No more book cart

Around 2008 the Colorado legislature had the temerity to suggest that on-line retailers like Amazon should have to pay the same sales tax charged to the brick and mortar stores they were rapidly exterminating. Amazon responded by suspending the associates located in Colorado. Nevermind that we had little or no influence with the legislature. Nevermind that an associate's customers were not necessarily located in Colorado. Nevermind that the legislative bill, as you would expect of any bill that threatened a megalithic corporation, failed.

My Amazon links had been growing for more than ten years, during which I made, at the height of my "profits," about $1,000/year, almost enough to justify the effort I put into the web site, and most of which I shovelled back to Amazon through book purchases. When Amazon cut us off, they didn't bother to deactivate our links (I have a background in programming; I could have deactivated the links with a few lines of code). In other words, they continued to extract revenue from our links without paying us the marginal amount we received for generating business for them. Incidentally yes, I tested this claim.

In the interim, I had 1,500 book links and a couple of hundred generalized iFrame links, many of the latter integrated almost inextricably into the site design. Removing them without aesthetic damage to a single file (of more than 700) took nearly two hours. So "deactivating" the links from my side would cost roughly 1500 hours: about $50K in web design consulting. I don't have the time or resources to do that. As a result, I have been defrauded of about $500 - $1,000 per year by Amazon's fit of pique. As I write this in 2017, those links are still active, meaning I have generated roughly $100K in revenue for Amazon, with no acknowledgement or compensation. That's ten years Amazon has been collecting revenue at my expense.

And additionally, all the generalized links that associates were encouraged to add to their sites have been deactivated. If you cruise the site, you will see them occasionally: gaping blocks of white that say something on the order of "This link is broken." Again, a few lines of code for Amazon, a nightmare of fixing them, one at a time, for the dumped associate.

Should you care? Who knows? Eventually I'll have removed all the links, and the only thing left will be my contempt for Amazon. Personally, I find alternate ways of purchasing books. The blow in 2008 brought home to me that I was colluding in Amazon's wholesale assault on local businesses and fair marketing. I buy most of my books at the locally (Denver) owned Tattered Cover bookstore, through ABEBooks, or Powells. I hope you will too.