Teabagging & Amazon Fail

I had to pay taxes again this year, and while I'm not happy about it, I'm not one of the bitter, right-wing, conservative Christian loonies taking part in the so-called "tea parties" today. These nationwide "teabagging" rallies crack me up. Not only because the conservatives have adopted sexual slang to define themselves (it's right up there with the homophobic National Organization for Marriage promoting its Two Million For Marriage as 2M4M), but because these tea parties are rich people pissed off that Obama is rolling back their tax cut and giving it to the middle class. Where were these teabaggers when the beloved Dubya was running this country into the ground? Or under Saint Ronnie Reagan when they were paying 10 percent more in taxes? The Republican Party is so out of the loop they're on a different planet, and it's a sad attempt to grab any kind of TV and face time. Luckily, these teabaggers are so stupid, that most of the country is having a good laugh and getting on about the business of pulling this country out of a recession that the conservative party put us in. Not surprisingly, many of the teabaggers still think Sarah Palin would make a good president.

  And now for Amazon. I spread the message far and wide, Twittered about it all night on Sunday, signed the petition and have followed the fallout over the last couple of days. While Amazon has finally offered up an "explanation" -- it doesn't make a lot of sense, but then neither did their other incoherent explanations as the epic PR failure unfolded -- there is now plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking going on. 

  There's accusations of "hysteria" and overreaction on the part the GLBT community since Amazon has blamed it on a "ham-fisted" (and apparently French) employee who "accidentally" marked 57,000 books as "adult content." This accident stripped the books of their sales rank and made some of them invisible to search on Amazon. The company has said GLBT books were not the only ones affected, but the overwhelming evidence as that the majority were tagged as having GLBT content.

  Twitter, which has become a phenomenon, flexed its muscle with the "amazonfail" trend and making Amazon's "glitch" global news in a matter of hours. For all those saying "get over it," the fact is that if this issue had not been brought to wide attention, the glitch would have been allowed to stand. Some gay authors have said the de-ranking actually began back in February, but snowballed over the Easter holiday (hmmm...) when thousands lost their sales rank. The majority of the books have had their ranking restored and I'm not sure we'll ever know the truth, but Amazon's reputation has been damaged and it will be watched closely from now on. This isn't Amazon's first big fiasco. Many will remember last year's brouhaha over Amazon forcing small presses and self-publishers to use its own in-house POD to sell on the website. That move made many publishers and authors look for other avenues of distribution.

  Many in the GLBT community have said they will never shop at Amazon again and have cancelled their accounts. For some, this isn't option. I'm one of those authors. Like it or not (and I don't), Amazon translates into sales, especially for many small publishers and bookstores who use Amazon's Marketplace as a storefront. My publisher, Finishing Line Press, sells After the Poison and its other titles exclusively through Amazon. Vanilla Heart, which is publishing my debut novel Conquering Venus this summer, also has big sales through Amazon and those who download their titles through Kindle. It's a catch 22 without a clear answer.

  While I have always tried to shop locally at indie bookstores, Amazon continues to have the cheapest prices and the biggest selection. I will limit my purchases there and continue to be vigilant to Amazon's practices and potential hidden agenda.

Comments

KATE EVANS said…
An astute analysis and balanced, pragmatic response.

*

I'm still thinking about Adam today! How does he bend notes that way?
poetwithadayjob said…
Collin, I get the catch 22 - and I know that some folks without access have no other choice. I won't judge anyone for using Amazon.

But I know better, have better access, and can find my books through other mediums. So there's no excuse for me!

Besides, perhaps our cancellations will have lasting positive affects for the sale of books from these presses - as they see just how much purchasing and PR power we gays have.

On a side note, I think Rachel Maddow did a funny on her show re: teabagging...I have to go find it now.
Lauren said…
Um it's the all inclusive uniters that have dubbed the Tea Parties as Tea Bagging... but I don't expect you to even understand the history from which this event sprung from since your knowledge base is restricted to your own experience and to the mainstream media in the West which encourages precisely such beliefs.
Collin Kelley said…
Lauren, spare me. Boston Tea Party, blah, blah, blah. It's still ridiculous. And trust me, I know all about teabagging. lol
Anonymous said…
Why do all the right-wingers forget the verse about rendering unto Caesar? That's in my Bible, which also says a few things about storing up treasure for yourself. Wait--that must be a different version because my Bible says everyone is loved by God, no one judges except God, and no sin is hated more than self-righteousness.
jaxx said…
while the deranking of GLBT titles is pathetic and indefensible, i will say one thing in amazon's favor for those of us who will (or must) continue to do business with them: they are at the forefront of the anti-packaging movement, and are giving preference to products that don't come entombed in thick, unnecessary, wasteful, environment-killing plastic bubbles. (you know, the kind you need at least a pair of scissors to open -- the packaging often outweighs the product by quite a bit.) i have to give them kudos for that campaign, as it's forcing other companies to follow suit. they are not perfect as a company by any means, but they are doing a significantly good thing in this area.

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