bitching games publishing web 2.0

Pearson doesn’t like people buying books; Amazon knows where you live (in a bad way)

Wow, Pearson has some strange ideas about commerce! To buy this popular textbook as an ebook, you have two choices, both conveniently linked from the front page of the author’s website:

  1. Go to Amazon. Buy it, in any country / price you want. Get it immediately. (unless this is your first purchase … see below)
  2. Go to Pearson. Not allowed to buy it, unless you’re American (especially funny given that Pearson was originally English, IIRC)
    1. Get taken to a page listing 100 random URLs, with bizarre domain-names, grouped by country.
    2. Guess which one (out of several for your country) is appropriate for you.
    3. Manually search for the product YOU’VE ALREADY SELECTED
    4. Get quoted a price that is MORE THAN TWICE AS MUCH for the IDENTICAL download

And publishers *still* complain that people use Amazon? Hmm…

Which means Amazon is able to get away with treating the consumer like crap – because it’s *still* less insulting and obstructive than what the original publisher is doing. If you haven’t already surrendered your private data – which is nothing to do with buying a book – to Amazon, you’ll be prevented from buying a book at this point. Here’s the screenshot:

And, yes, ensures VERY carefully that I cannot buy this book, until I’ve gone through this process:

  1. I want to buy this eBook
  2. “No: you haven’t yet given our Secret Police full access to all your computer hardware”
  3. But … wait, what? … I want to give you MONEY for something you’re SELLING, and you’re telling me you want access to my hardware? What’s that got to do with the price of fish?
  4. “Not until you voluntarily destroy some of your civil rights. Your government wouldn’t let us do this, so … you know … we have to get you to do it ‘voluntarily’. LOLZ”
  5. WTF? Apple’s currently the defendant in a billions-of-dollars court case in USA for doing exactly this. Aren’t you even slightly worried?
  6. “It’s OK. We know that the book’s publisher is going to treat you so badly that even our bad behaviour is mild by comparison. Let me know when you’ve ponied-up your privacy, and I’ll let you serve me. That’s what we mean by “a service company”: it’s a company that you serve. Have a nice day! Yours, Amazon”

Net result: use someone else’s hardware, sacrifice it to Amazon, rip the evil DRM off there, and give Amazon less money in future (since there will only be a “fake” account on their system).

Treating consumers like idiots – in the age of Internet literacy – is a net loss … for all of us. And it continues to drive the younger generations further and further away from paying for stuff, and closer and closer towards pirating it.

When I think of media corporations today, this image comes powerfully to mind, from back when Swine Flu broke out. Guess which one sits on the board of directors of a corporation (I grant you, it’s not easy to be sure) :