walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Dvorak at PC Magazine accuses Amazon of "cooking the books"

Hey, call it what it is, right? Dvorak is accusing Amazon of lying in their recent press release.


Here are some of his arguments:

"Of all the people I know, only two have Kindles. I never see them on airplanes, and I check every time I fly."

Makes you wonder, right? Is he walking up and down the aisle inspecting everyone's devices? Polling flight attendants?

He asks Amazon to release further details, "numbers". I'm not sure how this would help; he doesn't believe what they did tell him, so why would further data from a source he doesn't trust change things? Here's why he's asking:

"This all looks like a publicity stunt if you ask me. The numbers should have been released since this is a major shift in societal trends.

It would affect the reading public, printing companies, book publishers, Amazon competitors, corner bookstores, public libraries, and schools. If it's true, everything will change. But where are the numbers?"

First, duh, it's a publicity stunt. This is the week leading up to BEA, you silly man. It's a _press release_. It's for _publicity_. However, that does not mean it's not true. I _love_ the argument that if it is true, Amazon has some sort of moral? ethical? common interest? reason to divulge details -- "since this is a major shift in societal trends". I haven't figured out where I'm going to recycle this argument, but I'll think of something, I'm sure, and I'll make a point of citing Dvorak when I do. You have to tell me! It means there's a major shift in societal trends!

I was astounded that the column actually got sillier as it went along. He asserts that people are using the contents of their ereader to seek status, and that the 50-100 books they display are largely unread.

He saves the best for last:

"But if Amazon is selling more ebooks than print books and if I were a big brand publisher, I'd be jumping out of a window right now. I do not see that happening either."

Here, I'll break it down for you.

The US is a huge fraction of the world book market. Amazon is a huge fraction of the US book market. Amazon says more than half of its sales -- by units not revenue -- is now ebook. If I were a publisher and this were true, it would be my Doom. That conclusion is unacceptable, therefore, Amazon is lying.

Denial in action. It's a beautiful, scary, dangerous, hilarious and wonderful thing.
Tags: e-book coverage
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