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I'm a member of audible.com and they sent me a $10 gift certificate, so I went in search of $10 audio works to download. I decided to look in "Science" and I am now looking at The Bible Cure for Autoimmune Diseases in which "Dr. Don Colbert offers a natural, scriptural plan for your complete recovery from autoimmune disease."

Now. I don't diss faith healing per se (the placebo effect is mighty, after all, and I've done shamanic healing, although I'm not claiming it cured anything physical). But WHAT IS IT DOING IN THE 'SCIENCE' CATEGORY? The only kinds of faith healing books that belong in the science category are books about how and why it works.

Some of the reviews are amusing. I like the one that says "Not nearly as good as 'The Bible Cure for Gullability', which is very direct in its theme of blaming the victim for their lack of faith" and the one whose title is "We need a zero star rating." (Unfortunately, you have to buy and download the book to review it.)


To audible.com's credit, they responded to my complaint within 15 minutes:
While I was unable to find the specific book you mentioned I did notice a few books that shouldn't be in the Science category. I apologize for this and will be notifying the content department to begin a review of the listings to ensure they are all accurately categorized.
It will be interesting to see if they follow up.

My complaint was:
I was looking in the Science category of your site and discovered books titled "The Bible Cure for..." It is clear these are books on faith healing, which may work for some people but is not science. Why are these books in the Science category? I notice these books have very poor customer reviews, and their inappropriate inclusion in the Science category might be causing this since customers buying these books out of this category may have expectations that the books can't deliver.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 16th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
Because it has do with autoimmune diseases? Those are not faith-based.
May. 16th, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC)
No, but "a natural, Scriptural plan for your recovery" is. This book belongs in Religion; I might stretch a point and put it in with Self-Help (which is largely faith-based to begin with), but never in Science, because it isn't science.
May. 16th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
I have no problem with its inclusion in the Health category, but Science isn't appropriate, unless it's a study of whether faith healing works on autoimmune disorders, which it isn't.
May. 16th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
Ah, I forgot they had a health category. I was thinking of how it could have been misfiled, but you are totally right, there's no way this should belong in Science.
May. 16th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
Let them know they have it misfiled. I've found some fairly amazing miscues in brick-and-mortar bookstores. Once it was a (pagan) religious book in the SF section; another time it was "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" similarly (probably because it had a fantasy-looking cover and someone said, "Oh, this must be the novelization from the Disney movie!"). But if you don't tell them, they'll never know.
May. 16th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
yep, already done.
May. 16th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
Or the Anne Rice "A.N. Roquelaire" Sleeping Beauty books in Children's. Um, not so much.
May. 16th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
What probably happened is that the person who set the categories for the book with the book publisher's company included "science" along with other categories (like "faith," "health," whatever), and when audible.com got the download, they automatically used the publisher's categorizations without double-checking. I'd bet that most companies have to do this; they generally don't have enough employees to check everything that comes down the pipe, and book publishers/distriutors/whatever are notoriously - unreliable about portraying books honestly, if they think it might influence sales. I'm just surprised that none of the people who downloaded the thing bothered to follow up with a complaint. Well, maybe they have... the response to your message to them should clear up that bit.
May. 16th, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
Perhaps. Amazon doesn't have it classified as science, but perhaps they pay more attention, or have already been corrected.
May. 16th, 2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
*nod* I know for a fact (heh) that Amazon has a pretty good customer feedback system; if something is misclassified (as happens fairly frequently, pretty much like I outlined above) and a customer notices and pings back, Amazon can change the listing very easily. And Amazon has a huge customer base, so it's more likely to get noticed more quickly.
May. 16th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
I recall, too, that someone was describing a process (Desired? or implemented?) where Amazon was using customer feedback to rate the many different streams of publisher and reseller data about books so they'd have preferences for vendors based on track record.

Since it seems that copy catalogers care even about which librarian made a record that they were considering copying, i thought that to be a pretty cool way to scale that up.
May. 16th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
Cool. Good on you.

Reminds me of when we were at the Maker Fair & I saw a poster titled "Conference on the Healing Arts" and just by the graphic design I knew - and confirmed this by a closer reading - that medicine was nowhere represented in the "healing arts".
May. 16th, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
[*snort*] Perhaps that was because they thought medicine is a science, although anyone who knows anything about medicine knows it's not just a science.
May. 16th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
I am always glad to hear that other people are enjoying Audible. I have been a member for nearly 7 years. And they didn't give me a $10 gift certificate!:)
May. 16th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
I'm very ambivalent about audible.com. They don't have enough unabridged titles, they don't have LOADS of titles that I KNOW were recorded for audio (including several hundred titles by my favorite reader, David Case/Frederick Davidson), and the prices are outrageous unless you buy the two-books-per-month membership.

But after considerable research I determined they are simply the only game in town if you want downloadable audio files. (The Apple Store has them too, but only via audible.) I really wish they weren't the only game, though.

I got the gift certificate for using up 5 membership credits in one month. Not sure why they wanted to encourage that...
May. 18th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
I have very mixed feelings about Audible. I do know that they listen to customer feedback; they always have. However, their new website is really untenable for me, because I've been a member for such a long time. It's really designed for people who have fewer than 400 items in their library, which I think is a flaw. You used to be able to remove things from your library (and archive them), and AFAIK there is no longer a way to do that.

I give them Extra Points for the amount of free audio they provide. It was great during the election. And with the website revamp, they provide even more free audio--which I am all for. I went from 2 books/month to 1 book/month, because with the backlog I have and the free audio, I have quite enough to listen to.
May. 16th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
I'm not at all familiar with this specific book, but another category I've seen is books with similar titles that are about "ancient" "wonder foods" and such -- "Bible" is in the title to catch eyes and make sales, and the books aren't actually faith-based at all. (The science may also be questionable, but it's arguably present.) Roughly, "Eat like we think people ate 2500 years ago, and you'll feel better!"
May. 17th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
These days, I'm tossing out the suggestion that people who claim to be religious don't get to use science language. Nothing involving theories, deductions, premises, arguments, or really anything involving empiricism.

I suspect it'll be an uphill slog.
May. 17th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
Does "tossing out" mean you're letting go of it, or you're promulgating it?

It's possible to be religious and scientific both, but I don't like it when people use science language to make religious claims.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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