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26 April 2009 @ 21:52
Amazonfail II: The conspiracy against Wodehouse  

A few of you may recall from a couple of weeks ago a certain brouhaha, a bit of a to-do, about how Amazon.com suddenly failed to display various works related to lesbians and gays in search results. One of the big questions, of course, was whether it would be plausible as well as charitable to attribute this "glitch" to incompetence rather than malice (albeit incompetence nudged in one particular direction by general societal levels of homophobia).

I have no original ideas to contribute to the debate, but I thought I'd share, belatedly, one piece of circumstantial evidence that may or may not reflect on the plausibility of the incompetence hypothesis. I was recently searching on Amazon for P. G. Wodehouse's memoir Over Seventy, which, alas, appears to be out of print. Amazon does have a page for Over Seventy, with links to people selling used copies starting from usd$202.76 (too rich for my blood). In order to help its customers find what they are looking for, Amazon invites browsers to supply products with informative tags. No one has yet tagged Over Seventy, but that's okay, because Amazon's software has helpfully come up with some speculation under the heading "Suggested Tags from Similar Products." Here are some of the tags it thinks may apply to this work of autobiography by the creator of Bertie Wooster and his man Jeeves:

  • dystopia
  • african literature
  • post-apocalyptic
  • chick lit

I am not sure who is more likely to be disappointed here, aficionados of Wodehouse or fans of dystopian post-apocalyptic African chick-lit.

lxndr: lxndrlxndr on 27. April, 2009 02:36 (UTC)
IS there dystopian post-apocalyptic African chick-lit?
I'd be interested to know this.
Vizcacha: Bookchillyrodent on 27. April, 2009 16:13 (UTC)
#1 Ladies' Brave New Armageddon. Houghton-Mifflin.
Michellemsagara on 27. April, 2009 02:37 (UTC)

I am in the process of doing my taxes for 2008 -- and it isn't even the 30th yet -- so I was not expecting to find very much amusing this eve.

But this... was very, very funny. Thank you :)
Merlemerle_ on 27. April, 2009 11:59 (UTC)
I cannot think of any book outside of the realm of antiques that would be worth more than a dollar per page.

Interesting that none of those tags occurs in their list of most popular tags; I would have assumed that given zero information it would simply offer those. It would be more understandable if there were a "customers who bought this also bought these things", but at that price tag I doubt they have any such data.
theridger on 9. Maj, 2009 21:35 (UTC)
Amazon once sent me an email saying "As someone who has purchased or rated books by Anthony Trollope, you might like to know that "Container Ships and Oil Tankers (Amazing Ships)" is now available."
(Anonym) on 6. Marts, 2013 08:30 (UTC)
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