January 31st, 2010

#Amazonfail, part 2 and final.

This was my goodbye letter to Amazon I sent this morning.

Please cancel my account. Amazon has proven itself far too willing to act unethically for the last time. I can no longer accept doing business with Amazon going forward.

This is the 2nd time in 12 months that Amazon has made a decision about what books I can buy or not in their bookstore. The first time was because you didn't want to sell me books that might contain homosexual thoughts. And now you've decided that I cannot purchase a paperback book from Jay Lake, Charles Stross or Cory Doctorow because you have a dispute with their publisher Macmillan over Kindle pricing.

Because you have a disagreement over Kindle book pricing, you resort to screwing me, the consumer, over printed books.

This is completely unacceptable. I do not accept Amazon's censorship of what I may or may not read. I do not accept that Amazon executives should decide whether or not a book or publisher they do or do not like may appear in their search results. I don't shop at Walmart because they explicitly admit to censorship of titles that appear in their store based on content. Amazon isn't even doing this for some supposed moral reason, but instead based on apparently whether or not your executives like a given topic or publisher this week. This is completely unacceptable, and I won't be giving you a single dollar of business until the following changes are made in your business:

1. Amazon writes a complete apology for this situation that honestly admits to the fault, not blaming it on a supposed employee mistake. Further, Amazon needs to be true and honest about the many months of filtering of homosexual content that are very well documented prior to making it active on all titles Easter weekend, 2009.

2. The executives who are responsible for the filtering homosexual content last year and this stunt with Macmillan are fired, or at the very least removed from authority and penalized. And no hand slap will be acceptable. I mean that these people must at the very least lose all bonus compensation for at least 24 months, and lose forever all authority over any department able to censor what I see in search results.

3. Amazon creates and starts doing business based a published code of ethics I can review any time. This code of ethics must mandate that Amazon will not filter what I find in search results based on any moral criteria outside of United States Law (which they are of course required to deal with when selling to me) and also mandate that Amazon will not remove books from their inventory based on anything other than the publisher not supplying them to Amazon. And given anything I might have forgotten, it needs to guarantee that Amazon is never allowed to limit my purchases based on your executives' mood of the week.

If you review my account, you'll see that I spend thousands of dollars with Amazon every single year. In some years I have spent in excess of tens of thousands of dollars with Amazon on home and business purchases. This is going to end, starting today. If you comply with all three of these requirements, I may be willing to consider using Amazon in the future.

I'm not hopeful. Amazon's lack of honesty in the last debacle gave me little reason to trust you. But I am completely willing to be proven wrong, and would be delighted to see Amazon fire the people responsible for BOTH debacles and turn a new page. Please surprise me.
  • Current Mood
    angry angry

Alternatives to Amazon.

Many of us use Amazon because they are convenient. Very convenient and very easy to use. This unfortunately allows them to (believe) that they are in a position to filter what we can buy.

There's two parts to not letting this happen. The first is not buying from Amazon. But the second part is actually identifying and using good alternatives. Even if you don't plan to join jaylake and I (and many others) in boycotting Amazon, it's good to know where else you can buy things.

Let's talk about good alternatives to Amazon. Please reply to this thread with any place you have found to be a good place to buy things you might otherwise buy from Amazon. Links to the publisher's direct are always nice, but I'm mostly thinking of retailers with a broad variety of items.

Books: my favorite ebook retailer is Books on Board. Great selection, easy to use interface, easy to buy things for other people. My brother always begs for gift certificates from here.

Movies: absolutely positively Deep Discount DVD

Electronics: Top of the line place to buy is Tiger Direct If they carry it they have the best pricing for it. And they have the best drill-down-identify-exactly-what-I-want UI I've used on any electronic retailer.

I'd love to know if anyone has a good place to buy physical books or music CDs at a discount.
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful

No Prague pictures for you

I unfortunately am made of fail, and forgot to bring the data cable for my camera. So I've darn near filled up a 1GB card with photos from Prague, but I won't be able to share them with you until I get home. Sorry, boys and girls.

Today I'm off to find the botanical gardens and see Castle Vysehrad.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Just got back from Vysehrad Castle

Against all advice I ignored the metro and bus and walked all the way through New Town then Old Town to Praha 2 and up the hill to Vysehrad Castle. I don't know why they insisted I should take transit. It was a rather nice walk of maybe 3 km, and I got to see the New Town Hall and the university arboretum on the way.

The castle appears to be on the highest point on this side of the river, and offered spectacular views in all directions. There was a beautiful neo-gothic church in the castle grounds with a history dating back to the first king of Prague who got tired of the local Bishop and built his own church and got his own line right to the Pope.

I would offer you pictures, but alas, Olympus data port is almost but not quite exactly a mini-usb port so you'll have to get those tomorrow.

Now I'm packing up all my clothing and getting ready to fly home tomorrow. Yeah now, so that when I stumble home tonight I don't have to be sober enough to do it then.
  • Current Mood
    pleased pleased


  • 02:42 #Amazonfail I kissed Amazon goodbye. It sucks, because they are convenient. But I will not support censorship. bit.ly/dxgAJK #
  • 02:45 Note that I don't agree with Macmillan. I'll post thoughts later on ebook pricing. But Amazon may not censor for me. #
  • 03:59 #Amazonfail Come join Amazon Shall Not Censor Me bit.ly/9RIdR8 #
  • 07:17 Android (Dream) doesn't like the cold. Keeps turning itself off in Prague's negative temp. #
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