One-Minute Book Reviews

March 16, 2010

Fake Book News #8 — Lindsay Lohan Sues Amazon

Filed under: Fake Book News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:05 am
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Lindsay Lohan sues Amazon for selling bio of dead NYC Mayor John Lindsay, saying people associate “Lindsay” with her. http://bit.ly/LinSUIT

Fake Book News posts on One-Minute Book Reviews satirize American literary culture, including the publishing industry. They consist of some of the most popular of the made-up news items that appear on Janice Harayda’s FakeBookNews page on Twitter. To read all the tweets in the series, please follow FakeBookNews (@FakeBookNews) on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FakeBookNews.

February 14, 2010

Fake Book News #6 — Amazon.com Offers Low APR Financing on Coffee-Table Books

Filed under: Fake Book News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:28 pm
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Amazon, hoping to lure back alienated customers, offers low APR financing to qualified buyers of coffee-table books.

Fake Book News posts on One-Minute Book Reviews satirize American literary culture, including the publishing industry. They consist of some of the most popular of the made-up, 140-character news items that appear on Janice Harayda’s FakeBookNews page on Twitter. To read all the tweets in the series, please follow FakeBookNews (@FakeBookNews) on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FakeBookNews.

April 15, 2008

James Marcus’s Memoir of His Years at Amazon.com, the Most Entertaining Book About a Business Since ‘Liar’s Poker’

Filed under: Nonfiction — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:26 am
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First, you sign a paper saying that you won’t sue if you go crazy on the job

I ran into the critic James Marcus at a National Book Critics Circle event last month, and he said that he’d launched a literary blog. James has great taste, so I headed to his House of Mirth housemirth.blogspot.com. I learned from it that after he and I served on the NBCC board together, he wrote a memoir of his time as a senior editor at Amazon.com, Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot-Com Juggernaut (New Press, 2004).

James worked for the online bookseller in its infancy, when job descriptions had greater fluidity, so he did more than write reviews for the Amazon site. He wrapped books and pitched in on customer service by answering e-mail queries from shoppers:

I saw a book on television last week, I would read. The one with the red cover. Can you tell me what it’s called?”

James writes from the perspective of a self-described “token humanist” at Amazon, not an MBA who itched to see his picture on the cover of Wired. But Amazonia is still the most entertaining book about a business that I’ve read since Liar’s Poker.

You think the forms you get from your HR department are bad? Before going to work Amazon, James had to sign a 10-page work agreement and, in Amazonia, quotes from its section on job-related stress. “Strip away the legalese and what remains is a fairly colorful stipulation,” he writes. “Namely: if you go crazy on the job, the company won’t pay to patch you up.”
© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

January 28, 2008

No. 1 Reviewer on Amazon Has Posted More Than 15,000 Reviews — How Is This Possible? Quote of the Day (Harriet Klausner)

Filed under: Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:13 am
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[Update, Jan. 4, 2010: Harriet Klausner's Amazon profile now says he has posted 20,970 reviews.]

And you thought Joyce Carol Oates was “prolific”

Harriet Klausner, the most prolific reviewer on Amazon.com, has posted 15,584 reviews, according to her profile on the online bookseller’s site. How does she do it? Klausner says:

“I am a speed reader (a gift I was born with) and read two books a day.”

Harriet Klausner in her Amazon.com profile www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/AFVQZQ8PW0L/ref=cm_aya_bb_pdp. A Wall Street Journal profile of Klausner reported in March 2005 that she had posted 8,649 reviews and read four or five books a day, not two www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110006483. And a 2006 Time article said she read “four to six” books a day www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1570726,00.html. If those articles were accurate and she’s reading only two books a day now, she’s cut back. But how could she have cut back when she’s nearly doubled her number of reviews since 2005 (from 8,649 to 15,584 on January 20, 2008)? If she read two books a day, she would have added 2,190 reviews in three years, or increased her total from 8,649 to 10,839. But she’s added about 5,000 more than that. Unless I’m missing something, in order to have reached 15,584 she would have to be reading closer to three or four books a day than two.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

November 11, 2007

My First Bestseller? ‘A Year in Cleveland’ Is #17 in the Humor Category on Amazon Shorts

Filed under: Humor — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:46 am
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Bizarre but true! Cleveland loses the pennant race but wins on Amazon

Were you on vacation in August when I wrote about a program on Amazon that for 49 cents lets you download short works of fiction and nonfiction by authors with books for sale on that site? Just in case, I’m pasting in below the original post about Amazon Shorts. And here’s an update for any writers who are thinking of joining the program:

As I’d mentioned, I didn’t know that Amazon Shorts existed until a friend suggested that I consider it for some of my own work. I sent in “A Year in Cleveland,” a parody of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, and it just sat there for a while. But in the past few weeks it’s started to move and, as of Nov. 11, ranks #17 in the Humor category on Amazon Shorts. You can see all the categories and short works by clicking on “Digital Downloads” on the Amazon home page www.amazon.com. How can Cleveland be a loser in the pennant race and a winner on Amazon? I have no idea — unless all the copies are being bought by sadistic Red Sox fans who want a few more laughs at Cleveland’s expense — but this is the closest I’ve had to a bestseller.

Here’s my original August 5 post about Amazon Shorts:

Fed up with the alpine cost of books? Amazon.com sells previously unpublished short stories, essays and other works for 49¢ through its Amazon Shorts program. The online bookseller requires that all sellers have at least one book for sale on Amazon. And some of the authors who have posted their work may surprise you, including actor John Lithgow, journalist Melissa Fay Greene and mystery novelist James Lee Burke.

But you could easily miss hearing about the program, because it isn’t listed on the home page for www.amazon.com. You have to use the search bar to look “Amazon Shorts” or go to the pull-down menu that says, “See All 41 Product Categories.” [Note: The preceding has changed since I posted this. There's now a "Digital Downloads" category on the Amazon home page.] I knew nothing of the program until a writer friend persuaded me to post my “A Year in Cleveland,” a parody of A Year in Provence, there. So you may want to check this section of the Amazon site if you enjoy short fiction, nonfiction and poetry. You can read the shorts by downloading them, having them e-mailed to you, or following an HTML link.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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