An Open Letter to Amazon, on Receipt of Your Most Recent Email of Recommendations

Dear Amazon:

We need to have a talk.

Listen, I know. I use your service a lot. I’m a very loyal customer. And I’m not writing to complain. Well, not really. Not much, anyway.

I’m the first to admit I’ve become a wee bit obsessed with you lately. Ever since you wooed me with Amazon Prime. Now I don’t have to wait until I want $25 worth of your products to order! Free two-day shipping! It’s kind of the best/worst thing ever. Best in that I get almost instant gratification; worst in that I might be spending a wee bit more money on your site than I should be.

But that’s not why I’m writing.

I wanted to address this email situation.

When I got my Kindle at the beginning of the year, I signed up for your daily Kindle deal email. I like this email because sometimes there are books on there that I really want for .99. NINETY-NINE CENTS! This is very exciting. Good books, too. Books that I want to own on my Kindle. I’ve gotten very picky about what I purchase in paper (not because I’m snobby, but because space in my tiny home is at a premium, and my books are reaching critical mass and leaning here and there all willy-nilly and sometimes I come home and the stacks have tipped over and I just know that Dumbcat narrowly escaped literature-related doom while I was gone and NO, I don’t have room in here for any more bookcases, believe me, if that was an option, I’d have done it by now. THERE IS NO ROOM, DAMMIT!) so owning them on my space-saving little Kindle is really just the best thing.

I'm a little obsessed with the Kindle. Just a wee bit.

I’m a little obsessed with the Kindle. Just a wee bit.

However, recently, you’ve been sending me a lot more email. And it’s…well, it’s not geared toward my interests. I have to wonder what’s going on.

Especially after the one today.

“Customers who purchased popular titles might be interested in our picks for the 20 Big Fall Books, part of our Big Fall Books Preview.”

Well, I guess you can ASSUME that MOST people would be interested in “big fall books.” I mean, they’re BIG for a reason. Right? And the authors on this list are fancy, I guess. Lee Child. Sue Grafton. John Grisham.

Thing is? I don’t read “popular titles.” Well, not often, anyway.

Looking over this email, there’s not a single book that’s a must-read for me. There’s Margaret Atwood’s new book, but I didn’t love the Oryx and Crake series, so I’m not desperate for it and probably won’t read it. Other than that? There’s a Malcolm Gladwell that doesn’t look terrible, and the rest?


And Amazon, what I’m perplexed by is that I don’t BUY popular titles. I thought at first it was because I pre-ordered the new King book, but I did that after I received this email. And I haven’t purchased any other popular titles from you. I’ve purchased some older books, some reference books, some poetry, and a lot of e-books, but none of them “popular.”

John Grisham? Come on, Amazon. I thought we had a thing. I thought we KNEW each other. I’ve never read a John Grisham in my life; I don’t like courtroom drama. Asking me to read a John Grisham is like asking me to read a (shudder) Dan Brown.

What do you MEAN, Amy? Don't you want my latest book? DON'T YOU? Everyone does!

What do you MEAN, Amy? Don’t you want my latest book? DON’T YOU? Everyone does!

I get it. Most people like these things. I’m not judging them. That’s their thing. If it makes ’em happy, and doesn’t hurt anyone else, well, more power to them, you know? Live and let live, Amazon. Live and let live. So you thought you’d send me this because MOST people would like this.

Oh, Amazon. Look over my purchase history. I’m not most people. No one wants to think they’re “most people,” you know? I THOUGHT YOU THOUGHT I WAS SPECIAL. My heart, she is broken.

Send me an email about the best small-press books of the fall. Send me an email about the most talked-about poetry collections. Send me an email about new graphic novels people are talking about, or young adult novels, or fantasy novels.

But inundating my inbox (not a euphemism, Amazon) with emails that do not pertain to me, and mostly just make me wrinkle my nose at how you not only don’t know me at all, but didn’t even take five minutes to look at my purchase history…

Yeah. That’s a huge marketing fail, Amazon. And you’re a big company. You’re savvy. You can do better than this.

If you want the pretty girl to like you, pay attention to what she likes and then bring that up in conversation, Amazon. Sheesh, it’s like you never did this before! I shouldn’t have to give you advice on how to woo a lay-dee.

You’re on double-secret probation with me. Watch your step, or I’m going to unsubscribe from your emails.  I don’t think you want that. You certainly do send enough of them. It would put SUCH a kink in your day.

Most sincerely yours,

Lucy’s Football.

