sábado, 10 de enero de 2015

Nuking Nook

I don't know when I first started using amazon. Sometime in late 90s (97?), but I was using a different email, and I didn't manage to recycle that user when I changed it... twice.

Still, the reason I used it back then (it's lost a lot of that particular appeal, now, as they tweaked their system to favour their local branches... which aren't quite as good), back before amazon-UK, much less the rest of them, was that it was both easier and cheaper for me to get books through amazon than anywhere else. While I live in a city, mine is not an English-speaking country. So, in a way, my access to (English) books was about the same as someone out in some mountain ranch in Montana.

Amazon made it possible, with some S&H caveats (not really all that many), to get books. Many more titles, much cheaper books, faster books (yes, it's faster to get them from a shop... unless you account for how long it took them to get that title).

Compare to Kobo. Searching things there is a pain in the ass. Either too many results (and you get to wonder how some of those got there, since they don't match your search at all) or too few. And when you try to buy them, you get a 404. Guys, you're a corporation; at the very least, provide a link to the proper off-US site. After dealing with their pain of a search, finding the book... then you get to know they're not going to sell it to you, and they're not even going to provide an alternative. If you want it, you have to go to the European site and deal with the search engine again. And then, get charged extra, both as basic cover price and taxes [*].

So, instead of a worldwide, convenient, shop, Kobo (and others, mind you), we have a shop that insists that you're going to buy from them their way, or else...

Or else? Shove it. It and your business division, of course. It's business, guys. And a business that forgets customers...

Take care.

[*] As an aside, the VAT on ebooks as software is there because the publishing industry hasn't moved a finger against it. If the groups behind Le Monde, the Economist, El País, Süddeutsche Zeitung... pushed for cultural VAT on ebooks, the EU Parliament would work on it so fast they'd be borrowing spare seconds from 3001.

[UPDATE March 2015]: They seem to be working much better, now. Maybe being bought by the Japanese? Their search engine still sucks, but I'm being able to actually find books and buy them without jumping through the obstacle course.

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