Literary Corner Cafe

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Amazon Buys J.K. Rowling's Handwritten Book at Auction: Good or Not So Good?

I'm not sure what I think of Amazon buying J.K. Rowling's handwritten book at auction for millions of dollars. Sure, it's nice the proceeds are going to a children's charity. I think I would have been happier had the buyer been someone other than Amazon. Amazon has always had an exceptional talent for causing drama and inciting arguments on its site, and the purchase of Rowling's book is no different.

I wanted to take a look at the book (and it is lovely), and I also took a quick look at the heated conversations going on about it and Amazon's purchase. Why couldn't Rowling just have given millions to her charity? Perhaps she wanted to publicize it in order to increase awareness of its existence. That's fine and good. But why did Amazon buy the book and make such a huge deal of it on their site, inviting people to comment, i.e., argue? That is not fine and good.

Amazon is a great place to buy books online when one doesn't want to go into a "real" bookstore, and I'll still continue to buy from them from time to time, but I hate the online fighting, the ridiculous "ranking" process (does anyone in the world think Harriet Klausner's reviews are good - still, keeping her as the number one reviewer stops the others from fighting for that spot), and most of all the votes on comments. Next, Amazon will have people voting on votes, as in "Do you think these votes are correctly given?" I realize they want to prolong a person's stay on their site and I can't blame them for the, but personally, I think they're going about it in the wrong way.

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