goodreads Steals Reviews for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX and Paperwhite

GoodReads

badreads

All this goodreads censorship folderol makes sense when you realize that Amazon’s goal all along was to integrate the Kindle with goodreads. I presume all the four letter words will be the next censorship target since when Grandma looks up a review on her Kindle Fire HDX or her new Paperwhite she is going to be a little shocked to see “this book was f___ed up” in a review. Amazon always edited the four letter words or off-color content out of the Amazon site reviews (or just didn’t allow the reviews to post). How long will it be until that begins? goodreads will become just an Amazon catalog.

Or maybe if Amazon is too stupid to censor (not likely) including a few expletives in your goodreads review will ensure that Amazon doesn’t steal it for the Kindle.

No Amazon

When evil corporations buy up dissenting voices.

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On-Topic

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The Great Amazon Swindle prepackaged for your pleasure. Admittedly only presents one side of the story of how multinational corporations stifle and eliminate dissenting voices. Written as a poke in the eye, daring badreads or Amazon to delete it; the desperate voices of literary freedom that cried out when a corporation chose to turn a thriving social network into a mere catalog.

One negative is that this collection of dissenting voices doesn’t do enough to identify the remoras that are so eager to neck-suck Jeff Bezos and the ultimate flim-flam man Otis Chandler. We want to know who besides the coddled goodreads authors are laughing all the way to the bank.

GoodReads

badreads

GoodReads

Bad Reads

Well Amazon finally screwed the pooch with GoodReads.  I said this would happen as soon as Amazon acquired GR.  Blow hards like David Gaughran who were probably already getting kickbacks from Amazon provided Amazon apologetics but I could see through the hypocrisy.

What happened?  Well last Friday, as most of the GR staff were probably hitting the freeway, GR announced a new censorship policy.  They would now delete reviews completely, without warning or notice, that were prejudicial towards authors when they felt the author comments from the reviewer were not relevant to the book review at hand or just plain hostile to the author.  At the same time they said they would start deleting user book shelves where they deemed the shelf title or shelf contents also violated this policy, say if I had a shelf which was called “worthless authors who’s books I will never buy or read.”  They will delete these completely without notice.  Oh, and if you admit you couldn’t finish the book because it was so bad, they’ll delete that review too.  You have to finish the book now to post a review that won’t get “removed.”

They provided all this information strictly through a group thread, no real announcement to anyone and had already started deleting content without warning.  The Friday “bad news” drop is a typical ploy used by government and corporations so nobody has to deal with it, it in theory has no effect or a dampened effect by Monday.  Amazon, er, I mean GoodReads employed the same sleazy tactic.

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When Evil Corporations Take Over

This entire fiasco comes out of the fact that instead of being an independent entity like GR used to be it is now essentially a division of Amazon a bookseller.  Smell something fishy in Denmark?  Do I see a conflict of interest?

Another factor was the whiny GR authors, many of whom never published anything worthwhile (GR is flooded with mainly worthless self-published authors as well as a few good ones).  These authors whined about being attacked and unfairly treated.  The fact that GR is now a division of a bookseller leads them to try to protect authors, delete negative reviews, negative book shelves, etc.  I assume the next shoe will be deleting one-star reviews from the ratings.  Who is unfairly treated now?

What can you do?  Well there are already fledgling sites like BookLikes that offer a level of competition.  In addition there is still LibraryThing.   You can export all your GR content (including all the reviews) to a .csv file that can be read into MS-Excel and usually transferred to the alternate biblio-social networks like BL and LT.

No AmazonBoycott GoodReads and Amazon.  There are alternatives to buy books from, even a lot of Kindle content can be purchased directly from publishers.  Go to an independent bookseller.  Barnes and Noble needs the money anyway if you want to see a viable alternative to Amazon in the future.

BandN

I Told Ya So…

Just a quickie here. “Ethics” was kind of a special edition because of some muckraking and yellow journalism that just couldn’t wait. I’ve gone over this post four or five times and every fact is dead true. There isn’t a lie or exaggeration in it. Pretty good for one of my posts, huh?

