back to article Amazon declined to sell a book so Elon Musk called for it to be broken up

Elon Musk has called for Amazon.com to be broken up because it declined to sell a book. As is so often the case these days, this one starts on Twitter where author Alex Berenson expressed his displeasure at Amazon declining to sell his new tome titled “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonder if he will feel the same about what should happen to monopolies if spacex becomes a monopoly on sending shit into space.

    1. Sanctimonious Prick
      Devil

      Well...

      Well, they're not a monopoly now, and the richest man in the world is _one_ of his/SpaceX's competitors. So, there's that :)

    2. Thoguht Silver badge

      Well, a lot of SpaceX stuff breaks itself up anyway, so no need to worry.

    3. KBeee

      Next you'll be expecting him to open up his Tesla electric car charging points to other makes of electric cars. Monopolies are only bad in the mind of businessmen until they get one.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Tesla freely offered the charger/plug standard, and other manufacturers chose not to use it.

        Can't really see how that's his fault (given that there wasn't really a standard at the time someone had to create one).

        There are other cars that will use Tesla chargers, but you have to mind which one you get.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wouldn't worry about it - I have every faith that Boeing will soon be sending all sorts of shit spaceships into the sky. They've managed it so far with their planes anyway...

  2. KorndogDev

    Twitter - paradise for attention whores

    Male horses as well.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: Twitter - paradise for attention whores

      Wot, stallions? Or is that an instance of the spell check goblin fouling up again?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Twitter - paradise for attention whores

      You mean chickens surely?

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Twitter - paradise for attention whores

        chickens?

        That fits.

        Hens,

        Hens mostly laying rotten eggs.

    3. aqk
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Twitter - paradise for Dorothy Parker whores?

      Well you can lead a whore to culture...

      But you can't make 'er think.

  3. Elledan

    Amazon is a shady bookstore

    I'm thinking that it would be awesome if Amazon was more selective about the books which it offers for sale. The number of loony conspiracy books (ebook or printed-on-demand) that are available almost drown out the legitimate books for certain topics. And when you pop over to the Korean or Japanese book sections to see what's new, you find yourself drowning in softcore porn rags. Even with the 'adult content' filter enabled.

    But I guess good on this nut for getting another conspiracy book on Amazon.

    Please do support your local bookstore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

      "I'm thinking that it would be awesome if Amazon was more selective about the books which it offers for sale."

      Very slippery route. Who decides what books should not be sold? "The Amazon 451F Committee"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

        You know publishers (tree pulp) don't publish every crap manuscript that gets sent in. And where were you complaining about that?

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

          Amazon claims that it doesn't sell anything - it is a "marketplace facilitator" - a conduit, not a vendor. Yes, you can stop chuckling now.

          The question is about competition and information. If (company x) becomes a monopoly, does it then acquire greater obligations than it would have in a more competitive marketplace?

          I would suggest that it probably does. Given all the gunk that is available on Amazon, I do not believe they decline books based on the truthfulness of the content. Regardless, do you want Amazon to start making those determinations?

          If Amazon is serious about being a "platform" it shouldn't act as a publisher. While I am supportive of freedom of association, if you gain monopoly power, but decline to participate in a transaction, perhaps at least you should be obliged to carry an "Amazon has chosen not to stock this product because ...." message at a minimum.

      2. Blank Reg

        Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

        It's an even more slippery slope if you can force retailers to carry products that they don't want to sell.

        In the USA over the last few years a few big retailers have stopped selling guns, or at least reduced the amount of retail space available for firearms. If there was any legal way to make them continue selling guns then the NRA would have been all over them. Let's not give them an opening, there is enough stupidity going on over there as it is.

    2. KBeee

      Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

      Bit OT, but have you noticed that although 20% VAT has been removed from ebooks/magazines, their prices are the same? Looks like some publishers have given themselves a nice little hidden 20% price increase.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

        I hadn't noticed that. But I have noticed that some publishers charge more for Kindle editions than paper versions. No print or distribution costs, no bookseller's margin, but it costs more. Kerrching!

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

        Me! I did.

        An extra 20% of fuck all is still fuck all but hey, the ebook is still cheaper than the print version.

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

      And when you pop over to the Korean or Japanese book sections to see what's new, you find yourself drowning in softcore porn rags.

