February 10, 2010 |
As a novelist, I am used to having complete control over the world on my computer screen. Life, death, sin, redemption: My characters' lives are in my hands. But last week, I got yet another reminder of my utter powerlessness once the book leaves home. Amazon.com took away my "buy" button. I'm not the only author I know who obsessively checks her Amazon rankings. It's not that I have any real idea what they mean: how they translate into how many books have sold or what kind of royalties I can expect.
November 2, 2012 |
If emails from Amazon's customer service team are a fair indicator, it appears the online retailer considers authors to be direct competitors of other authors. And email chains are all we have to go on, as Amazon did not respond to our request for comment. On Wednesday, Steve Weddle , an author of crime fiction, blogged about how he had tried repeatedly to leave a nice review for "Karma Backlash," a pulpy e-book by his friend Chad Rohrbacher, on its sales page on Amazon. Weddle's review was received but never posted.
July 17, 2011 |
Greed, we are told by the moral philosophers, brings out the worst in human beings. As Amazon.com is about to prove, the same rule applies to big corporations. Last week, the giant online retailer announced that it was backing a ballot referendum to overturn a new state law mandating that it collect the sales tax due on purchases by its California customers. That law, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown at the end of June, was designed to eliminate the price advantage enjoyed by Amazon, and many other online retailers, over brick-and-mortar stores.
December 16, 2013 |
Amazon workers in Germany went on strike Monday, protesting the working conditions at the online retailer's shipping centers. The workers' union, Ver.di, also sent a delegation to the company's Seattle offices. "The Amazon system is characterized by low wages, permanent performance pressure and short-term contracts," Ver.di said in a statement. Amazon employs about 9,000 workers in Germany plus an additional 14,000 seasonal workers; not all of them are union members. According to estimates, about 1,600 people took part in the strikes Monday at three German locations: Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, and Graben.
August 30, 2012 |
Here is today's Consumer Confidential segment from KTLA-TV. We looked at the announcement from Amazon that its Kindle Fire tablet is now sold out. Really? Could that have anything to do with a mysterious news conference the company has scheduled for next week? We also look at how Americans get off easier at the gas pump than people in other countries, and a recall of more than 600,000 Mr. Coffee machines.
May 24, 2012 |
SEATTLE — Amazon.com Inc., addressing issues that have drawn heavy criticism of the company, told shareholders that it planned to improve warehouse conditions and drop its membership in a conservative public-policy organization. More than 100 protesters rallied outside the company's annual shareholders meeting Thursday at the Seattle Art Museum, calling on the Internet retailer to pay more taxes, treat its workers better and drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council.
December 5, 2013 |
Jeff Bezos' announcement that Amazon hopes to eventually deliver packages to customers using little flying drones has caused a mini-uproar. From journalists to members of Congress, people are telling Bezos, "Wait just a gosh darn minute, mister!" Among those forwarding legislation to deal with the issue is Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas). In comments on the floor of the House of Representatives, Poe said: "Think of how many drones could soon be flying around the sky. Here a drone, there a drone, everywhere a drone in the United States.… The issue of concern, Mr. Speaker, is surveillance, not the delivery of packages.
August 24, 2011 |
Amazon.com Inc. upped the ante in its effort to overturn a new state law requiring all Internet sellers to collect sales taxes on purchases by California customers. The Seattle online retailer reported late last week that it contributed $2.25 million to the More Jobs Not Taxes campaign to qualify a referendum for the June primary election ballot. The contribution brought the company's cumulative investment in the campaign to $5.25 million. The referendum, if signed by at least 505,000 registered voters, would ask voters whether they want to uphold the law, which took effect July 1, or repeal it. Amazon is asking for a repeal, saying the California law is an unconstitutional interference with interstate commerce.
September 11, 2012 |
On the eve of Apple's expected rollout of a new iPhone, Amazon has slashed by half the price of a Galaxy S III smartphone for new activations. The Seattle online retailer is selling the 16-gigabyte version of the phone for $99 for those who sign up for a two-year service contract with wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Amazon said the offer was for a "very limited time" but did not specify when it would expire. Amazon is also offering smaller discounts for those who already have an account with one of the carriers and want to upgrade to the Galaxy S III. Purchasers of the Sprint and Verizon versions of the phone can save $50 and AT&T buyers can save $20. Users can also get a discount if adding a family line, knocking the price down to $119 for the Sprint version and $139 for Verizon.
January 21, 2011 |
The world's biggest online retailer is now competing more directly with the nation's biggest DVD rental service. Amazon.com has agreed to acquire the shares it does not already own in Lovefilm International, a DVD and online film rental service similar to Netflix that operates in Europe. The Seattle company already holds a 42% stake in Lovefilm, which is headquartered in London and Luxembourg. Financial details were not disclosed, although the Financial Times said the deal values Lovefilm at about $317 million.