When you boycott Amazon, you boycott me

This is going to sound crude and self-serving, but I got junk punched this week when Amazon decided to allow a pedophile to sell his self-published guide to pedophilia on their website.  I love Amazon for a lot of reasons, but that was a bone-head move that rightly sparked a boycott movement.  And, herein lies the aforementioned junk punching.  The boycott affected me – I think.

My primary source of income comes from Amazon’s website.  I am not an employee of Amazon.  I am an entrepreneur who uses their website to publish and sell my books.  I make more than a fair amount on each sale, and I have yet to find a viable alternative to the system they have created for authors like me.  In short, I rely on Amazon to sell my books and help pay my mortgage.

Yesterday, when the outcry for the boycott was at a fever pitch, my sales dried up. I cannot say for certain the boycott was the reason for the dip in sales, but it did make me stop and panic. Now, you should know, I don’t sell thousands or hundreds of books every day.  If I sell a dozen in a day, that’s an excellent day for me.  I rely 100% on word-of-mouth and my sales have gone up year after year.  In fact, I’ve already sold 30% more books than I sold last year.  If I get a similar holiday bump in sales that I got last year, I’m on pace to triple my sales over last year’s numbers.  Again, we’re not talking tens of thousands of books.  More like thousands, and trust me, I can barely make that plural.  The point is, just a little hit has a huge negative effect on my income.

Amazon is not a giant, faceless corporation – not entirely.  It is a publicly traded company with seemingly as many lawyers as managers on staff, but it is so much more than that.  It is a community of authors, musicians, filmmakers, small businesses, etc. trying to make a living practicing our craft of choice.  We have no say in company policy.  We have no voice in who the company hires.  We have no power at all within their system, save one, the power to make money.

Was I happy to find out that a pedophile was using that same system to spread his vile crap?  Of course not.  I was disgusted.  I agreed with the angry comments I read left by customers on the book’s sales page.  I didn’t understand Amazon’s first amendment stance, especially when they ban pornography which is also protected under the first amendment.  The move just made no sense at all.  But nonetheless, I am torn.  If I support a ban of the platform that is the major source of my income, I’m essentially committing retail suicide.  As I said, I haven’t found a system that even comes close to Amazon for what I do.  Say what you want about them, but they know ecommerce better than anyone else on the planet, and they’ve gamed the system so we artists can actually make a living doing what we love.

It is my understanding that the book is no longer on Amazon’s site, and my sales were back to normal today, but I’m still left with the metallic taste of worry in my mouth.   What if this happens again?  I realize I’ve made this whole unfortunate incident about me, but I never said I didn’t have narcissistic tendencies.  Plus, this is how I eat.

So, what do I expect from you, the Amazon customer?  Nothing. I’m not suggesting you never threaten to boycott Amazon again.  But remember, when the ‘B’ word comes up again, there will be a stocky, bald little writer on the East coast feeling the brunt of the boycott through no fault of his own.  And there are thousands of others like me, I might add… not that their stocky and bald.  They’re just entrepreneurs trying to make a living through Amazon.

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7 thoughts on “When you boycott Amazon, you boycott me

  1. Mr Ridley

    I totally agree with your concerns and worries. In the reverse sense they also aply to me and many others in my situation. I live on a small Island in the Caribbean ( i know it is not suffering). On my Island there are no real bookstores, only bestseller newsstands in the supermarkets so I always relied on travel to get books and the last 14 years I was able to order from Amazon, than came the Kindle and all my literary suffering was over and I was able to discover all these wonderful indy writers . The Amazon Kindle page on facebook is the best platform I have found to date to meet said writers and like minded people .So I was equally worried when the storm raged yesterday. I put a protesting review on the books selling page on amazon but never considered boycotting and cutting of my book supply

    Cornelis ( Binkie) van Es
    Sint Maarten D.W/I.

    • Well, I don’t think you have to worry about them going anywhere. They’ll survive this, and they really aren’t an evil company. The just don’t handle these types of situations very well. They tend to reply with a sanitized response initially that does more harm than good. In their effort to not say anything that could get them in any legal trouble, they end up insulting everyone’s intelligence and throwing common sense out the window.

      I’m sure they’ll release a statement soon that will provide more details , and hopefully calm the boycott talk, which I just discovered is still going on.

  2. Pingback: At the risk of getting hammered, I have to defend Amazon. « R.W. Ridley

  3. No worries Mr. Ridley. I heard about the incident when it happened, and as disgusting as I find the topic around which the book is/was about, I wouldn’t let it affect my purchasing. I’ve found lots of controversial books in libraries & bookstores before, and didn’t hear anyone screaming about it, so I don’t see why this should be any different.

    I really don’t see why anyone would boycott a store for selling content. Just boycott the content. If we started boycotting entire stores, we run a fine and dangerous line of pushing those places to become editors/reviewers, which then means they have to start deciding what we should or should not like or be offended by.

    I think I now have bought all of your books available on the Kindle, and am just waiting on your others to be made available on there. As soon as they are, boycott or not, I’ll be buying.


  4. FYI and thank you. There is a new Christian guide out on the rearing of children which Amazon is planing to replace the Pedophiles Guide with now that it can be purchased as an ebook. The new paper back guide is tentatively called. ¨A Holy Whipping is NOT a Pedophiles Licking¨. And there are all sorts of appropriate punishments in it that can be used by the Christian family for everything from making the child eat hot jalapeño peppers for using the wrong words…to other more sever but not as ¨scaring¨ punishments.

    And there is an entire chapter devoted to telling in such beauty that we are not animals like K9s or bears who lick and preen their young to bond with them. And that for the sake of the child´s sexual maturity affection should be held to a minimum and only used sparingly as a reward for positive behavior. B.F. Skinner is mentioned in the preface as being among those the author strongly admires.

    Thank you once again for pointing this out. You should feel very proud.

    Dr LaBra

  5. Pingback: Beauty Supply Save A Sint Maarten | Beauty Supply Shops

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