      Hey, I at least buy my hentai doujin from INDEPENDENT vendors...

    4. Bbuckley

      Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

      Wow! Thanks for the tip :-)

    5. DemeterLast

      Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

      Yes, please support your local bookstore.

      If you have kids, or know people with kids, gift cards for your local bookstore are fantastic. When you turn a kid loose in there it's sometimes surprising what they come back with.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale

        Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

        "support your local bookstore ... When you turn a kid loose in there it's sometimes surprising what they come back with."

        I agree wholeheartedly. As long as they don't surprise you by coming back with a spiky little virus...

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

          "support your local bookstore ... When you turn a kid loose in there it's sometimes surprising what they come back with."

          Hopefully not something from the Japanese of Korean section...

    6. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore

      "Please do support your local bookstore."

      Would that include Waterstones or WH Smith? If not, I don't know of any local bookstores selling new books (one or two second-hand bookshops) or ebooks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Local Bookstores [Was: Re: Amazon is a shady bookstore]

        There are still a few local (as in 30km) bookstores but they do not sell scientific or technical tomes. (One asked me politely not to order another maths book from him because of the low publisher discount.)

  4. Sanctimonious Prick
    Coat

    TBH!

    To be honest, I find this all very entertaining.

    I don't have a twitter account, and I don't need to visit their site to know what's going on. Practically every news site the world over has something on their front page from there.

    All very amusing.

    (i'm not mentioning anything about medication in this post, not, no... damnit!)

    1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: TBH!

      THC. I' ve been self-medicating on pot for.... I don't remember. lol, but that smoke from Elon's pot-shot IS NOT POT smoke.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: TBH!

        Genuine question - how can you tell?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: TBH!

        It was a blunt, a hollowed out tobacco product, usually a cheap, machine-made cigar stuffed with pot.

  5. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    I haven't read the book but if the author stated the virus originated from a certain "Asian country", then I can understand Amazon's decision.

    1. autisticatheist
      Facepalm

      Well, it did. China. Wuhan, to be precise.

      1. Blank Reg

        Or did it? There are now reports that many athletes attending the Military World games in Wuhan back in October had symptons similar to covid-19. It's possible that it was brought to Wuhan rather than originating there. Though it was certainly spread from there as all these athletes came from around the world and then went back home to spread those nasty critters to dozens of countries.

  6. x 7

    "Unreported truths" sounds remarkably like a euphemism for "false allegations and downright lies"

    I assume the book has not been peer-reviewed by real scientists???

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Unreported truths"..like a euphemism for "false allegations and downright lies"

      Indeed.

      He's written a bunch of action thrillers featuring a character called John Wells (nothing to do with "George Parr" or John Fortune I suspect) as well as

      "Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence"

      No doubt a carefully researched and balanced account of the issues to create a more informed debate on the subject*

      So my BS meter is redlining like a Geiger counter in the engine compartment of a Cold War era Soviet nuclear submarine.

      *And if you believe that I also have a nice bridge for sale.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: "Unreported truths"..like a euphemism for "false allegations and downright lies"

        Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence

        It always worked for me?

  7. Mr Dogshit

    Oh boy oh boy

    And people buy cars from this nutjob

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. aqk
      Terminator

      Re: Oh boy oh boy

      And people buy cars from this nutjob

      Jeff Bezos? Yes, I know! And a bigger selection than Musk offers.

      They also buy rockets from him.

  8. Smooth Newt Silver badge
    Holmes

    Not a book

    It is 22 pages long according to the Amazon listing. https://www.amazon.com/Unreported-Truths-about-COVID-19-Lockdowns-ebook/dp/B089P216NP

    I would put that about an order of magnitude shorter than a Book. How about a booklet - the term the author uses - or a pamphlet.

    BTW Anything with "truth" in the title is not going to be scientific. Truth is a big word for scientists - so big they never use it. Science isn't about finding the "Truth" it is about finding more accurate understanding of the world - so nothing is ever the final word as there is always a better theory around the corner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a book

      But still - 22 pages for a conspiracy theory is bordering on an epic tome considering the likely audience.

      Will Readers Digest move into the condensed conspiracy theory market to allow it to be summed up in under 10 words on Facebook?

