Thursday, October 25, 2007

Where Have All The Comments Gone?

Amazon has an unintentionally amusing new policy for safeguarding its sales or certain of its top reviewers' feelings. It now "hides" many of the comments below reviews if they haven't received lemming-like endorsements from such cabals as the Notorious Grady Harp Voting Machine. In Amazon's words, "Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion." Usually, this awkward censorship in the Comments section is immediately undermined by the following concession," Show post anyway." Amazon here reminds me of the editors of my high school Latin textbooks. They routinely censored Ovid and Plautus, but feeling guilty, included the excised "dirty" sections in the backs of the books. Enterprising students, of course, turned to those "hidden" passages first. It might be wise now to follow the same practice when reading Amazon's Comments sections. For examples of the seller's new practice, see the instances at the foot of several of Grady Harp's newest reviews.

Is it possible to read 7 books in a day…every day?

A good question.
Is Harriet Klausner for real?

Is it possible to read 7 books in a day…every day?

That’s apparently what Harriet Klausner is doing. The famed #1 book reviewer on (who does claim to be a speed-reader) posts, on average, 7 book reviews a day. So not only does Harriet have time for reading all these books, she can also whip off reviews of them pretty quickly, too.

Color me skeptical, and I’m not the only one. Read this page of comments to see how curious observers are challenging Harriet’s numbers, while others are coming to her aid. [...]
For the whole thing visit here.

Taylor X is back commenting

Well, he seems to be commenting on review comments again and he's removed the comment about his comments being closed from his profile page,

Monday, October 22, 2007


Unless I've been unable to access the option, it appears that Amazon has deleted the opportunity once accorded to users to comment on new movies still in theaters under the category "Theatrical Releases." I wanted to comment on the grossly overpraised indie film "Lars and the Real Girl," a finely acted but dully developed and finally stupid two hour ordeal, ideally suited to the Lifetime or Oxygen Channel. Amazon, most likely because it can't sell anything but the soundtrack for brand new films, seems to have dropped the category of "Theatrical Releases" for its reviewers. Ars Gratia Pecuniae!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I had to quote this:

Zigmund Feud says:

What we have here Problem Child is a textbook example of what may be referred to as Top Amazon Reviewer Delusion Syndrome (TARDS). I have a chapter on TARDS in my soon to be published masterpiece "Amazon and its Discontents". (Ironically I intend to send free copies of this book to everyone suffering from TARDS in order to promote sales here. Sweet!)

Some pathologies to look out for in identifying people suffering from this syndrome:
- complete acceptance of the belief that quantity of reviews is directrly proportional to quality. Most people believe the relationship is inverseley proportional;
- complete acceptance of the belief that getting your friends to vote for your reviews validates your belief in the quality of those reviews; (There is a corrolary indicating a relationship with multiple personality syndrome sufferess where people create multiple identities to vote for their own reiews and believe that is okay cause they are, well, different people);
- the belief that obtaining a high rank through the posting of copious reviews, including multple reviews of different versions of the same product, somehow vests you with an ownership interest in Amazon sufficient to dictate what others can do here;

Just a few key notes here to whet your appetitie. Please pass this comment along to all your friends and PLEASE BUY MY BOOK AND WRITE A REVIEW OF IT!!!! PLEASE

Hurried Klausner Hurrying a little too much?

Looks like she got a little carried away with the cut and paste.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Yes, of course! I mean no. (a.k.a. Free Cheese)

From the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award FAQ:
Q: Do I keep my content rights if I enter?
A: Yes, you maintain full content rights when you enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award [; however,] if you are selected as a Semi-Finalist on January 15th, 2008 [...] [,] you will be required to provide Penguin right of first refusal on any publishing contract until you win, are eliminated from the contest, or April 22, 2008.
That is, if it's worth anything, Penguin owns you. And not only as far as the submitted manuscript, but "any publishing contract"! Am I misreading this?
Here's another good one:
The Grand Prize winner will be selected from among the Finalists based on Amazon customer voting [...]
I foresee quite a bit of overtime work for The Notorious Grady Harp Voting Machine (TNGHVM). ;-)

What's it worth, this so-called 'customer' voting? To know the answer, one needs only to check out Grady Harp's reviews record with his invariable 60-100 votes for every single item received near instantaneously upon posting of every review of his.
More funny stuff:
5. PRIZES. The following prizes will be awarded:

One (1) Grand Prize will be awarded, consisting of a full publishing contract with Penguin to market and distribute Grand Prize winner's winning Manuscript as a published book, including promotion for such published book on Upon the full execution of the publishing contract, Penguin will pay the Grand Prize winner US $25,000. (The approximate retail value ("ARV") of the publishing contract is US $25,000 for the advance.) This US $25,000 payment is an advance against the royalties to be earned by the Grand Prize winner under the publishing contract. Penguin will determine the royalty rates to be paid under the publishing contract, which will depend on the format in which the book is published. Publishing contract with Penguin is not negotiable, and Grand Prize winner must sign "as is" upon receipt of the executable contract [...]
Twenty-five grand is cool of course, but the rest... and what if the royalties (determined by publisher alone!) do not eventually amount to the advance? Will the happy advancee have to return the dough ? How hard is it for the publisher to arrange for such a royalties schedule that there'll be nothing left for the author or even to leave him in the red? Even 'creative accounting' won't be required. Comments invited: tell me whether, and if so, where I'm misreading this.

I mean, why would anyone deny himself the right to negotiate? Doesn't having no right to negotiate amount to a guarantee of being fleeced? What publishing risks does Penguin take here? They are under no obligation to publish anything, winner or not; they are getting a nice free marketing survey, and they are to determine the price IF they do decide to publish. Seems like a risk-free strategy to me.

If I were an aspiring writer, what would I gain by forgoing the regular publishing route (agent, etc., including pay negotiation) and resorting to this contest? The high privilege and distinct honour of being 'judged' by the likes of Hurried Klausner?

But, that said, I know nothing about publishing industry, so -- whoever is -- please enlighten me.

Amazon Break Through Novel Award

This is interesting, I received an email from Amazon wondering if I'd like to participate in reviewing some of the entries.