Amazon isn’t Evil, But… [rant]

I read all the hysteria and outrage about how Amazon has done this or that terrible thing… until it gets boring. The majority of the screamers don’t even have the facts straight about whatever terrible wrong is twisting their panties this week. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. There are good reasons for using Amazon and there are equally good reasons for not. I make my own choices in my own way, after I look into the facts.

I decided early on that I would publish my books on Smashwords, but not on Amazon, unless Smashwords wasn’t able to produce the sales I hoped for. Well, that’s what happened. So now I’m favoring Smashwords, as I probably always will, but am also adding my work to Amazon. My support for Smashwords, and my belief that it’s foolish to put all your eggs in one basket, means that I won’t be putting any books in Amazon’s Select program. But times change, and there may come a day when that’s a good idea, at least for some of my work. But not in the forseeable future.

Now I’ve made another decision about Amazon — that I will not buy Kindle books unless it’s something I really need and it’s not available elsewhere in ebook format or in print. 1. I read my Kindle books on my computer, using the desktop app. This is an extremely buggy app which is less than competent about deleting books that I no longer want. Some books are deleted without any problem, but other remain in full, or at least their covers, even when they’ve been deleted from my online Kindle library. So the clutter has been growing. 2. My account is set so that Kindle books are charged to one of my debit cards. Imagine my surprise when I realized that they’ve actually been taken out of a gift card that I’ve been reserving for more important things. 3. I bought the KIndle version of the first of a series of books last night. I loved it, and immediately bought and downloaded the second book, only to find that the first half of the book has parts of sentences and paragraphs missing. Deleted it, asked for a refund, and tried again today. Same problem. Is it just that book or am I going to have the same problem with others? Do I want to go through the hassle again? No, I don’t.

One-click ordering is damned convenient. In many ways, Amazon is my favorite place to shop online. But when it comes to their ebooks, I’m putting my foot down. The convenience isn’t worth it, and neither is the discount.

Wouldn’t you know it. Just as I was about to post this, I got an email from customer service. I can’t complain about that, because I’d sent the requested info to them only an hour or so before. And I’m being credited with $5.00 for the inconvenience. I appreciate it, but it doesn’t fix the problems, and it doesn’t change my mind.

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5 thoughts on “Amazon isn’t Evil, But… [rant]

  1. I own a Kindle, and have bought and read more books since then than I thought possible. If I had to read on my computer screen, that number would drop to few or none at all.

    That said, once again I am in your debt for observations and conclusions. Thanks for posting.

    1. Rik, I started reading ebooks on the computer when my eyes were going bad with cataracts. The bright screen and the ability to enlarge the fonts kept me reading when I was almost blind, so now it’s a habit. The only other “reader” I have is my iPod Touch, which is exceptionally sharp, but also very small. I’ll never buy a Kindle unless Amazon gives in to ePub, and I’m not sold on any of the others I know about. All have their limitations.

  2. Great post Catana. I rather rashly signed up to select with my two novels, thinking it would be an easy sales tool. It has not been successful for me, really, but I have learnt a lot from the process.

    1. In general, it seems that the Select program is best for writers who already have a following, or who are writing in a familiar and popular genre. For the rest, it seems to be a killer. But it’s easy to make mistakes because there are so many options, and things are changing so rapidly in publishing.

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