Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Brave New World of Amazon

Today's LA Times had an op/ed piece on "Amazon's Troubling Reach."

The article points out that Amazon has had two "major" issues in the last three months. The first problem occurred during Holy Week when Amazon "accidentally" dropped the sales rankings for erotic and gay books (read my blog on the issue here).

The second problem surfaced last week when Amazon deleted copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from readers' Kindles (read my blog on the issue here).

The Times article says:
In the wake of the uproar, Amazon announced that it would no longer use its wireless capabilities to erase its readers' e-books, and Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos apologized.
In a tip of the hat to one of Orwell's contemporaries, Aldous Huxley, the Times editor David L. Ulin asked this question:
What is this brave new world [Amazon is creating], . . . and are we sure that it's the one we want? . . . The issue . . . isn't that Amazon has erased material from people's Kindles, or de-ranked gay and lesbian writers, but that it can.
Readers of this blog know that I stopped purchasing from Amazon and removed the links on this blog to Amazon some time ago. I'm no longer comfortable with the "brave new world" Amazon promises . . . any more than I am with the one Wal-Mart offers. I quit purchasing from Wal-Mart over three years ago. Both retailers may be cheap and convenient, but I don't like their policies and refuse to support them with my purchasing dollars.

Ulin ends his op/ed with this thought-provoking reminder:
". . . economics is a slippery territory, defined by self-interest rather than the public good."

Go here to read the entire Times article.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I rarely shop at Wal-Mart any more and haven't had any trouble finding other places to shop. While I don't often buy from Amazon, that's a harder one to give up, probably because it is so convenient and all-encompassing. However, the more I read about Amazon the more I am going to make the effort...I just hope they don't take over Netflix.