      In all fairness, the Amazon reviews are an entertaining read and hints at the quality of the content.

    2. logicalextreme Bronze badge

      Re: Not a book

      To be fair, the title doesn't say claim it's going to be about science either.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We should break up the Register...

    ...into the Reg.

    ...and the Ister.

    I have no idea why, I haven't thought this through at all, I just wanted to type something.

    Sorry.

    1. newspuppy

      Re: We should break up the Register...

      Are you CRAZY?

      and infringe on the iCompanies trademark? and shut it all down?

      as if theregister has no issues with the iThingy company......

      obviously your keyboard works and the "i" key is not disabled..... I am using a legitimate hardware device from the iCompany.. thus i am entitled to use the "i" key... I paid for it... ;)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    The wiring's a bit suspect on the top floor

    If I had the money to buy one of his ridiculous video games with a car bolted on, I wouldn't. The total nutjob needs taking down a peg or two. Seriously, it's got fucking video games built into the infotainment centre.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

    I don't think I have ever gone from admiring someone to cringing every time I see their name as quickly as I have with Elon Musk. In a world where far too many of the super rich spend their money on private boats and hedonistic persuits Elon seemed to be focussing on developing technologies that would make real improvements to science and the future of the world. Recently though he seems to have lost sight of the reason to do these things and is trying to achieve them at any cost.

    1. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

      I think he's never been extremely stable, and often he's said stuff that were downright stupid. He's just currently ranting on a particularly bad subject, because his precious Tesla factory in California got impacted by the shutdowns, so he's yapping at the mainstream Covid response.

      For a guy who has admittedly accomplished quite a lot, he does seem to have a rather fragile ego. I'm not sure whether he thinks giving his kid a stupid name is a proof of his genius or originality...?

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

        At least, unlike some Hotel magnates, he didn't name the poor kid after one of his products -- Model_3 or Hyperloop or Boring.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

          > "he didn't name the poor kid after one of his products -- Model_3 or Hyperloop or Boring."

          Hyper-boring?

        2. aqk
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way? In Paris?

          Hotel magnates? Where's the el-reg icon?

          Seriously- these el-reg icons haven't changed in 25+ years! My grandson asked "who the hell is Paris Hilton?"

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

        Too much weed, perhaps?

        (Yes, he has "accomplished quite a lot" but realistically he didn't really accomplish anything, he enabled the efforts of thousands of others. The genius is in the organization, the enabling of people who would be condemned to a life or relative mediocrity in a generic corporate environment. Companies like Tesla and SpaceX are in that sweet spot between being a hopeful wannabe and a corporate behemoth. Let's all hope they can stay there.)(Incidentally, Bezos understands this problem which is why Amazon continues to grow like some kind of Blob from a 1950s sci-fi movie.)

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

        "I think he's never been extremely stable,"

        Right., so he's not a "stable genius" then? Phew! I was a bit worried there for a moment. We all know what happens when you get a "stable genius" in the room.

        1. logicalextreme Bronze badge

          Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

          I dunno dude, every time I think I know what's gonna happen their genius somehow manages to blindside me in a new and unwelcome way.

          1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

            Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

            It is the talent of the narcissist.

  12. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Elon Musk, isn't he a 'Pedo Guy'?

    I am sorry if perhaps that terms means something else in the US, as where I am from it is a common term for someone who uses a pedometer to count their daily walking activity.

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Headmaster

      We would not have this problem if the word had been properly formed as podometer from two Greek roots, rather than as pedometer from a mix of Latin and Greek!

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      He is a pedo ...

      Person Exporting Devices to Orbit

      1. Bonzo_red

        Re: He is a pedo ...

        I think you are missing an "Actively" there.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      An Odometer is what you use to measure the distance travelled in your Tesla.

      A Pedometer is what you us to measure the distance travelled when your Tesla runs out of power,

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vol. 1 Death Rate and Count Estimates

    I can save you the trouble of reading as I can guess exactly how this conspiracy theory will be framed and why Amazon refused to sell it.

    The death rate has only increased because hospital are not doing routine operations, treatments and diagnosis.

