Last week there was a bit of “uproar” over Amazon’s decision to no longer sell certain books on its platform. Several US Senators had sent a letter requesting additional information regarding this decision. Amazon’s lengthy response stated rather clearly that the company would no longer sell books that label LGBTQ identity as mental illness.
Personally speaking, this is another great move within the book industry. Knowing books like that are being written reminds me of where we were as a society a hundred years ago when seemingly every ailment or condition was treated as a mental illness.
But that’s also not the point. The point is Amazon is a retailer. Retailers decide what they will or won’t sell on their platform. Every retailer makes this decision. So it should come as no surprise that Amazon made a decision about products listed on its site, though many would have you believe this is akin to censorship. If I own a bookstore down the street and decide to only sell romance novels or audiobooks or erotica, that’s my choice. Just like it’s Amazon’s choice here.
On my birthday last month I ventured into my local BN store for the first time. This was the first time I’d been into any BN store in nearly 4 years. Suffice it to say I was not impressed. Watch and tell me your thoughts!
Oh, look at me finishing two books in quick succession.
I’m just going to dive right into the post. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The story follows Sophie. A Haitian girl being raised by her aunt at the age of 12 when her mother sends for her from New York. You follow her to New York to marrying to returning home to the tragedy of her mother’s suicide.
I’ve owned this book a couple of years now and knew absolutely nothing about it. I didn’t know the author. I didn’t know the premise. I didn’t know the themes. The story blew me away from page one. Haiti is arguably the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and you know it immediately. But as soon as you wrap your head around Sophie’s surroundings they completely change as she heads to New York to be reunited with her mother she doesn’t know. She soon realizes how difficult her mother’s life really is. This is important because of the conversations people are having TODAY. So many people in America want to paint immigrants as criminals, worthless, and illegal. But so much more often than not, they’re just like Sophie’s mother. Working multiple jobs and supporting family back home.
But the book isn’t only about being an immigrant and trying to find where we belong. Sophie suffers from bulimia and sex phobia, as it’s described in the book, and her mother suffers from severe mental illness, ultimately leading to her suicide. Sophie seeks help in multiple ways. I’m not going to say I suffer from anything, but I know how it feels to be entirely unhappy with every aspect of life, and to feel like no one is coming through that door to help.
Those are the two things I’ve taken from this book. That we should look at immigrants just as we would anyone else, and that we all have the ability to free ourselves from things we can and cannot control. Sophie begins the story as a struggling girl and ends it as a struggling woman. It’s okay to struggle. And it’s okay to seek help when you need it.
Yesterday I wrote about Amazon largely ignoring readers during its annual Prime Day. I may have been mistaken.
There’s a new book I’m interested in coming out next week. I happened to see a tweet from its author stating that the book was 70% off on Amazon. I checked. It was. A brand new release was $8.40. I decided to buy it. Then noticed that Amazon was (and still is) running a promo on books. $5 off $15. Not exactly the mountain of savings you could have from other items, but it is something. The promo code is primebooks17.
Remember when Amazon launched as a bookstore? Remember when Amazon was simply an online retailer? Remember when there was no such thing as ebooks until Amazon launched the Kindle?
Amazon gets criticized for everything it does. The company just recently agreed to buy Whole Foods, which may bring changes to the grocer once the deal is finalized.
What I don’t understand is that there are numerous companies in different aspects of our lives. But Amazon can never escape blame for anything. The company doesn’t need me or anyone else to defend it, but I think it’s time we acknowledge that Amazon’s offerings are aren’t so bad. So it isn’t just a bookstore anymore, and that’s a good thing.
So there’s this site called Twitter, right? You may have heard of it. Well Bill Gates recommended a book during a thread he posted to the site. Today the book was the top selling title on Amazon. Welp.
I won’t even tell you which book it is. Just go look for yourself.
We’ve all used Amazon. Some of us more than others. I imagine most of us are aware of the site’s option to buy with 1 click, right? I never use it, but I know it’s there. Now Amazon is allowing third party sellers to bid for the buy with 1 click option. Which isn’t new at all. Amazon has allowed this for other products but had excluded books. No longer.
What this means is that a third party could potentially be the first option to buy on the product page rather than the copy of the book Amazon purchased from the publisher.
My problem with this whole thing isn’t with Amazon. It’s with book publishers thinking they’re so much better than every other business. I’ve bought so many different products on Amazon when the first option is a third party seller and there was an option to buy from Amazon too. Publishers publish books to make money. THE END. Let’s not be fooled by their crying over not being the first option on Amazon.
How come publishers aren’t attacking Half Price Books? Their books are being sold by the hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions, and they aren’t seeing a dime from those sales. But Amazon is the bad guy. Like always.
In 6+ years as a Prime member I dont think I’ve ever had a package delayed. Until I order a book to read on my flights in the next couple of days. How wonderful. It’s supposed to be delivered by Saturday. I guess I’ll wait and see.
By thevebd of thus calendar year Amazon will have 10 (!) bookstores. Who would have thought this day would ever come? I’m still waiting for one in Houston. I feel left out at the moment. They began in Washington state and went to the east coast, then back to Washington. I mean, there’s this whole swath of land they just passed over!
I probably wouldn’t even buy anything. I just want to see what all the fuss is about. Is that so bad? Houston has plenty of commercial space available for one of these stores. Come here!