Tag Archives: Amazon

Amazon Bullies Again

picture credit. MGM by way of Wikipedia
I go forward with this blog post with trepidation. First, because I’m talking about the behemoth that is Amazon, and second, because I don’t want to scare away my new blog readers. To my new blog readers, welcome gentle people. Please know I remain positive and I do not complain often.

So why is this tiny gnat lodging a buzzy complaint about the giant? I’ve done all I can to try to make the situation right but I’ve gotten nowhere, so I’m blogging about it.

I write reviews. I don’t always blog my reviews so you don’t see them all the time. You would certainly get sick and tired of seeing reviews of books every week as if I have nothing else to talk about. Or maybe you’d rather…umm…err. Anyways. Amazon is picky about their reviews these days. Bless them. I’m all for their little selective hearts. I wouldn’t want to read a mother’s review of her son’s wondrous attempt at literature, and you would not have wanted to read my mother’s not unreasonable, but not very kind reviews of some of my past work. So I’m all for Amazon rejecting reviews written by relatives and close personal friends of the author. However, and here’s where what happened to me has to be revealed,  I wrote a review of a woman’s novel.  The novel had been given to me to pass on to someone else. The other person didn’t like it because of the subject matter, and so, curious, I thought I would read it. I found the book sad, but the ending was powerful. The book was a memoir. I wrote a decent review and posted it. Amazon rejected it. I emailed their review department to ask why. They stated that I was a close personal friend of the author and therefore my review was not acceptable.

I’m not a close personal friend of the author. I hardly know the lady. I see her at book events. I like her. She seems sweet and gracious. But we’ve never spoken on the phone. We’ve never had coffee together. So why would Amazon say I was her close personal friend? That’s nuts. And creepy.  So why does this bother me so much, besides the creepiness factor? Because if they can say that about me, what are they telling people (who may or may not know me) and are trying to post a review on Amazon about one of my books? Yikes! I need all the reviews I get!

It isn’t as if I didn’t email back and forth about this issue with Amazon’s review department. They would not reveal HOW they KNOW about my close personal friendship with this poor author. Apparently their methods of detection are top-secret and must never be revealed. And another beef I have with this razz-a-ma-tazz Mr. Amazon review board is this – how is it reviews that are tragically unkind toward an author and aren’t even about the book are not taken down? What about reviews that reveal all the story’s plots and subplots thus spoiling everything for future readers, why are these not hidden?

I am friends with a lot of authors. I’ve had lunch with Jane Yolen. Bless her. I hope she doesn’t mind I said that. I doubt that she’ll ever know I did. (Shh. She’s famous!) Ha! I could go on and on about the many author’s I’ve met over the last thirty years. (Name dropper? Moi?) I’ve reviewed a majority of their books. Oh my! Will they take down my other reviews now? I’d hate that. I feel like the lion on the Wizard of Oz movie when talking about this. “Put ’em up, put ’em up! Which one of you first? I’ll fight you both together if you want. I’ll fight you with one paw tied behind my back. I’ll fight you standing on one foot. I’ll fight you with my eyes closed… ohh, pullin’ an axe on me, eh? Sneaking up on me, eh? Why, I’ll… Ruff!

Now for the denouement: I forgot to mention that I left something off the review that is of utmost importance and would have prevented this sorry state of affairs. I failed to add to the review these words “The author gave me a copy of the book for a fair and honest review”. It was a “slip of the pen”  – I pressed send before thinking it though, aauurgh! Those words would have saved the day. Unfortunately I am not allowed to go back and fix it. Amazon, the bully, is completely unforgiving of such things. But not to worry. I have given my good review of Mary Perez’s “Running in Heels: a memoir of grit and grace” on Barnes & Noble’s site and on Goodreads. And in those places my review remains.

If you bought a book from me at a Kroger, you may wish to leave a review of the book on Amazon (I hope. I hope. I hope.) but be sure to include the fact that you purchased the book at a book signing. I’m afraid that if these words are not used in some form or fashion you may be accused of being a close personal friend and…and…oh my… how horrible would that be??

Not horrible at all gentle readers. I continue to make many wonderful friends as I sell my books. I hope we continue to be such. Thank you so much.


Book Friends

English: Open book icon
English: Open book icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s funny how some books feel like old friends. It seems I have a lot of them. Madeleine L’Engle‘s first book of her Crosswicks Journal, A Circle of Quiet, is such a book. In it the author reveals so much of herself, both good and bad, that I felt I had met someone I could have spent a lovely afternoon with, walking in the woods, sitting by the stream, retracing foible life in the quiet stillness of the sun-kissed woods.

While I’ve been known to throw a book in the waste bin if, in my opinion, it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, most books I purchase stay in my house a short while and then are moved on to other homes. The best ones are given away. I have been known to sell some good ones to the half-price shop. But that isn’t often, and only because I don’t know who to give them to. The best of the best of what I read remain on my shelf. Those are my friends, the ones I plan to read again and again.

Thing is, I can’t keep a copy of A Circle of Quiet. It keeps slipping off into a friend’s hands and more often than not, time goes by and I know I must buy it again. They are becoming thin on the ground, these good little books. The last one was part of the set but I might be able to find it on Amazon again. They’ve been out of print for so many years.

Another lovely read is Rosamund Pilchner’s The Blue Room. I’ve got my copy back again after lending it out. The stories are sweet but not too. A good book of short stories. None of them end in violence or death. Despite the author’s best-sellers, I wonder if such a book would have ever found a publisher these days. It’s so nice, no death, no violent or shocking endings. It’s got two marks against it. The niceness and it’s short stories. I doubt it would be published today. I really do.

My mother had many book friends. She had been collecting all her books for so many years because there was no library near enough for her to be able to use. Her house was impacted with books. Unfortunately when my father passed away suddenly three years ago, she had to be uprooted and she lost many of her books. It was a completely tragic time for her.

I had to move her from her five-bedroom house to a small one bedroom apartment. She was able to squeeze in many of her cherished things but not many of her books made that transition. To assuage her book-friend loss I now take her to the library every two weeks. At eighty-five my mother reads everything. Her two favorite authors at this moment are Deborah Crombie and John Gresham. I only wish those two had more books at my mother’s library.

Her love of books rubbed off. I hope when I’m her age I have as many beloved book friends as she has.