    Yet another stupid conspiracy theory. The simplest answer to this and all the others on the it doesn't exist theories are that

    A. How would get every government on the planet including Iran to conspire to invent a fake virus? Impossible.

    B. The total cost involved to every nation would not be worth whatever they could ever expect to get back from doing it.

    There you go. debunked. Amazon should have sold it and put it in the fiction section.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Vol. 1 Death Rate and Count Estimates

      I can save you the trouble of reading as I can guess exactly how this conspiracy theory will be framed and why Amazon refused to sell it.

      Amazon dun messed up. Amazon should have bought the book, then set the lawyers on anyone publishing the same conspiracy for plaigarism/breach of copyright. Unless Robin Cook sues first.

      Meanwhile, back in the real world, there's plenty of material to write about. Like purveyors of patent medicines looking to move product & share price, or the current oddity where Lancet's just retracted a 'peer-reviewed' study on good'ol quinine derivatives. Good news is those may not kill you, bad news is seeing as the WHO et al told everyone to stop trials (excluding POTUS), we don't seem to be much closer to figuring out if they're effective or not.

      1. logicalextreme Bronze badge

        Re: Vol. 1 Death Rate and Count Estimates

        One of the trial investigators would like a word

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/05/hydroxychloroquine-does-not-cure-covid-19-say-drug-trial-chiefs

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Vol. 1 Death Rate and Count Estimates

          Hmm.. my time machine was faulty. I made my post same day as the Grauniad's article. But semi-expected, ie I wasn't expecting the quinines to be a curative, but whether it had any potential as a Trump-style prophylactic/preventative.. That's what the initial reports seemed to suggest, but harder to test, ie it's easier to monitor effectiveness if someone's infected, but not whether it prevents/reduces infection.

          But there's also an IT angle. So the Lancet study relied on data from a shady looking outfit called 'Surgisphere', which seems to be a 1-man band operating out of a house. Yet claimed powerful analytics using millions of patient records. So rather begs the question of what patient data they may have managed to acquire, and how, given that's rather senstitive stuff & the company doesn't seem fit & proper to have it.

  14. BenDwire Bronze badge
    Flame

    Twitter is a monoply too

    Where else do you find billionaires hurling abuse at normal people (aka plebs) or other billionairs? Indeed some 'billionairs' even feel the need to post pictures of them pouting in various states of undress with dodgy tans and too many photoshop edits. Don't even get me started on the Orange One. And yet the great unwashed seem to lap it all up, the fools.

    Why does it need to exist? Really?

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Twitter is a monoply too

      Not a monopoly. You have Facebook and Instagram as direct competitors for the lowest form of entertainment. The difference is that Twitter is for those that can't string a coherent sentence together.

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Twitter is a monoply too

        Hey man, best watch your step there. You're talking about, among others, the President of the United States.

        1. Just An Engineer

          Re: Twitter is a monoply too

          Point Proved...

  15. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    While (without having looked at it) I think we can assume the booklet is a pile of drivel, you either accept that people are (more or less[0]) free to say/write what they want, or you accept (as mentioned above) that books will be vetted by the committee of truth. In this case, you have a powerful commercial organisation imposing it's own committee on truth with no oversight and without even saying what rules it's applying.

    [0] Yes, there's the obvious thing that shouting fire in a crowded theatre is "not a good thing", and neither is inciting people to violence. So you can never have complete and unfettered rights to freedom of expression. But in civilised societies, we have the bare minimum of restrictions so as not to suppress fringe ideas - and lets face it, history is littered with "crazy fringe ideas" which later turned out to actually be rather sensible. The big problem is the much larger number of properly crazy ideas that aren't sensible.

    1. mmccul
      Black Helicopters

      When I self published a couple fiction novels on Amazon, Amazon had some criteria that I was warned about that could get my book removed. I recall seeing a link to the criteria, but since my next book is nowhere near ready to publish, I'm too lazy to go back and pull it up. As a commercial entity instead of a government, unless the reason falls into a legally protected category, Amazon is free to refuse to do business with someone, and it is merely courtesy to advertise in advance the reasons for such.

      As an author, one is not a consumer but a content creator entering into a contract with a distributor. That is a very different situation. There are plenty of other distribution channels one could use and Amazon does not block them even on the Kindle devices.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        As an author, one is not a consumer but a content creator entering into a contract with a distributor

        That is notionally true, but ...

