Monday, December 21, 2009

Amazon screws anthology contributors

My good buddy Win Eckert encouraged those who read his blog (which can be found in the links section on this very page) to repost this, and I'm happy to oblige.

"Amazon fails again--and contributors to anthologies get punished

In the past year, Amazon has eliminated listings for contributors to anthologies. Their first stated rationale was that anthology participants are not "authors" and thus they were all deleted. Amazon instructed that participants should be listed as "contributors."

Now, apparently, Amazon is refusing to list such participants as "contributors." Such a position devalues those of us who write for anthologies, but then devaluing the writer is nothing new with Amazon.

A few days ago I noticed that Amazon had eliminated the listings for all the contributors to my anthology Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe--despite the fact that when Amazon eliminated all the "author" listings a few months back, I dutifully went back into Amazon and re-entered them as "contributors."

Noticing the listings were once again gone, I re-entered the contributors... and received this pleasant missive this morning:

==== This is an automated response message - please do not reply ====

Thank you for using the Catalog Update Form to send suggestions for

Myths for the Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe (ASIN 1932265147)

At this time we cannot accept the correction you have submitted for one of the following reasons:
- Could not verify
- Incorrectly formatted
- Provided URL did not confirm
- Some data on high-profile items is not editable

To help us make sure your submissions are correct, use proper case and correct punctuation and spelling, don't add comments or questions and include a valid URL from an authoritative source for verification.

Attribute: Author function
Current value: Win Scott Eckert | Editor
Your suggestion:
Win Scott Eckert
Philip Jose Farmer
Matthew Baugh
Christopher Paul Carey
Peter M. Coogan
Rick Lai
Chuck Loridans
Jess Nevins
Dennis E. Power
John A. Small

Data accuracy is highly important to us. We appreciate the time you have taken to submit your updates to us.

Best regards,

Catalog Department

Amazon, enough is enough. I know who contributed to the anthology I edited. I submitted correct information, following your guidelines. I provided a URL listing the table of contents, and the contributors.

I've been playing ball with you, Amazon, entering, and re-entering, and re-entering correct information on both the anthology I edited, and other anthologies in which I've participated, only to have you constantly move the target.

Amazon's refusal to list
Philip José Farmer as a contributor to a book in which he has nine essays--Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe--is counter-intuitive at best and mean-spirited at worst. And it runs counter to Amazon's own self-interest by preventing readers from searching by authors, in order to locate anthologies to which their favorite authors have contributed.

I've tried Amazon's "customer service"... only to get the runaround and contradictory answers. Surprise.

Is it any wonder I do my damnedest to avoid purchasing from Amazon?

Please repost, re-tweet, re-fill-in-the-blank. Enough is enough."