Is Amazon.com trying to suppress books critical of the Bush Administration?

UPDATE 5/29/08: After numerous complaints by customers, Amazon has made this book available via Prime. As documented on an Amazon message board, numerous customers experienced the same runaround as I did it, being told it wasn’t available for being oversized, only later to be told that the book was mistaken listed as not eligible for Amazon Prime due to a combination of computer and human errors. Considering this book rocketed to number one and has been a front page news item for days, I still find the whole situation highly suspect. The Bugliosi book is also now available for Prime.

I use Amazon.com enough that I pay an extra $80 or so per year to be a “Prime” member, allowing for free, 2 day shipping on just about anything. The exception tends to be toys, appliances, and other items that aren’t sold and/or shipped directly from Amazon, but even then it’s rare for an item to fall outside of being Prime.

However, I’ve never, ever seen a new book listed as “not eligible for Amazon Prime” at least until not over the past few days.

The two books are both high critical of the Bush Administration. The first is Vincent Bugliosi’s The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, which I wrote about a few days ago. The second is former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.

A search of other political issue related non-fiction books on Amazon’s Top 100 found no other books listed as “not eligible for Amazon Prime.”

I called Amazon’s customer service, who, after putting me on hold for a minute, told me that the books were oversized, so the didn’t qualify for Amazon Prime. After insisting that these were normal, hardcover books, the customer service rep put me on hold again, then returned and offered to waive the shipping if I ordered the books. She conceded the books were of average weight and size, but had no further explanation.

I’d dismiss this as a glitch if I’d only seen this on one book. And then maybe as a coincidence if I’d seen “not eligible for Amazon Prime” on two unrelated books.

However, McClellan’s book is already making waves as he’s writing that Bush did mislead the public into war and that even he suspects a coverup in the Valerie Plame outing – the former insider has made few friends in publishing this book. And you don’t have to go further than the title of Bugliosi’s book to his extreme take: Bush should be tried for murder.

The three scenarios that could be taking place:

  1. This is, indeed, still some crazy glitch, and there’s some unthought of connection between these two books that made both ineligible.
  2. A right wing hacker infilitrated Amazon’s server and committed this as a “prank.”
  3. Amazon.com is deliberately trying to suppress sales of these books, perhaps to keep the books from rocketing up their best seller lists. (Bugliosi’s book is currently at #270, McClellan’s at #80)

Of course, the fourth option is that I’m wearing a tin foil hat. Alas, I’ve sent an email to Amazon, and will report back if I receive an explanation.

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One response to “Is Amazon.com trying to suppress books critical of the Bush Administration?

  1. Dear Amazon,
    This is bull shit. You’ve lost me forever as a customer (and I was a regular) if this turns out to be true.
    What cowardly pigs you are if this is true. You DISGUST me if so.

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