        As you enter into that contract, do you have any negotiating power beyond "take it or leave it" ? No ? Not exactly a "meeting of minds" is it.

        And as an author wanting to get reasonable sales, can you really afford to say no to Amazon ?

        And therein lies the problem. To a sizeable part of the population, "buy a book" means "go to amazon.com" - and if your book isn't there then it doesn't exist. They may not have a monopoly, but they certainly have significant market dominance - which makes their ability to determine "what is truth today" something of a problem, and IMO their dominance is getting close to (if not already there) being sufficient to say it's not reasonable for them to "just decide not to do business with you". If what you are selling doesn't fit with "the world according to Amazon" then they have the power to effectively kill your sales - unless you are in a position to do sufficient marketing to overcome the "doesn't exist according to amazon.com" problem.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "So you can never have complete and unfettered rights to freedom of expression."

      I wonder how the US constitutional right to freedom of speech would be written if the authors could have looked ahead in time and seen Twitter, facebook and the radio "shockjocks"?

      1. mmccul

        Look into the then equivalent publications. Privately published pamphlets and broadsheets handed out on street corners that contained outlandish accusations against political or social enemies. The only real differences are first, cost of publication has gone down for these people. It used to be a moderate expense to reach a few thousand people in a city. Now, that's a lot cheaper. Second, speed is the other difference. It can take minutes for (mis)information to spread across the country rather than days or weeks.

        For fun and education, I've read some of the late 1700s pamphlets. It is quite arguable that they played a significant role in the US Revolutionary war, drumming up support, demonizing those who were seen as sympathizing with the UK. I've seen similar pamphlets advertising quack miracle cures for diseases, attacking political straw men, etc.

  16. Packet

    Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

    Based on my following of Snoopy from Peanuts getting his book(s) rejected by the publishers, it would suggest to me that publishers can choose what books they want on their banner/platform.

    Accordingly, Amazon has the option to say 'yes/no' to what they want.

    On the other hand, censorship brings up the entire 'Who guards the guards?' bit.

    I'm honestly unsure on this one.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

      One 'shop" choosing not to sell a product is not censorship. A government creating a law to prevent the sale and/or publications.

      A Christian bookshop choosing not to sell the Koran is not censorship. A government saying Christian bookshop is not allowed to sell it is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

        A Christian bookshop choosing not to sell the Koran is not censorship. A government saying Christian bookshop is not allowed to sell it is.

        Except it would be the Christian bookshop getting told it cannot sell the Bible or follow Christian beliefs, but must sell the Koran and all other Holy books instead. This is what the UK calls "Equality" and "Religious Tolerance".

        1. Bbuckley

          Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

          That is a whole other thread - and agree one that is infecting western society far more than a trivial flu virus

        2. Mike 16 Silver badge

          Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

          Not in the UK, so no experience of this Jihad.

          I wonder how this cabal for Coercing Christian Commerce would react to one of my favorite stores in my youth:

          [county redacted] Religious Book and Supply, Electric Trains.

          Would they force removal of all Diesel locomotives as either "Killers of glorious Steam" or perhaps "Polluting oppressors of Electric Traction"?

          1. Dave559 Bronze badge

            Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

            "[county redacted] Religious Book and Supply, Electric Trains."

            No need to redact the county name, it can clearly only have been the mirror universe version of Sodor!

        3. Schultz Silver badge
          Stop

          "...Christian bookshop getting told it cannot [...] follow Christian beliefs ..."

          Now I have read the Harry Potter series and would be the first to agree that there is weird stuff going on in the UK (flying Ford Anglias?!). But a bookstore being forced to forego its Christian beliefs? That just sounds too far out there to be true.

          Please stick to established facts or fictions when posting in this forum.

        4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

          "Except it would be the Christian bookshop getting told it cannot sell the Bible or follow Christian beliefs, but must sell the Koran and all other Holy books instead. This is what the UK calls "Equality" and "Religious Tolerance"."

          Citation or it didn't happen. If it didn't happen, then what's your point?

      2. Packet

        Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

        Thank you.

        This makes it simple to understand then - Musk is so full of shit his eyes are brown

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

      "On the other hand, censorship brings up the entire 'Who guards the guards?' bit."

