Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taking the plunge

The timing will probably seem odd, what with #AmazonFail and all, but I've taken the plunge and ordered a Kindle 2. I managed to not order one on the day of the announcement(impressive self-control on my part, really). I didn't order one right after I got to play with the samples that the Kindle team brought to our office. But, events in my life conspired to convince me that now is the time. It arrives on Friday, and I have a feeling I'll spend more on books this weekend than I have in the past 6 months. I'll let you know.

Speaking of #AmazonFail, I think I'm the only one who didn't see it as some vast conspiracy to rid the world of gay literature. Amazon likes making money, and it seemed to me that flagging all gay-related books as "adult" and unrankable was a quick way to lose money. Maybe I'm naive, but the whole situation seemed more like a "glitch" (though that's rather dismissive) than a purge.

Also, can we stop using "Fail?" It drives me nuts!

- Michael


  1. Michael,

    Amazon has been having trouble with its ranking system for the past month. My latest book is a book about diabetes. It lost its ranking last month. As soon as I noticed it I contacted support and they restored it with an email explaining that they'd put in new software that was having some problems.

    The recent Amazon response cited health books as one of the categories affected by the glitch. My guess is that people didn't take it personally when books in other categories lost their rankings because they aren't paranoid about Amazon removing books about chronic diseases.

  2. You're not the only one who doesn't see a vast conspiracy. I see buggy code. Considering the sheer amount of data Amazon is trying to keep organized and searchable? I'm surprised it wasn't worse. I think most of the jumping up and down is because this time it hit a subject people are touchy about. If it has been all books about cows vanishing I don't know that many folks would have noticed.


  3. I also didn't buy into the conspiracy rants. Like Michael said, Amazon is about the money and being biased would seriously affect the money.

    I heard it was a hacker, but that could of been more web gossip than truth.

  4. I assure you you're not the only one who didn't see a conspiracy.

    Congratulations on your Kindle purchase. =)

  5. "-fail" is the new "-gate".

    I too didn't see reason to deem it a vast conspiracy. I've heard multiple times about ranking problems in the past, and my guess is that, in trying to create some sort of new filter for "adult" subject matter, something got screwed up along the way. As JSB said, there's a lot of data to manage there, and the more complicated a system, the easier it is to mess up. And I don't see why Amazon would alienate what is probably a sizable enough consumer base, never having shown bias in the past (to my knowledge, but this also isn't a touchy subject I keep track of, so prior incidents may have gone by without me knowing).

    If it's not a purely technical glitch, my next guess would be one overzealous employee or a hacker (as has been theorized).

  6. What interested me about the whole thing was how it took on a life of its own via Twitter and the web. That was quite amazing to watch. People do love a cause!

    My husband won't buy from Amazon because they make more off his CDs than he does!

  7. Congrats!! You are going to love it. I just got mine as a birthday gift, and I am completely obsessed with it in a completely unhealthy way. I mean, a book addict who can order whatever they want anytime they want--it isn't pretty. It is, however, amazingly fun.


  8. But it's more fun to imagine there's a conspiracy!

    Jenny - small world. I have read your diabetes book, and web site, and as a newly diagnosed T2, found it all incredibly helpful and empowering. I'm also a writer - Michael here is my agent.

    Michael, I think you'll love it v. the Sony for the manuscript reading feature and just being able to email docs to yourself and stuff without ever attaching it to the computer. I, on the other hand, haven't used mine in about a month...

  9. One thing I've learned as a journalist -- we often prefer rumor to the truth. It sounds more dramatic than what really happened and is more fun to hash over with our friends.

    Count me among those tired of the "-fail" label. I haven't twittered in several days, and am thinking of dropping out of Twitter entirely. I get plenty of negative messages from other sources -- why should I continue letting "-fail" comments from people I don't even know pop up on my screen?

  10. Elaborating on my first post:

    The most important lesson I've learned since becoming a journalist is that there is always more to an incident than what most people see or hear about. And it is frustrating when you present the facts, yet continue to hear from people who won't let go of the rumor.

    This has made me more aware of -- and more willing to let go of -- my own preconceived notions.

  11. YES! You will not regret it. I love that thing more than I ever thought I could love a little gadget- just bought a pocketbook based solely on the fact that it had an interior pocket big enough for my Kindle. It goes with my everywhere.

    The only warning I have is to make sure you don't have one of the "vampire" Kindles that reacts poorly to direct sunlight. Mine is one.. for some reason the sun degrades the quality of the text, but only until you go in the shade and turn the page.. no lasting effects. Other than that it's a dream come true!