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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: May ::
Re: Amazon.com
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0941  Tuesday, 2 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Roger Gross <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 May 2000 13:00:08 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

[2]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 May 2000 14:47:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

[3]     From:   Daniel Traister <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 May 2000 15:31:49 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Daniel Banes and Amazon.com

[4]     From:   Ray Lischner <
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        Date:   Monday, 01 May 2000 18:15:45 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

[5]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 May 2000 20:13:58 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

[6]     From:   Simon Malloch <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 May 2000 13:12:23 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

[7]     From:   Syd Kasten <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 May 2000 11:36:29 +0300 (IDT)
        Subj:   Shakespeare, Shylock & Kabbalah


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger Gross <
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Date:           Monday, 1 May 2000 13:00:08 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

Florence,

I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about the unavailability of
SHAKESPEARE, SHYLOCK, AND KABBALAH at Amazon.com.  The book is almost
surely out of print and out of stock (as most 1978 books are).

Amazon.com lists many such books.  My own, for example, which has been
out of print for ten years or so.

What surprises me more is that Bibliofind (the used book search service)
could find no used copies on the market.  Those who bought it must be
hanging on to it.

Hesitate before you assume a conspiracy.

Roger Gross
U. of Arkansas

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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Date:           Monday, 1 May 2000 14:47:31 -0400
Subject: 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

Florence Amit asks:

>What makes it
>unavailable? Why should it remain listed if it is out of print? Is it a
>censorship related to the sudden availability of the 19th century book
>of libels called "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?"  People have
>been sending me letters that they receive no reply from "Amazon " about
>their objection to that one.  What is happening?

Amazon is run on an enormous database which is, for the most part,
unmonitored because it is so large.  Publishers send Amazon a list of
titles they have (or expect to have) and Amazon adds them to their list,
whether the books actually exist or not.  Worse still, Amazon will now
list any title for any company or individual, for a 10% consignment
fee.  This means that if Joe Schmoe has a book he has self-printed on
slices of potato, he can sell it on Amazon.  While this opportunity
certainly allows for considerable variety in the titles Amazon lists, it
also means that distribution is decentralized and highly irregular.

If Amazon plans to stock the title on a regular basis in its warehouse,
they list it as "available", anything they think they can get but don't
want to stock gets listed as "available in 4-6 weeks" or as a "special
order item".  What this really means is that Amazon doesn't stock it,
will never stock it, and might order it in for you IF their system is
functioning properly and IF they can find it easily.   The item is
listed because the service that obtains titles for Amazon lists it, but
that is no guarantee the title can be obtained.

I seriously doubt the issue is one of censorship.  Amazon is not
interested in, nor would there be any financial incentive for censoring
itself on the basis of a few customers' letters.   They have millions of
customers out there, and for every one person who objects to a title,
there are hundreds more who disagree and who would be willing to pay for
the book.

My guess is that the title is relatively obscure and either the
publisher is behind in its printing or Amazon rarely orders from this
source.  The book may not be officially listed as out of print, so
Amazon doesn't change its status.  This is one of the hazards of dealing
with a monolithic superstore, and yet another argument why you should
continue to support small independents with knowledgeable staff.

Tanya Gough

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Daniel Traister <
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Date:           Monday, 1 May 2000 15:31:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Daniel Banes and Amazon.com

Florence Amit writes:

>For the past two years or more I have been trying to buy . . . [cut]
>Daniel Banes' book, "Shakespeare, Shylock and Kabbalah" [from Ama-
>zon.com]. What makes it unavailable?

Amazon.com continues to list it; but as a special order. The online
Borders.com lists it the same way; BN.com does not; neither does
Amazon.co.uk-and since it is a 1978 imprint, this is not surprising. The
book does not turn up in a quick search of o.p.  (used and rare)
databases; but this might be the direction in which to look for it. One
would have hoped that Amazon might report on the book's availability;
and my own experiences with Borders is that they do (ditto
Amazon.co.uk).

> Is it a
> censorship related to the sudden availability of the 19th century book
> of libels called "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?"  People have
> been sending me letters that they receive no reply from "Amazon " about
> their objection to that one.

"Sudden" availability? Dear Ms. Amit! Wake up and smell the neo-Nazi
coffee. This little charmer has *never* been out of print, unlike Mr.
Banes's book, and may also be readily located on the world wide web by
the curious.

