If I didn’t already know about many of the little things Amazon has done to completely decimate any interest I had in them as a bookseller, this wouldn’t bug me too much. But since the long sequence of WTF has been revealing itself for months now, this is just one more layer in the stank that is Amazon.
Way back in 2007, which was several millennia ago in blog time, we bloggers heard from Amazon that we could make our content available for Kindle users. Kindle folk would have to subscribe, and we’d get a cut of that subscription while the subscribers would receive our content automatically on their Kindles. This was back in the days of Kindle I: The Wedge Edition, which I had and at the time loved using.
I had no idea why in the name of whispernet anyone would pay $1.00 or $2.00 for a subscription to a site that’s free, but I was curious, and I wanted to go through the process and see what happened.
So on 17 December 2007, I received a very nice email from a gentleman from Amazon’s “digital publications” team, who said they needed a Tax ID form from me to finish the setup.
No problem! Sent that bad boy out. Gave them the LLC Tax ID number, identified us as a Women-Owned Business Concern, and signed that puppy same day.
On 5 May 2008 I hadn’t heard anything, and figuring that there are many, many other blogs that would be prioritized before mine, I sent the nice gentleman, Mr. Smith, we’ll call him, an email saying, “Yo, what’s up, here’s the forms again in case you don’t have them, kthxbye.”
Got a reply same day – like the Cubs, “they’re working on it.”
My payment account was ready to go, Smart Bitches Trashy Books had been assigned an ASIN for listing, and it needed to merely go through “technical set-up.”
On 3 June 2008: another nudge. Mr. Smith replied that they were still working on technical improvements to help our site move through the queue of sites waiting to be listed. I could expect listing in about two months.
At this point, I figured I was a small enough potato that SBTB wasn’t a priority in terms of potential profit, so I figured I’d email again in a few months.
26 February 2009: Hey there, any update?
14 May 2009: A new program for Kindle bloggers, wherein I can sign up for a brand new entirely separate account at Kindle Publishing for Blogs and have Smart Bitches listed for the Kindle – giving Amazon 70% of the cut for rerouting my RSS feed into people’s Kindles.
Are you fucking kidding me? Not a word for over a year, and now it’s a new program? How hard is it to review those already in the queue and update them on the status?
Most of the blogs listed are major Technorati Top-100 players, and I totally understand that blogs that aren’t in the top 100 aren’t a priority, but to be told “we’re working on it, you’re in the system…” the nothing, only to be alerted to a new program with an entirely new pay structure and you won’t mind submitting all that information again, right?
Like I said, if I weren’t already pissed off at Amazon, I’d be mildly annoyed. But this is, to use a tired metaphor, the cherry on top – and the long-ago loss of my virginal blithe ignorance of Amazon’s crazy-ass ways means I’m curling my lip at this email that gleefully invites me to re-participate in a process I completed over a year ago. Whereas before I was waiting for them to figure their shit out, now I have to start all over, and manage the process independently. Why would I do that?!
Curious note: whereas before it was a business partnership, the new model of blog publishing on Kindle: “A self-publishing tool.”
If it were a self-publishing tool, I’d have done it all myself already. Wait, oh, wow, look at that… I already am. I’ll do the self-publishing blogging, Amazon, and you can be the tool. #amazonfail