Amazon Glitch Followup

The Amazon glitch over the weekend that priced just about every comic collection distributed by Diamond Book Distributors at $14.99 or less — a category that includes Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse, Top Shelf, and Image — has some additional fallout.

As reported by TechCrunch, those who had orders canceled have received email stating

We’re sorry for any frustration the issue may have caused, and have applied a $25 promotional certificate to your account. You can use it the next time you order an item shipped and sold by Amazon.com.

This excludes third-party sellers, who are the only ones who have books by the listed comic publishers right now. Publishers Weekly explains why:

Amazon has been forced to temporarily take down buy buttons for all titles supplied by Diamond in order to correct the problem. According to the source, Amazon has to do an audit to figure out which customers got books and at what prices. While the situation is temporary, the source said, “there is no timetable for when this will be completed.”

That explains an interesting phrase in the Amazon credit email. It said, “we completely sold out — we don’t have any in stock right now, and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to get more.” That “not sure” part confused me, although now I understand. They have to finish their calculations before they can restock.

Personally, I’m embarrassed to get the $25 credit. I ordered a Howard the Duck Omnibus that was already marked “out of stock” when I placed the order. I didn’t really expect to get it, and I didn’t. Getting paid for taking that gamble seems wrong to me. Anyone who thinks otherwise, who was claiming that Amazon “owed” them for their “poor” customer service in refusing to sell books at a loss, needs to read this.

In one other note, it appears that Rich Johnston isn’t making nearly as much money from his pimping of the sale as I thought. (Current article count he’s posted about the situation: 14.) That linked post says that he’s received credit for only 4 out of 5,572 Omnibuses ordered through his links. Although that doesn’t account for the status of the other 8,499 items he bragged about people ordering, and plenty of people have gotten some of the books…

Update: (3/11/10) Simon Jones lists additional publishers, including several manga companies, affected by Amazon removing all Diamond Book Distributor titles. He also pleads for “sanity”, as he puts it, in reminding us how this might negatively affect the small companies who put out comics and manga that we love.

Similar Posts: FCBD Followup § Amazon Super-Sale on Comic Hardcovers: The Aftermath § Diamond Scholarship Followup § Amazon Deal of the Day § Amazon Begins Publishing Comics With SF Adaptations


18 Responses to “Amazon Glitch Followup”

  1. david brothers Says:

    Barnes & Noble are suffering from the same Diamond glitch.

    Is Diamond publicly self-destructing? This is looking like a pretty costly error, and I’m betting B&N/Amazon/whoever else is serviced by Diamond would rather punish Diamond rather than revoke those orders from customers.

    Can retailers order omnibuses from Diamond for cost right now?

  2. Rich Johnston Says:

    Johanna, that wasn’t a brag. It was statistics.

  3. Nick Says:

    I completely agree about that $25. Had they sent me something at those prices, great. However, I couldn’t see that they owed me $25 in credit, so I emailed them and said thanks but no thanks.

    And, by way of full disclosure, David Brothers’ piece provided some clarity about why I felt icky over getting that credit.

  4. Nick Says:

    And strangely enough, Amazon won’t take the credit back. Go figure.

  5. Thom Says:

    So, I just came home to an e-mail that one of my books shipped. So, come Friday or Monday I will have two of the books I ordered. The only they canceled was the Howard the Duck Omnibus. So far, they are telling me that they will be completing out my orders, which all have dates they expect me to receive them. Others have had their orders wiped out. And I got the $25. While I *appreciate* it, I am really curious how my order is getting honored-is it possibly because I didn’t try and order multiples of any book, maybe those orders were seen as somewhat questionable?

  6. Rant Howard Says:

    Retailers capitalize on the fact that, by and large, customers spend more than their gift cards are worth. With this Diamond fiasco having whet collectors’ appetites, I’m willing to bet that a $25 booster gets everyone buying legit comics in bulk as well, this time earning more people a profit.

  7. James Schee Says:

    LOL, since I didn’t order anything figuring it for just a temporary glitch. Can I have a $50 credit?:)

  8. Hooper Triplett Says:

    Checked Barnes & Noble about an hour ago, and they too had a similar glitch, but now for those titles they say “A new copy is not available from Barnes & Noble.com at this time.”

  9. Thom Says:

    Hmmm…sounds like the glitch might not be Amazon’s “fault” if other retailers had the same issue come up.

  10. Johanna Says:

    Thom, regarding your comment on questionable orders, I found myself wondering if Amazon could somehow tell “good” customers from bad ones. Like you, I got everything I ordered (which were lower-priced books, not Omnibus volumes, so I got deals, but not once-in-a-lifetime ones) except the HtD plus a $25 credit, while those who tried to really rip off the company seem to have been denied. Do their computers have more sophisticated algorithms than I thought?

  11. Thom Says:

    I wonder how many of those people tried to buy multiple copies of books… it seems like the loudest complainers were people who ordered multiple books. I would note that a couple of the books in my orders included very pricey books-and those were not canceled so far.

  12. Dustin Harbin Says:

    Hi Johanna. I don’t think the multiple/non-multiple order thing was a litmus. I ordered two Bone One Volumes and one FF Omnibus, and the first email I got said they could only ship one Bone, and the second email said oops no Bone at all, no FF either.

    I was only annoyed by this whole thing when I thought that I was only getting one Bone–which meant that the many people and resellers who were loading up on multiple uber-cheap omnibuses were probably getting some percentage of their orders, and potentially people who just ordered one were not getting anything. Weirdly, once the whole order was cancelled I felt much better.

  13. Amazon no longer selling many graphic novels after weekend price glitch frenzy | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    [...] Johanna also offers commentary here and here. [...]

  14. Thad Says:

    @Joanna, “Do their computers have more sophisticated algorithms than I thought?”

    Amazon’s got some of the best algorithms in the business for their “If you liked this, you might also like this” advertising, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to think they’ve got a good way for flagging suspicious or opportunistic behavior. That said, Thom’s right, it doesn’t take a very sophisticated algorithm to flag the people who ordered multiples.

    Since you’re following Johnston’s stories on this, you’ve probably already caught the post where he repeats Kevin Church’s suggestion that you use those $25 gift certificates to donate books to schools or hospitals (he links to http://www.amazon.com/wishlist/25AV8PO3ABKZQ and http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/registry.html?ie=UTF8&type=wishlist&id=2YY3JGTEKKG7P , respectively), but it bears repeating here.

  15. Johanna Says:

    Dustin, thanks for sharing your experience. That ties in with something else I suspect: that the higher priced the book, the more likely Amazon didn’t ship. The books I got at the $15 price were not Omnibus volumes, so they weren’t as drastically discounted as the super deals you mention.

  16. Dustin Harbin Says:

    Yeah I was a little surprised the Bones didn’t ship–at $15 for a $40 book, it’s more like a deep discount than a nutty $8.24/$100 ratio discount. I was already marking Christmas to-buy-for boxes as taken care of.

  17. David Says:

    Amazon.ca had a similar glitch/sale/whatever. I ordered about 12 books, ranging in cover price from $39.99 – $49.99, all priced at $15.87. A bunch of them were preorders. So far nothing’s been canceled, and my first order of in-stock items shipped already.

  18. Ray Cornwall Says:

    Steve Gerber, if he were still with us (bless his crusty old soul), would probably laugh at a company paying you $25 because you DIDN’T get HTD.

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