Well, all right, that’s not a literal quote, but it might as well be. Salon has never made any pretense of its anti-Amazon leanings (as we saw recently with Laura Miller’s piece claiming she was swearing off Amazon), but lately it seems to have gone a little round the bend. Over the last couple of days, it’s started coming up with whatever Amazon hit pieces it possibly could. I’m talking serious scraping of the bottom of the barrel here.

For starters we have this article by Neil Drumming. He went back to various literary nonprofits Salon had profiled a couple years back for receiving funding grants from Amazon and said, in effect, “Bet you’re sorry you took that money now, since Amazon is being all evil and stuff, aren’t you?”

The only ones who answered him were generally positive about it, saying more or less that they didn’t support all of Amazon’s businesses practices but it did some good things, too—and so did its money. Drumming is unable to resist throwing in this scare paragraph, however:

But many of the nonprofits Salon contacted over the course of two days declined to comment on or off the record — another scary sign of Amazon’s massive power. The PEN American Center refused to comment; Poets & Writers stopped responding to calls; a whole host of organizations (Archipelago,  Lambda Literary, 826seattle, ArtandWriting.org, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Cooper Canyon Press, and the Kenyon Review, to name a few) never replied at all.

It’s worth noting there could be any number of reasons they didn’t want to talk to Salon, not least of which is it’s really none of Salon’s beeswax how they feel about any of their donors. But whatever. I imagine that around the Salon offices, if you trip over your own feet or accidentally get some water down your windpipe, or if the light changes just as you get to it, or a black cat crosses your path, it’s always Amazon’s fault.

But at least that article has some journalistic merit. The one that really takes the cake is by Tricia Romano. Ms. Romano’s bone to pick with Amazon is that the company’s success and expansion has led to an influx of boring male geeks that is completely ruining her sex life because they’re all so, well, boring.

Seriously. I’m not kidding. That’s the entire thrust (so to speak) of her article.

You might think an abundance of men is a great thing, but as a wise woman once said, “The odds may be good, but the goods are odd.”

“I’ve lived in Seattle for seven years, single most of them,” Annie Pardo, a 31-year-old freelance event and communications consultant in Seattle, wrote in an email. “The only thing that has changed is the increase in men I’d never want to go out on a date with.” She added, “Can’t believe they actually strap on those new employee book bags.”

You know what? I’m not even going to try to make fun of this article. I just can’t. There is nothing I can possibly say about this article that can top the article itself. Thank you, try the veal, we’ll be here all week.

Coming soon to Salon Magazine: “Amazon’s mama” jokes. “Amazon’s mama so fat, when she sits around the warehouse, she sits around the warehouse.”


  1. Actually, what you describe represents a sea-change in attitudes toward Amazon that in the long run is likely to matter more than the Amazon’s lapdog the DOJ going after Apple or the much publicized clash between Amazon and Hachette. Ridicule often trumps fear and criticism.

    Long ago, G. K. Chesterton noted that humor was the best counter to terror. You don’t fear what you are laughing at. He meant the terror of the old German militarism, but it applies equally well to today’s Middle-eastern variety, as this video illustrates:

    I saw the same when I adapted an 1879 bestselling novel set in North Carolina after the Civil War into an exciting young adult novel. One of those in story claims that he’d rather participate in Picket’s Charge at Gettysburg again than to face the Klan on some dark night. And yet, when I placed pictures of Klansmen in my book, I felt it necessary to remind my readers that once upon I time they were terrifying to some and heroes to others. Today they look silly in their white robes and pointy hates.

    What applies to terror also applies to corporate bullying. Over the long run, making fun of new Amazon employees as dull dates may do more to harm the company image than any public anger at yanking buy buttons from bestsellers.

    Amazon, located far off in drizzly Seattle, has made a serious miscalculation taking on a company whose executives’ kids go to the same Manhattan private schools as television network and magazine executives. The old adage about not arguing with someone who buys ink by the barrel applies equally well when the bucket has digital bits.

    –Michael W. Perry, Lily’s Ride: Rescuing her Father from the Ku Klux Klan

  2. The big publishers and their friends are doing the usual things that people going out of business do. Discredit the competition with any falsehood. This is a sign of fear.

    Amazon has done a great job of getting authors of all types (published and self-published) out to people from all over the world, not just those readers near bookstores. These publishers and authors have benefited greatly from Amazon’s marketing tools.

    The big5 are now worried that Amazon is getting too big, perhaps bigger than themselves. That is called competition in a free market and democracy. The big5 complain that as Amazon is now so big, it tries to dictate terms to the publishers. Have these publishers every dictated terms to their authors or bookstores? Of course they have. This is how business works.

    Do you want to try discrediting a business? Lets try this. Why have there been articles where the big5 have been described as a mafia? Was it not them who were guilty of price fixing? I believe their reputation is rock bottom. This is no falsehood, but a fact.

    All these anti-amazon press releases just makes me go closer towards Amazon. Every author who writes unbalanced articles on the current dispute has lost my business. I am only one person but the more of us that feel this way the more it is going to hurt people like Mr. Stross.

    Amazon has developed the Kindle which is an excellent tool. Their reading apps are also very good. What have the traditional publishers done for their customers in this regard? Very little and half-hearted. Who will I give my money to, the people working to make my experience better or the ones taking me for granted and trying to rip ME off?

    Dear Mr. Perry. How have your sales through Amazon compared with other outlets? Be brave and join the New World, leave Amazon, your regular readers will still find you, but any potential readers will have trouble discovering you.

    Perhaps the big5 can invest some of their monies and build a great experience for their readers, but I will not hold my breath. These are the companies that for decades have treated us (the reader) with contempt. Things like windowing and their demands of ebook stores to have DRM installed on their books are things that we, the reader, do not like.

    Amazon provides us with what we want, printed books delivered quickly to our homes, ebooks downloaded in a few seconds. Ereaders and apps that work seamlessly, a great review system. Competitive pricing (Not always the cheapest) and a website that is very easy to discover new authors and books from any publisher. Why would I leave Amazon? Just because some woman in Seattle could not find a man of her liking? Poor little thing. Life is so tough for her.

  3. @Mike, great link. I love comments written by journalists such as

    “Amazon is restlessly expanding. It is paying HBO $300 million for the rights to stream shows like “The Sopranos” for free to Prime customers”

    I did not realise that Prime customers got Prime for free. People who propagate this stuff are hilarious.

    If I went on and made comments about how good Apple products or Samsung products Or Google’s services are, then it would be based on what they provide to me, the customer. Who knows what sort of deals they come up with their suppliers but me, as the customer, am very happy with them. You could describe me as a fanboy or any similar terms , but I buy their products because they are aimed at me. These companies make truck loads of profits each year and I have no concern about that. My concern relates only to the product I am buying. Apple was in the news for all sort of negative reasons, relating to worker conditions and the supply of some materials. Did it affect them? No, people buy their devices in incredible numbers. The average consumer wants a good product.

    As for being an Amazon groupie, can you point me in the direction where I can get the level of service I already receive from Amazon.

    I hope that another company comes in and competes against Amazon as it will mean that we, the customer, can have a choice of top end service. I already have accounts with B&N and Kobo. They try hard but are not there.

    The big5 publishers seem to be focusing on raising prices and not really caring about us. Give me a reason to like them. There is an author who I love reading and has just released a book. It is only available in Hardcover. I don’t buy hardcovers. Thank you big publisher for great service.

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