Dodgy business at Amazon, part three hundred and two

And this would be why Amazon tends to make me uncomfortable:

Amazon removes all Macmillan books from its store listings, in retaliation for pricing disputes. (via the New York Times)

Cory Doctorow provides useful perspective on the matter here, with a general consideration of the problems of market concentration and Amazon’s DRM policy.

(You may remember the awkward brouhaha dubbed “Amazonfail” last year, during which over 50,000 books having anything to do with sexuality were pulled from Amazon’s sales charts – most controversially, books, including classics, with LGBT themes, which caused much slinging about of heated claims of censorship. Amazon, after a great deal of public miscommunication and apparent internal confusion, eventually issued a statement attributing the problem to “a glitch.” I wish I could find an article with better coverage of the thing than CNN’s, but right now I’m not up to further newsdigging.)

– E

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  1. Anda’s avatar

    ARG. I love amazon, I love that site and it’s everything and your mom’s kitchen sink stock.
    But stuff like this makes me think twice about the invisible price I (and others) pay for convenience and frugality.

    Reply

  2. Emera’s avatar

    I knowwwwwww, Amazon is such a freaking drug. Heavily buying used books is a fair alternative to Amazon’s prices, I’ve found, but – the convenience, the convenience!

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  3. Maureen E’s avatar

    I’m with Anda. But I think I’m going to have to be more deliberate about when I use Amazon. I’ve discovered that they don’t always have the best prices–Alibris is sometimes better. So that helps.

    Here’s a NYT article on it: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/technology/30amazon.html

    Reply

  4. Emera’s avatar

    I’ve found prices at Alibris, Abebooks (basically identical to Alibris in terms of what books are available, but IMO their shopping interface is better), and Better World Books to be competitive. BWB is particularly cost-effective because their shipping is free, and you get the little kick of knowing that some of your money is going to useful causes.

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  5. Anda’s avatar

    Half.com was another one I used for textbooks- it too is a monster of a company being part of ebay, but if better world books has free shipping, I’ll have to check this out!

    Huh, a bit of browsing shows that as far as American cpmic trade paper backs and art books go, Amazon has the most competitive prices.

    Reply

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