dalekOver the last couple of weeks, Amazon Kindle has been making news for for two particularly onerous actions they have taken.

Firstly there was the ‘wiped’ Kindle episode involving a Norwegian Kindle owner, who had all her purchased Kindle ebooks mysteriously deleted from her device by Amazon, and then just as mysteriously, after the news went viral, they were reloaded.

All of this of course was accompanied by Amazon’s infamous ‘Cone of Silence‘ attitude by issuing no explanation at all. Well, they did, but as usual it was in ‘Amazon Speak‘, which always seems to avoid any mention of the actual issue.

Account status should not affect any customer’s ability to access their library,” Amazon’s Kinley Pearsall wrote. “If any customer has trouble access their content, he or she should contact customer service for help.

Not very open and consumer friendly, and of course not addressing the issue at all.

The second fiasco has been Amazon’s decision to delete reviews from books. The reasons given by Amazon for this seemingly random yet widespread campaign have once again been about as clear as a CIA annual report.

We do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product. As a result, we’ve removed your reviews for this title. Any further violations of our posted Guidelines may result in the removal of this item from our website.

Now that’s really clear in disqualifying just about anyone with an interest in reading books and in particular anyone who publishes on the KDP platform. ‘Biting the hand that feeds you‘, comes immediately to mind. The last line of the statement gives another nasty waring that not only will reviews be deleted, but that the book could possibly be deleted as well. Is this going to be the third step in Amazon’s ‘Delete, Delete, Delete‘ campaign?

Oh dear that does sound like an upset Dalek now, doesn’t it.

Unfortunately, I think Amazon’s recent actions are somewhat akin to a Dalek having a very bad day, and that their communication and PR skills are about as open and friendly as a peeved little robot. Then again, I suppose it’s a really tough job being a monopolistic seeker of global domination. So what’s next in line in Amazon’s grumpy ‘exterminate, exterminate, exterminate‘ campaign?

Has Amazon Kindle Lost The Plot?
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16 thoughts on “Has Amazon Kindle Lost The Plot?

  • 03/11/2012 at 11:13 am

    Yes, it all does seem very odd. My thoughts, on reading the whole exchange on the “Wiped Kindle” episode, was that Amazon has probably been completely taken over by the machines. The responses of the various support and PR people can thus be explained as feeble attempts to cover up the fact that they don’t have a #@$% clue what’s going on, or why ‘the system’ does anything it does.

    This all leads me to one terrifying conclusion: Amazon IS Skynet!

    • 03/11/2012 at 12:15 pm

      Yes Michael, I think your Skynet terminator is a good analogy of Kindle at the moment. But it’s not so much the automated mess they are making, but their lame responses. All sounds like no care at all and definitely no responsibility, along with ‘it’s not our fault, it’s yours’. Pretty sad really.

      • 03/11/2012 at 12:50 pm

        Well, you want to talk about lame responses, try getting a straight (if you’ll pardon the expression) answer as to why an EBOOK costs $2 more if I purchase it from a computer or Kindle located Thailand than it costs if that same Kindle is in the US. That’s $2 more than what the author set the list price at, and at the same time, Amazon reduces the authors own royalty on the book from 70% to 35%.

        Ask Amazon and they’ll give you some vague answer about taxes, international regulations, publisher’s policies, etc. The plain fact is that somewhere in the depths of that machine, somebody decided to charge non-US, UK, etc. customers more for the same book, that costs no more to deliver to Bangkok than it does to Boston, but they won’t come out and admit it. Like you said, they’ll blame it on everybody else. Kind of like a lot of politicians.

        • 03/11/2012 at 1:00 pm

          I have the same inexcusable profiteering my Amazon here in Switzerland Michael. My own $2.99 ebook costs me nearly $4.00 if I buy it to gift someone. A rip off? Well, I’d have to say so, as I’m in the process of moving my ebooks back onto the Apple iBook Store, and the price showing on my books here is one cent more that my listed US price. One cent rounding I can handle, but not Amazon’s international $$s rip off.

          The best place to buy ebooks without any mark up at all to the author’s price is of course Smashwords.

