More of Amazon’s bad behaviour
On May 25th this year I posted a blog about Amazon’s random and inconsistent selection of book reviews: it posts some and not others, and the alleged basis on which it chooses is not matched by its practice. This isn’t good. Far worse was the impertinence thrown at me by a batch of trolls, apparently Amazon employees, when I asked why some reviews of my Cruel and Unusual Punnishments hadn’t been posted.
Since then, I’ve had more reasons to rail against the monster Amazon.
First, I was told that some of the book reviews I’ve submitted for other authors have been posted by Amazon – but under someone else’s name, not mine. I checked and found I’d been told the truth: the reviews were definitely mine but the name on them wasn’t. Amazon had changed it, which is hardly the kind of thing that could have been done by accident. Why on Earth did Amazon they do that?
Second, a friend suggested I list my six published fiction (or at least non-technical) books on Amazon’s Author Central: https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk. So I did. But if you look up my name in Author Central you’ll discover I’ve only had two such books published: the case study of the evolution of a local legend, Murders in the Winnats Pass; and the collection Folktales of the Peak District - both published by Amberley, in 2010 and 2011 respectively. I seem not to have been credited with authorship of the short story collection Rope Trick: Thirteen Strange Tales (Ash Tree Press, 2008), the novel Perilaus (Eloquent Books, 2009), the children’s story Fenella and the Magic Mirror (Gypsy Shadow Press, 2010) or the recent collection of pun-jokes in prose and verse Cruel and Unusual Punnishments (Fantastic Books Publishing, 2016). Some diligent searching might lead you to two of those publications, but not the other two.
Amazon made this bizarre selection among the books on my Author Central without informing me, still less consulting me. I can’t even begin to guess the reason. I’m puzzled. I’m also annoyed and, frankly, disgusted. Since Amazon chose to insult me in this way, why didn’t it have the guts to write to me and tell me so? Is this great big multinational scared of me? Or, as seems more likely, does it simply not give a damn about anyone it deliberately offends?
Amazon is an efficient and reliable retailer. If you order an item from Amazon it’s delivered on time and at a competitive price, and payment is straightforward. This is admirable. On the other hand it has a bad reputation regarding tax payments. In common with certain other large multinational concerns, Amazon pays a tiny amount of the tax it ought to pay in the UK and other countries.
Its treatment of authors seems more consistent with its behaviour towards the tax authorities of its host countries than with its courtesy and helpfulness to its retail customers. The way Amazon has treated me as author is arbitrary, arrogant, gratuitous, inexplicable and disgraceful, and since there’s no plausible reason why I should be singled out for this kind of contempt I can only suppose that it treats other authors similarly.
Henceforth I shall have as little to do with this organisation as I possibly can.