Thursday, March 11, 2010

New and exciting reasons to hate Amazon

The publishing industry has portrayed Amazon as a villain for its e-book price bullying. (Click on the Everybody Hates Amazon label for background, if you need it.)

But Amazon has been giving people new and exciting reasons for people to hate it. The online shopping company has even drawn the ire of normally amicable Canadians.

To make a long story short, Amazon wants to establish a fulfillment centre in Canada. (I think “fulfillment centre” is French Canadian for “warehouse.”) However, Canada’s heritage ministry must approve of the warehouse, because booksellers are protected by Canada’s heritage laws. As explains, bookselling is one of many cultural trades protected from foreign ownership so American influences do not overwhelm Canadian culture. bypasses heritage laws by distributing through a third party. For Amazon, the fulfillment centre would cut out the middle man.

Early indications hint that the government will side with Amazon, but Canadian booksellers have been riled.

Comic connoisseurs are also irritated with the Internet kingpin. A pricing glitch appeared on Amazon’s Web site that caused hardcover comic collections to be deeply discounted. I mean deep discounts. Books that would normally cost more than $100 were listed for less than $10.

Word of the accidental fire sale spread via the web until the Amazon top 10 was dominated by superheroes.

Once Amazon realized what was going on, they started fixing prices. Then, they removed buy buttons altogether.

While no one has said exactly what caused the snafu, the speculation is that it was caused by erroneous data entry by Diamond Book Distributors. Diamond distributes pretty much every comic you have ever heard of.

While some people received their omnibuses, many received cancellation notices, instead. An Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said those who don’t get their comics will get a $25 gift certificate for the inconvenience.

-Jason Lea,

P.S. I love that it’s a fulfillment centre, not a center.

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