One of the most widely read and much loved fantasy book series is George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire.” This series includes the books “Game of Thrones” and its sequels. Millions of people have read these books and mostly enjoyed them. Well the latest release is called “A Dance With Dragons” and it was finally released yesterday.
I made it a point to pre-order the book on my Kindle so I was quite excited when I realized it was going to be released last night. I was eagerly waiting for the clock to tick 12:01 AM so I could sync my Kindle and start reading the new installment in Martin’s series. However, a strange thing happened when the clock finally struck midnight…my damned book never appeared! I kept trying to sync my Kindle and it kept telling me that I had no new items available.
I did a bit of googling and found, to my utter horror and dismay, that Amazon does not release pre-ordered Kindle books on east coast time. Instead, Amazon – which is based on the west coast – releases pre-orders on west coast time. So this means that if you live on the east coast you have to wait until 3:00 AM to get you book.
What? Is Amazon kidding me? Talk about an east coast screw job!
A Dance With Dragons: Years in the Making
In the case of “A Dance with Dragons” part of the eagerness for the new book lies in the fact that Martin, in recent years, has dragged out the finishing of this book for ages. Many readers have become frustrated and irritated with Martin’s glacial writing habits and thus there has been a backlog of desire to find out what happens to Tyrion the Dwarf and many other characters in the previous books.
So when the release day finally arrived many readers simply assumed that the book would arrive on their Kindles at 12:01 AM since they’d already pre-ordered it ahead of time. How disappointing and aggravating to have to wait another 3 hours to start reading it, thanks to Amazon’s foolish and stupid decision to discriminate against east coast Kindle owners.
And let’s not forget that the HBO version of “Game of Thrones” has also stoked the fires of many new readers to get their hands on “A Dance With Dragons.” So there’ has been an enormous amount of pent up demand for this new book, and this should have come as no surprise to Amazon. Amazon’s blithe indifference to east coast readers is even more egregious given the very high price of $14.99 for the new book. At that price level there is no excuse for screwing over east coast readers.
Time Difference: Discrimination Against Those Not Living on the West Coast
I know that some people will blithely dismiss this and say “so what, who cares?” Well I care and I’m sure a lot of other people do as well. The time difference is not the problem of the people living on the east coast (or in other time zones around the world for that matter), it’s Amazon’s problem. No one who pre-ordered Martin’s book made the decision for Amazon to be located on the west coast so why should we suffer for it?
Remaining silent about this outrage is only going to let Amazon get away with it again and again as more blockbuster books are released over the years. They need to know now from east coast Kindle owners that we will not tolerate this kind of outrageous discrimination any longer. We paid for our books and we want them immediately when the clock strikes midnight on release day.
Please take a moment to contact Amazon and let them know that they need to change their policy of discriminating against non-west coast Kindle owners.
Amazon Works for Us, Not the Other Way Around
Amazon has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and with this growth has come some arrogance and hubris. The company needs to remember that people buy kindles for quick and convenient access to books, and part of that is getting the book as soon as it is released. Otherwise why not just wait and take a drive to the bookstore to get it in print?
The company also needs to remember that it works for us, not the other way around. East coast customers have a right to get their Kindle books as soon as the release day comes at 12:00 AM, we should not have to wait another 3 hours simply because Amazon decided to locate itself on the west coast.
It’s the Publishers Fault!
Some people are probably going to blame the publishers for all of this. It may very well be that Amazon is locked into some sort of contract with book publishers that forces them to release books this way. If so they need to renegotiate the contract ASAP. Using the publisher as an excuse just does not cut it. Amazon has a lot of power in the book industry and could put up a heck of a fight with publishers to resolve this issue.
When 12:01 AM comes on the release day, the damn book should be sent to Kindle owners who live in that time zone. If they need to wait three more hours to let west coast customers start reading then that’s fine since it’s technically not release day in that time zone.
Amazon is operating across many different time zones and thus book releases should be done on a rolling basis at the appropriate time for each time zone. That is the only way to be fair to people who don’t live on the west coast.
Alternatives to Amazon?
Amazon has had a huge lead in the ebook market, but they had better watch their step. Other competitors including Apple and Google are now attuned to this market. If Amazon is not willing to reconsider how they release ebooks then perhaps these other companies will do so. And it may fall to Google and others to square things with the publishers to get rolling releases happening across different time zones if Amazon is too cowardly or too lazy to be bothered pursuing the issue.
The bottom line here is that Amazon had better start paying attention to this issue or it might find itself losing customers to other companies who will.
What’s your take on Amazon’s east coast screw job? Tell me in the comments below.