I’m a fan of Amazon.com. As a reader, I find it satisfying that I can search and find almost any title, even out-of-print ones. As a writer, I’m relieved that readers can find me even if their local bookstore doesn’t provide me with shelf space. (Let’s see: John Grisham, Stephenie Meyer, Oprah’s latest selection, me….which one is going to get sent back to the stockroom first?)

As a publisher, I have slightly more mixed feelings: I appreciate the ease with which we can sell through Amazon, although I wish they wouldn’t undercut us QUITE so much in their pricing, and I’m not a big fan of the fees we have to pay in order to keep our books featured in various categories.

As both publisher and writer, I can’t STAND it when their information suddenly mutates.

I don’t know what happens with the various databases, but the information on the books suddenly warps without warning. Last week, all of my books were listed under the name Susan Wise Bauer. This week, eight of them come up when you search for “Susan Wise Bauer,” three only come up if you search for “Susan Bauer” plus the title, and two have apparently been written by Susan W. Bauer, who is not the same as either of the previous persona. And there suddenly seems to be massive confusion over which titles are published by Peace Hill Press and which are published by Norton.

Have you ever tried to get a listing corrected on Amazon? Let’s see…to what shall we compare it? Telephoning the customer service number at the Division of Motor Vehicles? Writing to the I.R.S. with a question about your tax bill? Spitting into a bottomless well?

I’ve punted the problem over to Norton in hopes that they can shout loud enough to be heard within the Citadel.

Showing 3 comments
  • dangermom

    I’ve seen weird information on Amazon, but never managed to get anything done about it. Good luck.

    Oddly, my library catalog is just as strange with your name. I’m a librarian, I work at the public library every so often as extra help, and your name is cataloged as S. W. Bauer or Susan W. Bauer, but searching on Susan Bauer doesn’t work. I have to search for WTM by title and go from there. (I was checking yesterday, to see if anyone had bought a new copy of “History of the ancient world,” which was stolen almost as soon as it was acquired. So it’s fresh in my memory today. And it’s not there, sorry.) I don’t know how to fix that either.

  • Richard D. Walker

    Susan, I just bought and began to read your relatively new book, “The History of the Ancient World”. It’s the first time I’ve been exposed to your writing.

    I was SOOOOO.. pleased to encounter a history source written by someone without pretense and posturing. You don’t thumb your nose at academia, but you don’t bow to them, either. A refreshing experience for the reading public!

    I just completed and am self-publishing a manuscript, “A Beginning Understanding of John’s Revelation”, and I seek to do the same thing, in a way. It’s a study based just on the Bible. That is, I did the study without using commentaries and man-originated resources. Rather, I let the Bible tell me what John’s Revelation is about.

    I did this because I have long distrusted human sources, especially where those human sources so often have axes to grind, doctrinal positions to defend, etc. It seemed wise to let the Word tell me what is being said there.

    It took a while — about 30 years. But the result was well worth the reward.

    Anyway, I’m not writing to promote the manuscript. Rather, my intent is to relate something of the mindset from which I speak when I say how refreshing it is to read what you write.


  • Sharla

    So intresting! I love Amazon for the same reasons as you, but I have often wondered how authors and publishers feel about it since it’s so easy and so cheap. It’s cool to know the other side of things.

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