In what Pitchfork thinks is an attempt to stick it to Beyoncé for not partnering with them on her surprise release, Amazon has decided to make like Target and not sell physical copies of her self-titled album. But, because they aren’t dumb enough to completely turn their backs on the work that sold 828,773 copies in just three days, the online giant has made MP3 and videos from Beyoncé available. Perhaps both stores will change their minds when they see what happens when you play by Queen Bey’s rules: As a thank you for carrying her work, she showed up at a Massachusetts Walmart Friday night, where she (once again) surprised fans, this time with $50 gift cards and baby-holding.
“So many other good books…don’t waste your time on this one. J.D. Salinger went into hiding because he was embarrassed.” And other one-star Amazon reviews of classics.
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.
This should be a tumblr of its own — 1-star Amazon reviews of classic books. People are the worst. Here are a couple of other examples.
“I am obsessed with Survivor, so I thought it would be fun. WRONG!!! It is incredibly boring and disgusting. I was very much disturbed when I found young children killing each other. I think that anyone with a conscience would agree with me.”
“The book is not readable because of the overuse of adverbs.”
“I’m a Steely Dan fan so naturally I wanted to read the book they thought compelling enough to name their band after an element of.”
I love this description of Amazon by Matthew Yglesias:
That’s because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. The shareholders put up the equity, and instead of owning a claim on a steady stream of fat profits, they get a claim on a mighty engine of consumer surplus. Amazon sells things to people at prices that seem impossible because it actually is impossible to make money that way. And the competitive pressure of needing to square off against Amazon cuts profit margins at other companies, thus benefiting people who don’t even buy anything from Amazon.
I’ve been drinking a bit (at which point brevity becomes the better part of valor), so I won’t add much commentary here, except to say that, in that last sentence above, the word ‘benefiting’ should be in quotation marks.
If I didn’t already hate Amazon, I’d feel sorry for them. The US Congress should’ve done this to that company and its executive leadership years ago.
Me, I’m laughing too hard to even type “Hahahaha!” Though, I do feel bad for Flipboard and the other affected apps and businesses. Just not for Amazon, which I hate. I would also swear that Instagram was not updating for an hour or two this morning, but that’s anecdotal, and I haven’t heard anyone report that they were affected this time, again.
In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. (via How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking | Gadget Lab | Wired.com)
Well, you just have to read this. It’s not just interesting, but it’s actually really important, so we learn some lessons from someone else’s misfortune, instead of waiting for it to happen to each and every one of us.
Amazon has always been a skeevy behemoth, damaging local economies and communities by not paying sales taxes and driving small neighborhood shops out of business. But this idea of paying customers to go into local shops, scan their prices, and send the prices to Amazon, in return for a fucking $5 coupon, is despicable, even for them.
From Gawker: To get the $5 discount, you’re supposed to use Amazon’s “Price Check” iPhone and Android app to scan in the bar code of an item and then indicate what price the item is being sold at. This gives Amazon valuable intelligence on how various retailers are pricing various items. “We scour online and in-store advertisements from other retailers, every day, year-round,” an Amazon director said on All Things D. But now Amazon won’t have to work so hard in the future, since hordes of consumers will (theoretically) sell out the merchants who pump sales taxes into their localities [and who employ local residents who also spend their money in the community], all to save a measly five bones.
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to get involved in state efforts to force online retailers such as Amazon.com to collect sales tax from customers even in places where the companies do not have a physical presence.
The issue — ending what for many Americans is tax-free online shopping — is one of the most important in modern retailing. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses say the online retailers receive an unfair advantage by not collecting sales tax in some areas.
Good. I’ll just say this is way overdue, and leave it at that.
Made the mistake of buying an album of mp3’s from Amazon because iTunes only has it as an m4p file. Now Amazon forces you either install a ‘downloader’ or ‘authorize’ your computer to play the mp3’s you paid for.
If I haven’t said it frequently enough recently, I hate Amazon. For so many reasons.
The good news is, I called their customer service number and gave the nice person what-for, and to get me off the fucking phone they refunded my money. I still hate them, though. [edited to remove the rest of my rant. be glad.]
From Twitter: Natasha Google on Hodge’s skewer now: http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_8167000/8167511.stm …
Pay no attention to the headline of their press release, Amazon had a bad quarter. They’ve been warning about dipping into the red for a few quarters now and have narrowly avoided it each time. No more.
The company lost $274 million on sales of $13.81 billion. Yes, you read that right. Sure, a large part of it was due to the disaster that is the LivingSocial deal (a loss of $169 million as part of a goodwill write-down), but they still lost over $100 million when you take that away.
I’m sure Apple is really regretting not selling the iPad mini at Kindle Fire prices right now.
I hate Amazon.
|The answer provided no progress:|
|Dear Linn [last name],|
|As previously advised, your Amazon.co.uk account has been closed, as it has come to our attention that this account is related to a previously blocked account. While we are unable to provide detailed information on how we link related accounts, please know that we have reviewed your account on the basis of the information provided and regret to inform you that it will not be reopened.|
|Please understand that the closure of an account is a permanent action. Any subsequent accounts that are opened will be closed as well. Thank you for your understanding with our decision. I appreciate this is not the outcome you hoped for and apologise for any disappointment this may cause.|
|Regards, Michael Murphy|
|Executive Customer Relations|
|Not getting an answer to why the account was closed, she sent another e-mail:|
|Dear Michael Murphy, Is it correct that you cannot give me any information about|
|1. How my account is linked to the blocked account|
|2. The name/id of the related blocked account|
|3. What policy that was violated|
|I have no knowledge about any other account that could be related to mine, and cannot understand how I could have violated your policies in any way.|
|Linn [last name]|
|Unfortunately, the answer was the same:|
|Dear Linn [last name],|
|We regret that we have not been able to address your concerns to your satisfaction. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.|
|We wish you luck in locating a retailer better able to meet your needs and will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters. Thank you for your attention to this email.|
|Regards Michael Murphy|
|Executive Customer Relations|
|Did she violate any terms? Amazon will not tell. Perhaps by accident? Amazon does not care. The conclusion so far is clear:||Amazon closed her account, wiped her Kindle and refuses to tell her why. End of discussion.|
|[via daring fireball, though the headline is all mine]|
Top chart: what various e-book retailers pay an author for selling a $10 e-book
Bottom chart: where readers bought their e-books after learning about Amazon keeping more of the author’s money
Great blog post about how much Amazon steals from e-book authors by first taking 30% of the sale price of the book, and then taking 36% of the remainder for ‘delivery fees’ (this is an e-book, remember. Amazon spends maybe 1¢ per file and download, and probably less.
I hate Amazon for many reasons, so this is really just one more on top of that stack. But think about this: For a book that costs $10.00, B&N lets the author keep $6.50. Apple: $7.00. Depending on the distributor, the author selling via pdf can keep $9.25, though the reading experience isn’t as good as the nook or iBooks. But the point is, Amazon gives the author just $5.10 from a $10 book! They keep $3.00 as a fee for stocking and providing a storefront, which is the same as Apple or B&N (although, before Apple came along, Amazon was forcing all publishers to charge one price for all their books, and keeping an astronomical portion for themselves because there was no competition).
And the Department of Justice is suing the publishing houses and Apple for price-fixing? It’s crazy.