105 Ways to Give a Book

Oh, Amazon...

I was all set to break out of my doldrums with an exciting new idea for the blog. I’m going to update my ABC Storytime with reviews of Cybils-nominated picture books and give away the reviewed books to one lucky winner. A mini-ABC Storytime library! Fun!

But then Amazon had to have go and have some Issues. Well, crap. Because while I defend my right to be an Amazon Associate against the argument that Amazon kills Indies, I was having some serious concerns about linking dozens of books to Amazon with all that going on.

And I don’t like arguing. I don’t want to talk any more about whether the book should have been pulled by Amazon or whether that’s censorship. The book was self-published for the Kindle, but was against Amazon’s own policies for digital content. I don’t know how it got through in the first place, but Amazon can certainly remove a digital book — that it is in essence publishing — when that book violates its own standards. That’s not censorship or a threat to free speech. Nor do I believe that action opens up Amazon to removing other content just because a group of people find it objectionable. The book wasn’t removed because a lot of people complained, but because a lot of complaining people brought to Amazon’s attention a horrifying mistake. Certainly, they stalled with their knee-jerk censorship response. But I’m sure after the head honchoes sat down with the lawyers, PR folk, marketers, and probably a psychic or two, they realized their error and took it down. Done. Now, if the government steps in to ban the book, then we can talk about censorship or free speech. Looking forward to it.

But anyway, that put me behind on starting my new feature, and the weekend is always such a wash, so look on Monday for instructions on how to win twenty-five picture books! (Yeah, I’m not doing X.) In the meantime, I updated the links on my 105 Ways to Give a Book if you want to start some early shopping. And now that I can support Amazon again — whew! — I can point out this wonderful list for book-buyers. I’ll be updating it with more ideas and new books after Thanksgiving — as is appropriate.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

4 comments:

Sherry said...

I know what you mean. The whole Amazon thing started the day after I put up a wishlist for for books to send to an orphanage in Zambia, and my first thought, honestly, was not "what a horrible book" or "is this censorship" but rather what a mess and how will this affect my Books for Zambia project. I'm glad they pulled the book and got it all straightened out. Because I hate to say it: Amazon is just the most convenient way to do stuff like this.

Katie said...

WOW. I am actually just now watching a snippit about this book on the news. Shocking.

taralazar said...

The whole Amazon thing made me very upset because hardly anyone in the media reported on the fact that the title in question was made with Amazon's digital content platform. Almost everyone approached it as removing a "book" from a "seller" and thus equated it with book banning, when the issue was that this title slipped past their digital content vetting process. It's an issue that Amazon and B&N (with its new PubIt platform) are going to have to look at more seriously. Are they going to allow point-and-click automatic publishing, or will they put a stamp of approval on every book? It's a tough question with no easy answers.

Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian said...

What torqued me the most was their initial response. Freedom of Speech is a wonderful and important right, but it's not something to hide behind so you can absolve yourself of personal responsibility. They had every legal right to sell or not sell the book, and implying that freedom of speech meant their hands were tied, and it wasn't their fault, cheapens the whole concept to me.

As I mentioned somewhere else, freedom of speech means I can legally tell a small child she is butt-ugly, but that sure doesn't make it right. I doubt mentioning freedom of speech to that child's mother would save me from a smack-down!