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Amazon responds to queries, blames a ‘glitch’

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As readers continue to try to figure out what happened in Amazon’s database so that the sales rankings of certain books and not others disappeared -- which caused some to be omitted from search results on the site -- it seems that Amazon is doing much the same thing.

Responding to our initial post, Amazon Director of Corporate Communications Patty Smith e-mailed Jacket Copy. ‘There was a glitch with our sales rank feature that is in the process of being fixed,’ she wrote. ‘We’re working to correct the problem as quickly as possible.’

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We wanted to know more. We asked for further explanation of the glitch, which has removed the rankings of gay-themed books such as Paul Monette’s ‘Becoming A Man,’ Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando,’ and others.

And I asked Patty Smith this:

From a layperson’s perspective, this glitch does seem to have affected certain types of books more heavily than others. In fact, only one of the top 10 books in your Gay & Lesbian section continues to have a sales ranking (the Kindle version of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’). No other section is similarly affected. Can you comment on that?

The reply:

Unfortunately, I’m not able to comment further. We’re working to resolve the issue, but I don’t have any further information.

Perhaps we’ll learn more Monday.

-- Carolyn Kellogg


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