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Amazon.com has removed the “buy” button from all of the graphic novels it lists that are distributed by Diamond Book Distributors, including books from Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, IDW and many other publishers. Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly reports this is apparently in response to last weekend’s pricing glitch, in which a variety of high-end books were erroneously marked at much lower prices. While the books are not available directly from Amazon, they can still be purchased on the website from third-party sellers.
A source knowledgeable about the situation told PW that Amazon has been forced to temporarily take down buy buttons for all titles supplied by Diamond in order to correct the problem. According to the source, Amazon has to do an audit to figure out which customers got books and at what prices. While the situation is temporary, the source said, “there is no timetable for when this will be completed.” The buttons were still off Thursday morning.
Here’s a quick recap for anyone who was under a rock — or who, like me, missed all the excitement because they were sick in bed this weekend. On Sunday, Amazon was offering big discounts on all sorts of high-priced comics collections — everything from Marvel’s Omnibus line to the Bone: One Volume to The Complete Invincible Library Vol. 1 hardcover. Most of them dropped from their usual prices — those Omnibus editions retail for about $100 — to $14.99, with some falling to a little more than $8 as the day went on.
Fans and retailers went on a buying spree, and social-media sites like Twitter and Facebook were ablaze as creators pushed their own books and fans bragged about their purchases. But while some of the orders were filled and shipped, many of them were canceled, with customers receiving $25 credits for their trouble.
While many customers seem okay with the fact that they aren’t going to receive the 100 copies of the Ultimate Spider-Man hardcovers they ordered, some feel like Amazon should still honor the price. If you’re one of those, David Brothers has some words for you:
Amazon doesn’t owe you a single solitary thing. They’d be well within their rights to cancel every order and not lose a few thousand bucks. There’s even a note in their TOS that sometimes, on occasion, books are mispriced, and sucks to be you if they charge you the full price. Until the book ships, they do not charge your card, meaning that there is no sale. That means they owe you nothing until the book leaves their warehouse.
So to call them up and ask for a refund for time wasted ordering obviously mistakenly marked down books makes you something like a jerk. They don’t owe you anything. If anything, you owe them whatever the actual price of the book you ordered was. It’s a blessing that they honored any of the orders, considering it was such an obvious cheat that we were all taking advantage of. I got a few Ultimate Spidey HCs and I’m pretty happy about that. I didn’t get a Tomb of Dracula, but so what? I don’t expect Wal-mart to let me buy eighteen computers that got marked down to 50 bucks because somebody dropped a decimal point, and they’re under no obligation to let me do that.
As does Tucker Stone:
Thousands take advantage of an Amazon pricing screw-up, a large scale mislabeling of products, and a beautiful sea of crime results, one that is initially bragged about at a volume usually reserved for when they sing the National Anthem at a baseball game. It’s gorgeous from the bird’s eye, a fantastic rainbow explosion, with children and professionals running to their computers and grabbing everything they could ever want, laughing hysterically as they pant out their credit card numbers before turning to the social network of their choice to proclaim what rampant criminality has wrought forth.
But when they get called on it, what do they say?
“I’m going to file a class action lawsuit” – some random infant, repeated exponentially
That’s the kind of response that would make George Washington weep. A class action lawsuit? Really? That’s the legacy you want written across your face, attached forever to your name?
And others are pointing to the buying frenzy that followed the glitch as evidence that comics are too expensive. On Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston said, “But if there is a lesson here, it’s this. Comics are too expensive, You make them cheaper, much cheaper, and people will buy them. Buy lots of them. Buy them more than anything on Amazon.” David Uzumeri responds to Rich on ComicsAlliance, while retailer Chris Butcher offers some succinct comments as well.
And finally, a similar glitch apparently hit Barnes & Noble yesterday, although it appears that the titles that were affected have all sold out now.