      You have the right to write or say whatever you like. But others have the right to not let you use their facilities to disseminate it. You can't force a printer to print your pamphlet but you are free to go out and buy your own printing press. Likewise, you can't force other people to sell it for you, but you are free to sell it yourself.

      1. Packet

        Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

        I agree, but I have begun to feel that it's a slippery slope.

        I am often reminded of Hall's "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" bit

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

          I think there was a sudden opening up of easy access channels due to the internet and social media. In the long ruin, that may be seen as a short term aberration in terms of the ability of anyone/everyone being able to easily and freely "broadcast" to the world. It's barely 20 years since this started. Whether the genie can be (or should be) put back in the bottle is another question. (yes, I went with 20 years. The Internet and the first Usenet and email spams were much earlier, but the vast explosion of users and access to the Internet is more recent)

          I'd like to think that we will continue to have all these "free" platforms to express ourselves, but it's already been contaminated by people with agendas spreading scams, spams and disinformation to the extent that it's sometimes almost impossible to tell fact from fiction.

          1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

            In the long ruin, ....

            yep, I think auto correct has nailed that one.

            when I was young, I thought it would be wonderful to live forever, and medical science would advance to eventually bring humanity immortality.

            Now, I am, if not wiser, at least hopefully less stupid, and I am relieved that all of this eventually will be someone elses problem.

  17. steviebuk Silver badge

    Didn't take long

    The other day he said he was off Twitter for a while.

  18. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Tell people what the goddamn guidelines are

    Amazon does have the choice, but not putting the rules/guidelines out there of what's verboten and what's not, is wrong.

    If you want people to play by the rules, you need to publish the rules.

    And who elected Amazon to be my parent, to decide what I can and can't read?

    Edit: stuff does get rejected by publishers all the time because it's crap, but at least you get a letter saying they don't think it's high enough quality to print, not just a generic "rejected" stamp. If Amazon can't put out that much effort, they deserve a beating. It's part of their job.

    1. mmccul

      Re: Tell people what the goddamn guidelines are

      Getting any reply at all from a traditional publisher means you probably passed a first pass review.

      I'd say getting a generic "rejected" stamp is a positive sign. Someone read it enough to care to stamp and send a reply rather than just tossing it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tell people what the goddamn guidelines are

        Amazon isn't a publisher, at least not in this case - they are a seller. Should every book shop have to explain to every author why they choose or choose not to stock their book?

        In fact, let's make it really simple....every shop should have to publish a justification why they choose not to stock any product on the planet that they do not stock. There, glad we've got that whole censorship lark sorted now.

        1. Packet

          Re: Tell people what the goddamn guidelines are

          Actually, in Canada, a big book store did exactly that with Herr Hitler's Mein Kampf.

          They chose not to carry the book as the owner felt it went against her beliefs.

          https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/reisman-bans-mein-kampf-from-chapters-and-indigo/article18419829/

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Tell people what the goddamn guidelines are

      "but not putting the rules/guidelines out there of what's verboten and what's not, is wrong."

      If you published detailed rules, you wind up having to abide by them. That's expensive when it means attorneys and courts. It's much easier to say "Books must pass a review by out team" and be somewhat vague about what that entails. The last thing Amazon wants is to contently be defending themselves against herds of nutjobs with an attorney cousin that doesn't have anything better to do. In a strange reversal of what's normal, they could cost Amazon loads of money in lawyer fees until they have to give in and put out drivel. (Normally, big companies use their legal staff to BK the small guy or force them to drop any actions by running up the costs beyond what might be recovered).

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      And who elected Amazon to be my parent, to decide what I can and can't read?

      Frankly you did.

      If you choose the convenience of buying through an Amazon account, instead of signing up on X number of direct retailer sites then you chose to accept their decisions on what they will (and will not) sell. Not "publish". Sell. Just as you chose to let them track your buying decisions (and quite a lot more beside)

      Can you even name an actual competitor to Amazon?

      Who did this? Look in the mirror. Own it.

  19. William Higinbotham

    Reply to Author

    We are a creature of habits and I am still learning about my own.

  20. The Wild Tomcat

    "truth"

    In my experience, entities that have the word "truth" in their titles are seldom telling it.

