Jaws: A note for books editors and reviewers

Broken links at Amazon are damaging my new book’s prospects.

[EF note as of 2010: The relevant links were subsequently established but only after the launch period of my new book had passed.]

The prescience of my previous book In Praise of Hard Industries is a major asset as I ask for a hearing for the rather controversial analysis in In the Jaws of the Dragon. Unfortunately Hard Industries is almost unfindable at Amazon.

Specifically the links between Amazon’s Jaws page and the Hard Industries page are broken. In other words anyone who starts at the Jaws page and clicks on the links cannot find Hard Industries. If people click on the author name at the Jaws page they are brought to a menu page that ostensibly includes a link to one used copy of Hard Industries. But clicking on this item leads to a page for a completely different book (Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee). Moreover the menu page misstates the date of publication of Hard Industries as June 2001, whereas the true date was September 1999. This is crucial because the misdating obscures the fact that Hard Industries anticipated the dot.com crash of 2000. (So far as I am aware Hard Industries shares this distinction with only one other book, Clifford Stoll’s Silicon Snake Oil).

A page for Hard Industries, complete with correctly stated publication date, still exists at Amazon but is findable only in response to a search by the book’s full 17-word title. See the link below:


Repeated efforts to get Amazon to correct the problems have drawn a blank. It is fair to say that the Amazon catalog department has become increasingly unreliable and unresponsive since it was outsourced some years ago to India. I would add that when the Jaws page first went up at Amazon the links to Hard Industries functioned fine. It was only after I succeeded in getting Amazon to delete a highly malicious “customer” review of Hard Industries (by one Dianne Roberts, whose activities I discuss elsewhere at this site — see “Piranhas in the Amazon System” ) that the links were broken and the highly tendentious misstating of the book’s publication date appeared.

While it is true that we live in the age of information, Amazon customers need to be aware that not all the information presented to them by even America’s most prestigious corporations is reliable or politically neutral.

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