By now I'm sure most of you are aware of the story of the Giant Bookseller Who Didn't Give a Rat's Ass. Yesteday I spent much of my evening watching the twits come in, hundreds at a time, as Twitter kept pounding against Amazon like relentless waves against the sea cliffs.
The metaphor is apt. Over and over people have asked for explanations, being given only two explanations that are far from similar: "it's policy" / "it's a glitch". The waves kept pounding, the rock of Amazon kept ignoring. In a world where information travels at nearly the speed of thought, this company that runs it's business at those same incredibly fast speeds -- just closed it's collective ears and turned it's behemoth back on authors, publishers, journalists, readers. This is never a good business decision. In fact, Kelley Eskridge has a great post explaining just why this is Bad Business Practice on so many levels.
In the meantime, the blogosphere has erupted with the same vehemence as the Twitter posts (#amazonfail is the hashtag to follow, although #glitchmyass is addictive as well). All day long people have hollered at the cliffs, first asking, then demanding, then pleading for some sort of answer as to the largest question of them all: Why?
Amazon has finally answered and truth to tell, the answer is sadly lacking. The reply is a bare three paragraphs with little information. The whole thing was an "accident" -- no one should take anything personally, or seriously for that matter. Just a little mistake. Go away and everything will be fine. Why do I think the White Cliffs of Dover just turned into the Wizard of Oz and we're all citizens of Munchkinland?
As of last night, all Amazon links have been removed from my website and will not return. While some Twitterers have wondered (sarcastically) what will happen to the brouhaha once Amazon apologizes (sorry, would link the tweets, but they are already lost in the waves of new tweets), the reality is, I will not go back. The trust is broken -- I cannot count on them to take care of matters in a timely matter, nor can I trust them to be honest with their clientele. While I think it's premature to predict this will lead to their downfall, the entire episode has lessons for us all about doing business in this instant-message age (again, see Kelly's post).
Join the conversation -- everyone else is! And btw, no...the rankings are not yet back for any of my books.
(edited to fix link)