Well I’m feeling pretty good today. Why? For one the Dunbar thing went down just as I predicted. “Willy” is the “monthly read” from now ’til August something in Literary Darkness on GR (lends a new meaning to darkness). So I’m only one for one you say. Oh no effendi, I’m batting two for two today. Go back and look at “Suckers” from a week or so ago, then look at the DJIA today, then look at your 401K. Was it chicken day at your house? The farmer didn’t bring any chicken feed today did he? And your investments are also going to look like chicken feed if you don’t do something about it real soon. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so. BTW I bailed out last Friday. I’m feeling like the cat that ate the canary.

Ethics

willy-by-robert-dunbar

Robert Dunbar is a really good writer.  Most people would categorize his writing as horror but he would chafe a bit at that.  He is a genre bender and his prose is on the literary side along a sort of Hemingway path.  Good Stuff.  I think his novel Willy is brilliant.  I liken it to A Catcher in the Rye. His short story collection Martyrs and Monsters is excellent. Buy it. Buy both of them right now, you won’t regret it. I own all of his books.

Now I come to the theme of my present post. Mr. Dunbar and I have had a little disagreement, let’s call it a matter of ethics. Nothing illegal going on here, let’s get that straight also. Mr. Dunbar is a moderator for a little group called Literary Darkness on the ego-driven biblio-social network GoodReads, which is now owned by Amazon I might add. Now this group has a monthly book reading. The group sort of nominates a book and we sort of vote on it and read it and discuss it that month. Kinda cool for a swell-head like me. Some time ago the group read Dunbar’s story collection Martyrs and Monsters. Well and fine. This month the chattering in the monthly reading thread was trending towards picking another of Dunbar’s books, a brilliant novel entitled Willy.

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There is a little “cult of personality” going on in this group as well. Robert doesn’t encourage it but he doesn’t discourage it either. He’s a big time, okay not Stephen King big, but bigger than all of us are, writer and pretty good. It’s not his fault that the masses don’t go for class. But on the other side intelligent members of this group do fawn just a bit at Mr. Dunbar’s feet. He’s polite, responsive, a good moderator, and answers all queries which is a big deal to fans of a real talented writer.

Well your’s truly starts to smell something fishy in Denmark. I jump into the thread and say Robert’s a good guy and his books are good and all, but doesn’t it seem a little funny that another of Dunbar’s books (he only has 7) is coming up in this group as a monthly read. Now I don’t accuse Robert of priming this at all. He’s not pumping it. But he also is not politely bowing out. See where I’m going?

There are well over a thousand people in this reading group. It is not called Robert Dunbar’s Reading Group, it is called Literary Darkness. A group called Robert Dunbar’s Reading Group should read Mr. Dunbar’s books just like the Robert McCammon group reads all of Robert McCammon’s books. See I’m from Chicago and a big fan of calling a spade a spade and not messing around. No hidden agendas here.

Well, Dunbar deletes my post. It’s gone. Pfffft. He doesn’t tell me in the group or privately that he has done this evil thing. I notice it when I go back to the thread to see the new posts. It’s just gone. Now you know me, I never get excited. Mr. Dunbar and I have a terse private exchange of messages when I call him out, also in private. I ask what’s the deal? He basically says that the group has been clamoring for this for two years. So what, that is not the point. Taking the high road when both the high and low are offered is the point. Are we getting anywhere? There is also an intimation, no, more than an intimation, that yours truly is a little too negative. Hmmm. So the world of literary criticism and discussion is supposed to be fairies and rainbows (see below) especially when it comes to Mr. Dunbar’s creations?

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If this goes down, as I think it will, and it will, it will (how much wood woulda woodchuck chuck..?) just be too bad. I don’t have any heroes anymore but I would expect an intelligent and talented person who certainly appears to not be a hypocrite to take the high road when it is offered. Start a separate group to discuss Dunbar’s books. Start a “Buddy Read” with the author as moderator on the side, but don’t intentionally or unintentionally hijack the whole Literary Darkness group monthly read when it smells of merchandising and not literary criticism.