For whatever it's worth, the Amazon site does contain a long comment on
this book. It begins:

     As some readers may be aware, a hoax e-mail has been circulating
     widely that falsely claims Amazon.com has favorably reviewed this
     book. This allegation is, of course, absolutely untrue.
Nevertheless,
     this rumor has become so widespread on the Internet that it's
already
     a recognized "urban legend," just like alligators living in the
     sewers. Amazon.com obviously does not endorse The Protocols of the
     Learned Elders of Zion. This book is one of the most infamous, and
     tragically influential, examples of racist propaganda ever written.
     It may be useful to some as a tool in the teaching of the history
of
     anti-Semitism, but it's unquestionably propaganda.

It goes on to defend Amazon's decision to sell the book. As a librarian,
I have to add that I am in fundamental agreement with this decision. And
perhaps I should add that I own no stock in (and rarely use) Amazon.com.

Daniel Traister, Curator, Research Services
Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, University of Pennsylvania

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ray Lischner <
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Date:           Monday, 01 May 2000 18:15:45 -0700
Subject: 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

>For the past two years or more I have
>been trying to buy a book, soft cover or hard, that Amazon lists.  It is
>Daniel Banes' book, " Shakespeare, Shylock and Kabbalah". What makes it
>unavailable? Why should it remain listed if it is out of print?

Amazon lists every book that they can find in any available database,
including books long out of print and books that never made it into
print. If the book appears in any publisher catalog, it appears on
Amazon. I can only guess why they continue to list books that are no
longer in print, but I suspect it has something to do with their claims
about being the biggest bookstore on the planet, with millions of titles
available.

Ray Lischner,  http://www.bardware.com
co-author (with John Doyle) of Shakespeare for Dummies

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Monday, 1 May 2000 20:13:58 -0600
Subject: 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

Florence Amit wrote:

>My old friend that has solved so many of my gift problems and made me
>feel a part of the main stream by allowing me to buy fine books, is
>acting in a very strange way.  For the past two years or more I have
>been trying to buy a book, soft cover or hard, that Amazon lists.  It is
>Daniel Banes' book, " Shakespeare, Shylock and Kabbalah". What makes it
>unavailable? Why should it remain listed if it is out of print? Is it a
>censorship related to the sudden availability of the 19th century book
>of libels called "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?"  People have
>been sending me letters that they receive no reply from "Amazon " about
>their objection to that one.  What is happening?

I looked this book up on Amazon, and it appears they have both a
hardcover and a paperback edition available by special order. Here's
what I found:
-------------------------------------
Shakespeare, Shylock and Kabbalah
by Daniel Banes
Our Price: $9.99 + $0.85 special surcharge

Hardcover (November 1978)
Malcolm House; ISBN: 0686102843
Availability: This title usually ships within 4-6 weeks. Please note
that titles occasionally go out of print or publishers run out of
stock.  We will notify you within 2-3 weeks if we have trouble obtaining
this title.
Other Editions: Paperback

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,092,618
----------------------------
Shakespeare, Shylock and Kabbalah
by Daniel Banes
Our Price: $3.60 + $2.85 special surcharge

Paperback (November 1978)
Malcolm House; ISBN: 0686102851
Availability: This title usually ships within 4-6 weeks. Please note
that titles occasionally go out of print or publishers run out of stock.
We will notify you within 2-3 weeks if we have trouble obtaining this
title.
Other Editions: Hardcover

 Amazon.com Sales Rank: 967,335
---------------------------------
It looks like at least one person has bought each edition, since they
both have a sales rank.  I'm not sure what the problem is.  It might
take a little more than 4-6 weeks and some extra shipping charges to
have it sent to Israel, but you can order this book right now.  I've
special-ordered books (and videos) from Amazon before, and it's usually
not a problem.

Dave Kathman

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[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Malloch <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 May 2000 13:12:23 +0800
Subject: 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0938 Is Amazon behaving peculiarly?

I just checked Amazon.com and Banes' book, both in soft- and in
hardcover, seems available - at least for ordering.  Try placing an
order.

Simon Malloch.

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Syd Kasten <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 May 2000 11:36:29 +0300 (IDT)
Subject:        Shakespeare, Shylock & Kabbalah

"Chapters" (Chapters.ca), the Canadian version of Amazon, offers the
following.  Note that they too cannot confirm availability.

Shakespeare, Shylock & Kabbalah
By: Daniel Banes
Our Price: $15.44
Published by Malcolm House | Published in 1978
Hardcover | Availability Unconfirmed

2. Shakespeare, Shylock & Kabbalah
By: Daniel Banes
Our Price: $5.56
Published by Malcolm House | Published in 1978
Paperback | Availability Unconfirmed

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten
 

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