and vending.

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Blogger Vellum said...

I am wondering, though, if homosexual shows such books because gay people generally wouldn't use that term nowadays. Gay or queer seems more likely.

I still wish Amazon would offer a better explanation of what happened, and an apology. There really wasn't one....

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 9:43:00 AM PDT  

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