          • 04/11/2012 at 12:44 pm

            This is something I hate but I have had to somewhat accept (grudgingly so). The same thing applies for the books that I buy as I’m buying from Antigua or Jamaica. I think the explanation I was given was that I didn’t possess an American credit card and something about processing. This hasn’t seemed to affect me anywhere else though.

          • 04/11/2012 at 12:56 pm

            The credit card excuse is BS. These days, I only buy from Amazon when I have credit there (from commissions on selling through my other web sites) and I still pay $2 more. I also pay $2 more when I use my US credit card. In the end, it’s where Amazon “thinks” the device is located. When i was back in the states, I figured out how to tell it the device was in the US (it doesn’t know for sure) and only then got regular price. It’s somewhere in “manage your Kindle” but if you reset it, sooner or later they will figure out you’re non in the US any more.

  • 03/11/2012 at 12:25 pm

    It has really become a little frightening, definitely frustrating. I have lost a number of reviews on my Amazon titles of late. None of them were what I would call “suspect.” I certainly don’t think any of them fall under Amazon’s incredibly vague credo.

    • 03/11/2012 at 1:04 pm

      It doesn’t make you feel all that good about Amazon when your hard won reviews are deleted Allison. Especially when there is no logical reason. Amazon’s explanation didn’t seem to disqualify my mother from reviewing my books though. Just a pity she passed away many years ago, so she can’t help me out now. :)) Yes, sarcasm helps in silly situations like this. :)

  • 03/11/2012 at 3:03 pm

    As I’ve stated before, Derek, Amazon is out of control and answerable to no one. They are a juggernaut on a roll with a lot of momentum ruled by faulty algorithms. But sooner or later this juggernaut will grind to a halt. You can only feed customers so many canned non-answers for so long before you start losing customers. So long as Amazon is still growing in sales and profits it will change nothing, why would they? It will only be once market saturation is reached and growth stops that Amazon will start to accommodate it’s sellers and buyers and not until.

    • 03/11/2012 at 8:49 pm

      I have to agree with you Rick, Amazon Kindle have really lost their way lately and seem to be throwing a lot of babies out with the bathwater. I think the problem is ebooks and books in general. Their review system is based on reviewing gadgets and home-wares and it worked well. But when applied to books it fell apart. Reviewing a free hand held vacuum cleaner was ok to crawl up the Amazon reviewer rankings, but when it came to books, the system fell apart.

      The problem is not with authors reviewing books, but it is with Amazon’s own review system that rewards their own registered reviewers. These ‘approved’ reviewers, who are surely receiving kickbacks are being overrun by all these pesky bloody authors. Get my point?

  • 03/11/2012 at 9:47 pm

    Derek , We northerners have a good saying that suits this :- Hear all,- see all- say nowt.
    It’s a basic covering all bases but evading the issue ploy. Not only applies to Amazon but Facebook too, as well as ANY large company.

    BTW- what are reviews?

  • 04/11/2012 at 12:47 pm

    Surely if they are attempting to get rid of ‘suspicious’ reviews, they should at least have the decency to provide the author with the evidence (I know sigh, sounding too much like a lawyer) used to come to such a conclusion. If this is done the evidence may be inspected so that it can be determined if it cogent or not. Reviews are very, very important to authors and they need not be messing with them arbitrarily. I completely agree with you, they’ve been taken over by the Daleks. I guess it is time we appoint a Dr. Who. :)

    • 04/11/2012 at 1:03 pm

      If you read the full story on the Kindle wipe, or the LA Times piece on the deleted reviews, you’ll see that Amazon is flatly refusing to divulge any details of their “investigations” which resulted in these measures. Amazon is clearing saying (without actually using the words) that they are accountable to no one. Their decisions are final, and that’s that.

  • 05/11/2012 at 4:37 am

    I wonder if anyone has done a before and after count of John Locke’s reviews? There were a great many people upset when he admitted he had paid for reviews.

  • 05/11/2012 at 4:56 am

    I’ll answer my own question. I reviewed one of his books when he had over a hundred reviews. He now has 8.

    • 05/11/2012 at 1:54 pm

      Actually John, I wonder if Amazon have deleted any Kirkus paid reviews from books. As Amazon own Kirkus, perhaps not. By their own definition, Kirkus reviews would certainly break their new guidelines.

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