One would think that a big sophisticated international company like Amazon.com would have a database management system to envy. Alas, even cutting edge industry leaders have their flaws. How do I know this to be true? Consider this particular example:
This week a new book appeared in the various Amazon.whatever listings around the world: Without Remorse: Czech National Socialism in Late Habsburg Austria. Go to Amazon.ca or Amazon.de and you’ll learn that I’m the author of this forthcoming book. But go to the mother ship, Amazon.com and you’ll see that, perhaps, I’m not the author of my book after all. Instead, William J. Galush seems to be the author of my book. Hmmm. Perhaps I should meet this guy.
The question for me is how Amazon could make such a mistake, not because it peeves me that I’m apparently not the author of my book (although it does), but because one would think that Amazon had a centralized database with certain common fields, say ISBN, author’s name, title, that the various other country Amazons feed off of for their pricing and other information. Apparently one would be wrong in thinking this. It’s less interesting to me whether the error originates at Amazon or with my publisher. What’s more interesting is the cross-national data error and the questions it raises about other errors that Amazon may be allowing to float around in their database.