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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Amazon Failure

[Q| Reading about the recent #amazonfail (so big, you should Google) controversy, I wonder...

1) Technically, it's only "censorship" if the government is involved. What do we call it when it's perpetrated by a corporation such as Amazon or Wal*Mart, or an organization like the Holy Roman Catholic Church?

2. Generally speaking, I work as a cataloger for Barnes & Noble. We get the same bibliographic data Amazon does (ONIX files based in XML) and we add our subject listings using a basic call-number type approach. We also get summaries from the publisher, but I do not know what our website people add to our very basic "card catalog" data.

If this was a hack attack, could something similar happen to B&N? Possibly, if a keyword filter was used, which doesn't seem to be case at Amazon, since some titles appear under keyword searches.

Might B& add tags? I don't know. There are many "invisible" titles on our website, titles which have no available stock, which are not available via our used book network. They can be found be entering an ISBN or UPC or EAN, but keyword won't find them.

3) In the few websites I've browsed regarding this topic, none have mentioned other large bookstore websites, such as B&N, Borders, or BooksAMillion. When I worked at the store level, customers would frequently say that they wouldn't special order a copy, they would go to Amazon instead. NOT to our website. To Amazon.

4) [to be continued... text buffer limit reached ]

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