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Amazon's troubling reach
Lesson learned, right? Maybe, however, maybe not. This is, in the end, the other major issue involving Amazon's control over content during the last ninety days; in April, "a glitch" in the company's salesranking feature generated the inadvertent deranking of numerous lgbt books.
I would not mean to point out that these incidents are related or that they're anything apart from what Amazon claims they may be: mistakes made by a business staking your brave new world of electronic bookselling.
For advocates, it is a buzzing hive of interactivity the location where the solitary seeker at the bricksandmortar bookstore is upgraded on the collective mentality of the online "community." Yet this community will not help but operate based on a unique hierarchy a fact we confront when a book is deranked over the internet or electronically deleted.
Furthermore, the company has branched out beyond the traditional role of retailer, creating a bit of merchandise, the Kindle, that blurs the lines even more, functioning as both an e-book reader as well as a purchase portal on the store. Much of the talk about the digital future is because of its inevitability, but though that could be true, it overlooks more subtle questions of engagement and control.
For Amazon, books are a business, as well as the more hegemony it exerts within the market, better off it's. To the culture, though, books and data function as collective soul, a memory bank, something bigger mere commerce that shouldn't be merely dealt with.
Because of that, it's not the incidents themselves but their ramifications which can be disturbing, the notion that Amazon can effectively customize the collective memory anytime.
This is the problem with the digitized canon and also the electronic frontier: It's mutable to the point of being vulnerable. We have been asked to trust one another's goodwill, to imagine from the commons, although we understand people and institutions make an effort to rewrite history constantly.
Almost always there is a justification whether or not it's a rights issue (since it was with Orwell) or perhaps a programming error but it's wise precisely the same.
I am not a Luddite. I have a Kindle (although I still would rather keep reading paper), then when I bought an iPod Touch, I loaded it with books. As with any individuals, Now i live in the intersection of technology and language, ideas, "content," which I see as a host to possibility, where we've got profound new tools to maneuver the term forward.
Still, for all that excites me, something about its fluidity makes me wary, aware that such possibilities carry risks.