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

31 responses to “An Open Letter to Amazon, on Receipt of Your Most Recent Email of Recommendations

  • franhunne4u

    Yes, me too wondered why I got some of the offers from amazon – and then it dawned on me – sometimes I look up things for other people or just want to find out what a certain title is about – and that’s when amazon gets this data which is not MY real data. I laugh heartily when they try to sell me children’s products. They are sooo easily misled.


    • lucysfootball

      Yeah, that’s part of it. It’s weird, sometimes it remembers who I am, sometimes it doesn’t, so it doesn’t always remember me from my searches. There should be a button I could click to have them NOT remember those searches for recommendations – because sometimes I look up a book to mock it, not buy it.


  • sj

    Yesterday they recommended that author wrote that rant about. Um…


    • lucysfootball

      Good grief. Amazon! You do NOT know how to woo a woman.

      (And they certainly don’t know how to woo you. You don’t even shop there anymore, do you?)


      • sj

        Rarely. Sometimes I will download free books to read on the kindle app on my Nook, but that’s it. Like, ever. The last time I bought anything through them was when I paid EIGHT CENTS for that Doctor Who/Starry Night poster I bought for the Boy.


  • Nicola

    Oh man, I feel you on this. Amazon has been determinedly recommending York Notes Study Guides to me for the last 5 years – the last time I studied English Literature was 4 years ago. However, maybe I should be grateful – if they always recommended books that I actually want, I’d probably be living out of a cardboard box right now, refusing to sell all my books for food.


    • lucysfootball

      That’s actually a really good point. If they always sent emails about things I wanted…I’d be in trouble. (More trouble than I am. Seriously, Amazon. STOP BEING SO AWESOME. This two-day shipping is WAY too easy for me.)


  • dste

    Yes, I’ve noticed the same thing in my recommendations. They keep trying to get me to buy all these new and popular titles, when really I want the free ebooks of old classics. And if I actually had money to spend on books just for fun, the ones they recommend are 9 times out of 10 not the ones I would want to read. They say personalized recommendations, and then it just doesn’t seem like it.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I miss Amazon. I still browse its aisles full of stuff, but with the current customs penalty on delivery to Åland, ordering is basically a no-go. *sigh* Why do you have to live so far away,


  • cynthiaw

    The worst had to be when every bookstore in existence felt the need to email me REPEATEDLY about Dan Brown’s latest book. Like I would EVER. Seriously, I’m more likely to become a member of the undead or finally receive my Hogwarts’ letter 35 years late than I am to read Dan Brown.

    Even when Amazon tries to send me an email full of nothing but “literary fiction”, they fail spectacularly – Danielle Steele is NOT literary fiction. For reals.


    • lucysfootball

      I guess I just find it perplexing. They’re HUGE. Can’t they work on a better algorithym to figure out what I’d like? Or hire better people to make lists? SOMETHING? It would really be in their best interest to do so…they can see from my purchase history I’m not just a casual shopper. *looks at wallet* *sighs*


  • Samantha

    I am considering telling Amazon to just stop advertising to me, since I love my Kindle so much there’s no way I’m stopping buying books from them. It’s a sad situation, but I can read Kindle in the sun AND in the dark. I’m sold.

    Sometimes it does mock me with books that I’ve downloaded samples of, then goes, “Oh hey, this now only 3.99…hint, hint.” And I’m like SIGH and buy it. (That’s how I got Dare Me by Megan Abbott. And The Fault in Our Stars.)


    • lucysfootball

      I just bought “Dare Me”! Haven’t gotten around to it yet, but it looks good (and is highly recommended!)

      “The Fault in Our Stars” I got from the library. And cried all over. And glared at for manipulating me into crying. Damn you, John Green.


  • Heather

    The new Atwood comes out on my BIRTHDAY, and I can’t wait…HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Weeeee! (I’m sorry you weren’t a fan of these, but I am EXCITED.)

    But Malcolm Gladewell gets the big thumbs down from me, so we’re even. Haha!

    I unsubscribed from Amazon emails a while ago for exactly this reason. I got sick of getting emails that I could delete at a glance because I knew there was nothing in them for me.


    • lucysfootball

      I think they were just too sci-fi/ecological for me. I loved her writing – I always do – but I didn’t love the plotline.

      I’ve never read any of Gladwell’s work, but it always looks interesting.


  • becomingcliche

    I trash all solicitation emails I get now. They’re just routed there so I don’t have to look at them. There’s no real algorithm besides “She bought books. She must want books millions of other people want.”


  • Jeff

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that didn’t like Oryx and Crake.

    I always regret signing up for email alerts. I wind up deleting a lot of emails.


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