Amazon.com fails to squelch Unfit for Command

In a world where half-truths and spin are daily fare, there is still a value in maintaining one’s personal honor.

Those who try and block truthful communication are literally playing with dynamite. The truth will out, even if it takes many years, and when it becomes known, those who have suppressed it become objects of scorn and are marked as being without honor.

Amazon.com apparently thought to give Kerry supporters a chance to smother the interest generated by Unfit to Command by changing their review policies for this particular book.

Important note from Amazon.com: We’ve decided to suspend our normal customer review policies and rules for this title. For example, we usually prohibit ad hominem attacks. That policy in particular seems to be incompatible with presidential election year politics. Therefore, short of obscenities, reviews on this book are now a free-for-all. We take no responsibility for the following discussion. Aren’t presidential election years great? Have fun!

What Bezos has done instead was to provide a free-for-all platform that presents an interesting picture of the mood of Amazon customers.

UPDATE 9/2/04: The review free-for-all continues unabated with the majority of reviews castigating Amazon.com for their bias. I wonder what would be revealed if Amazon applied this same review policy to other political books.

The 1200 1500 1835 2064 plus reviews are running approximately 2-to-1 in favor of the book. Many reviewers have also noticed that Amazon.com has not extended this free-for-all policy to any other political book and are accusing Amazon of political bias. Some are even cancelling their Amazon.com accounts. Ouch!

Another interesting point was that Amazon.com was quoting 5-7 weeks for delivery of this book up until a few days ago when it became clear that thousands of people were cancelling their orders and buying from other booksellers who magically seemed to have more stock than Amazon.

I placed an order for this book several weeks ago and was stunned by the notice that I would have to wait 7 weeks for a copy. Fortunately Sam’s Club had some in stock and I immediately bought this historic document which will become a permanent part of my library.

I was in Barnes & Noble this weekend and the manager was explaining to a knot of unhappy customers that they had received a large shipment of this book on Friday and it was already sold out.

This book may have already changed the course of this election. I have seen major shifts in attitude on the part of people who have read this book.

We live in interesting times…

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0 Responses to Amazon.com fails to squelch Unfit for Command

  1. Bill Schaffer says:

    I subscribe to Publisher’s Weekly, which in the August 30 issue had the following (I have excerpted it, it is quite long):

    Booksellers Caught In “Unfit” Crossfire

    A lack of copies kept booksellers at chains and independents alike explaining to customers why the controversial “Unfit for Command” was unavailable at their stores for most of last week. THe supply shortage became a serious problem for many booksellers because a number of customers accused them of not carrying the title because of a liberal bias against the anti-John Kerry work…..

    In a statement released late Wednesday, Jeff Carneal, CEO of ‘Unfit’ publisher Regnery Publishing, absolved booksellers from any blame in the controversy. He explained that demand for ‘Unfit’ “exceeded our expectations,” adding “despite what some customers may believe, it isn’t the stores fault that supplies are scarce.”

    ——-

    The article goes on to say that the first print run was 85,000, and that by August 30th the book had gone back to press 10 times, with 650,000 then in print.

    PW has its own bestseller list, and as of yesterday, ‘Unfit” was #1 for four weeks in a row.

    Bill

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