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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 3, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Amazon blunders: Were they handled right?

Latest Kindle blunder shows failures of bureaucracy

Apparently Jeff Bezos wisely apologized for the way Amazon deleted customer purchases [“Amazon sued over Kindle deletion of Orwell books,” seattletimes.com, Local News, July 30] from their Kindle reader because Amazon did not have the right to sell those books.

It sounds as though the big failure was lack of communication. That is an ongoing problem with Amazon’s bureaucracy, which costs them sales. In the event of any problem with a transaction, it is not possible to communicate with Amazon except at substantial cost in personal time.

It’s as though Bezos cannot see a parallel between his user-friendly change of toy packaging arising from what he experienced directly, and the user-unfriendly aspects of the bureaucracy he has built.

But perhaps he just has the usual executive shortcoming of not effectively educating staff on principles from sound values, a problem Bill Gates had and a challenge that Boeing’s Jim McNerney seems to recognize but struggles to deal adequately with.

We know there is no future for a bureaucracy — they die, perhaps slowly if their past performance was good, but they die.

Good luck to Bezos in forestalling that day with Amazon.

— Keith Sketchley, Saanich, B.C.

No need to disguise ad placement in Kindle

Here’s another instance of life imitating “Seinfeld.” Do you recall the episode in which Jerry was appalled at Elaine’s non-tilting of her juice bottle to distribute the sediment, as she found it too onerous a task to perform?

Now, Amazon’s head honcho, Jeff Bezos, wants us to believe that turning a page in a book is also that overwhelming a job [“Keep your ads out of our books,” column, NWSunday, August 2].

So Bezos is kindly providing me with the opportunity to spend hundreds of dollars on a machine with an easily cracked protective cover [“Amazon makes good on cracked Kindles,” Business, July 16] that I must then supply with batteries to turn my pages — after I push a button to get it to do so.

At least have the guts to not be so disingenuous, Bezos. Why not be honest and tell us the truth, which is that you’re trying to create revenue by inserting ads in the books people read.

After all, you’ve no need to worry that your scheme will flop. Just look at how easily the clothing and footwear industries have suckered countless millions worldwide into being walking billboards for their products and financial gain.

— Gayle Richardson, Seattle

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