julieandrews: (Default)
Just found out about this while reading my flist. [livejournal.com profile] andpuff was the first on the list, but she's not the only one to have posted about it.

Apparently Amazon is stripping the sales ranks from books with gay romance in, on the grounds that it's adult material. Regardless of just how explicit the content is, or how explicit the straight romance books are.

This may be a case of a stupid code-goof and/or customer service not accurately replying to a query. I've had plenty of experience with customer service not answering the question I put to them, as if they hadn't actually read it, but just run a keyword search on it and hauled out the form response that seemed most likely to fit.

But if it's not, then Amazon needs to straighten up and fly right. (You can decide if that's a pun or not.)

Here is the post that I think originated it: http://markprobst.livejournal.com/15293.html

And here's an lj with some explanation of what's going on, where you can find further links, and an explanation of why sales rank matters. http://community.livejournal.com/meta_writer/ [livejournal.com profile] meta_writer

ETA: There's an interesting theory at http://tehdely.livejournal.com/88823.html that the problem originated in an individual or a group going around Amazon and tagging things as adult. And that Amazon's system relied on those tags enough to remove the sales rank/searchability of those books in an automatic way.

Interesting theory, quite possibly true, and really really stupid of Amazon. It's still a fail for Amazon because 1) their system is too trusting of a few tags/complaints, 2) the customer service people didn't reply well, 3) their PR people claiming it's an unspecified 'glitch' is inadequate and lame.

If that is what happened, they should tell everyone, and then they should fix their system so it can't be exploited this way again.
julieandrews: (Default)
I ended up on Amazon, seeing what other people thought of Survey Ship and, as I often do, ended up scanning my recommendations. There's something pleasurable about telling it you already have a book or are not interested. Though it does need a 'so far beyond not interested it's not even funny' button.

There not being anything too new in my recommendations list, I wandered off looking for other methods of browsing Amazon and chanced upon the tags. I love tags. (Imagine that in the Doctor's 'I love the little shop' voice.)

It's not a surprising fact I discovered, but it is a bit depressing. If you search for books tagged 'gay fantasy' you get some big name writers and big publishers at the top of the list, mixed in with some small press and soon enough some self-published works. When you search for 'gay science fiction', however, it goes straight to the self-published. And rather ugly covers, no offense, guys. There's fewer books in this list, with fewer people tagging them.

Come on, people, get with it! Women who like slash can like science fiction. Gay men can like science fiction. Is it not being written? Not being published? Or just not getting rabidly tagged by fans?

Oh, and unrelated note, I see Amazon thinks it can trademark 'Real Name'. And it was interesting to see that it would believe any name of mine was real if it was on a credit card. That could be fun to mess with...
julieandrews: (Default)
By now, I am quite annoyed by how many Stephen King books Amazon is recommending to me based on The Living Dead, since it thinks Stephen King wrote the whole thing.

I discovered that Amazon lets you 'update product info', which is basically to make suggestions to fix their errors. I did this successfully for a Bujold audiobook where they had her name broken up oddly and the reader/narrator listed as a co-author.

I tried it for The Living Dead. All I was suggesting was that they list JJA first and Stephen King last. (It was easier to just swap their positions than to move everyone down one.) I even provided an URL to the publisher as reference.

But it came back today:

Action: None. We could not verify the requested update.

You couldn't verify it? I gave you an URL! You have a product image! Look at the freaking cover of the book!


Maybe if several people suggest the change, they'll fix it eventually. But I just wonder if they think they'll sell more books if Stephen King is listed first. And, well, if it does sell more books, then I'm all for that.

(I do have my copy now. Haven't read it yet. I'm sure it's excellent though. You should all get it! Just maybe tell Amazon to ignore it as far as recommendations go, unless you like Stephen King books.)
julieandrews: (Default)
According to Amazon's recommendations page, Stephen King is solely responsible for the The Living Dead anthology. They have apparently decided not to list the editor first when giving the credits, so when it comes to cropping it shorter for the recommendations, wish lists, and shopping carts, one author gets listed and not the editor. Incredibly frustrating, as I don't care two hoots about Stephen King, yet I am very interested in this zombie anthology.

I wrote Amazon an eloquent and annoyed Email. I encourage others to do the same.

But, hey, on the bright side, Eclipse Two, the infamous male-dominant anthology series and particularly male, male, male cover is now credited to Diana Wynne Jones. (Who isn't even on the cover.)


julieandrews: (Default)

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