What’s happening with Amazon Chronicles

Hello Amazon Chronicles Subscribers!

For the last year, I’ve disabled new paid subscribers to this newsletter, since I wasn’t posting often and didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the subscriber list going forward. HOWEVER, that does not disable autorenewed subscriptions, and many of my first wave of paid subscribers from back in January 2019 have started to get their autorenew notices. Many of you have probably been wondering: what is going on? So, here’s the deal.

My plan has always been to relaunch this newsletter in a big way in Spring 2021. This includes the following things:

  1. More frequent posts, including one reported analysis post a week;
  2. Exclusive community features for paid subscribers;
  3. Continuing to make the main newsletter freely available for everybody;
  4. Some kind of multimedia content that would live off the newsletter platform;
  5. Reevaluating which newsletter/subscription platform I wanted to host the platform.

Number 5 has turned out to be super-complicated for a million reasons, some of which you’re probably aware of if you’ve been following the newsletter world at all. Also (even stranger), I wound up making my decision shortly before the latest wave of Substack hemorrhaging newsletter writers and the public announcement of Substack Pro.

I’m planning on writing a public newsletter about all of this, but this announcement for you, today, is to tell you the following:

  1. I’m planning on continuing to publish Amazon Chronicles on Substack for another year;
  2. The target date for the relaunch is April 5.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with this, especially as I myself am very conflicted about Substack’s choices in the past and present, and totally understand why many of my friends and counterparts don’t want to have anything to do with the platform. For my part, I plan to be very vocal in public and private about how I think my newsletter platform is screwing up, and (very occasionally) what they’re doing well.

Running a technology platform is like being mayor of a large city: don’t audition for the gig if you don’t want the main ways for your constituents to relate to you to be them telling you that you stink and are responsible for everything that’s going wrong.

For those of you who don’t want to continue to have any of your subscription money going to Substack, please consider signing up for a free subscription instead. You’ll still get all my Amazon reporting and analysis, and I will be just fine. And if you don’t want to be on Substack’s email lists at all, unsubscribe; I have heard about bugs where some people who unsubscribe from the paid newsletter still stay on the free newsletter list, so it may take more than one go.

If you want to fight with me about this over email, just reply to this message; I will try to explain my position as best as I can but probably just tell you that I love you enough times to make us all embarrassed.

If you’re still down to pay for what I do here, I would be honored for you to stay with me and can promise more and better going forward now that I know where this newsletter is going to live for another year.

Coming up this week: a big entry about Amazon and labor, from Bessemer, Alabama to the entire world.

More soon,

Tim Carmody