  21. Jim-234

    Amazon should have just been honest and come out and said:

    "We like all the other Technocrat overlords decided that if whatever you are saying is not what the current "correct" information according to the government about the whole virus thing, then we will block it."

    And if at some time what you were saying happens to be come the now current "correct" information according to the government we'll say oops our bad... naughty algorithm.... and put it back up....

    (See YouTube banning videos about how to make cloth masks to protect yourself from virus, right up till when the governments decided that was what everyone should do.)

    1. herman Silver badge

      The really sad thing is that the 'official approved narative' is not even from the government - it comes from the US Opposition Party.

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Actually Amazon just have a blanket 'reject' for anything that mentions Coronavirus/COVID.

      That doesn't mean a manual override can't be used, but I suspect the automated filter is saving them a shitload of work at the moment. Almost nobody has something worthwhile to say in book form on the topic, and it's an attractive keyword to put in your title or blurb to attract people searching for it.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Actually Amazon just have a blanket 'reject' for anything that mentions Coronavirus/COVID."

        Very likely. The exception would be something from a relevant institution or known expert in the field. In that case, the author isn't likely to be "self-publishing".

  22. herman Silver badge
    Devil

    Political agendas

    The trouble is that the Covid19 epidemic is completely politicised in the USA and UK. Everyone with primary school math can see that the epidemic is extremely exagerated by a factor of 10 to 100, starting with the ridiculous projection of Dr Neil Ferguson that millions will die. However, anyone who points it out in the media (the figures are pubic and for all to see!), gets shot down in flames online, gets death threats and may be fired from his job. Books and pamphlets about the overblown need for shutdowns and the true cost of ruining the world economy as a result thereof are totally not allowed to be published. Musk is simply calling that out.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: Political agendas

      The whole Covid19 controversy is so politicized, that some people create fake scientific papers to advance their agenda and then withdraw it again later - knowing that the initial publication will be widely commented on, while the withdrawal will be mostly ignored: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/05/lancet-had-to-do-one-of-the-biggest-retractions-in-modern-history-how-could-this-happen

  23. Roger Mew

    If Amazon had any sense they would have said that sales below say 20 a month would incur a cost of £100 a month. He could havehis own censorship then!

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "If Amazon had any sense they would have said that sales below say 20 a month would incur a cost of £100 a month. He could havehis own censorship then!"

      Some authors have done very well through Amazon's self-publishing deal so formally adding a fee like that would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Amazon is better off just rejecting stuff that looks really dodgy. The person could still run copies off at the print shop and sell them on eBay.

  24. earl grey Silver badge
    Devil

    we still need the BOFH

    someone to help his muskiness into the next world.

  25. DerekCurrie
    Angel

    I Have A Directory Named "Elon Musk said what?!" . . .

    ... where I store all his raving gems.

    Apparently, this is a cost of genius.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "despite the absence of evidence of censorship"

    FFS

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    Still think he should release his own aftershave.

    Incredibly deep male voice over

    Elon, with a hint of Musk.

  28. Call me Deckard

    Meet Elon Musk, a very special snowflake

    Elon Musk is a charlatan, not to mention a prima donna snowflake with an easily wounded ego. Anyone who still has two neurons to rub together should know better than to take this guy seriously. He’s not even an “innovator”, unless buying up competitors’ companies counts as innovation.

    At least Brin and Page were genuine engineers and even the annoying Steve Jobs had a few talents that went beyond publicity seeking self-aggrandizement.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "and even the annoying Steve Jobs had a few talents "

      Trousering his mates bonus springs rather readily to mind.

      It takes a very special kind of person to do that to someone they call a friend.

    2. roguefab30

      Re: Meet Elon Musk, a very special snowflake

      i believe it does as long has you have a big idea like his

  29. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Utter Bulls**t

    The books title has the word "Truth" in it which means it contains nothing but utter bulls**t. It's the same as when a country puts the word "Democratic" in it's official name: Democratic People's Republic of Korea, German Democratic Republic (former East Germany), etc. Since Amazon already sells vast amounts of books that contain utter bulls**t, many of which have the word "Truth" in their title, all they did with this one was give it some free publicity. Will I buy a copy? No thanks, I have much better quality toilet paper thanks.

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