I haven’t read Mike Monteiro’s new book Ruined by Design, so I can’t say whether it’s any good. But I wouldn’t be sur­prised if it isn’t avail­able at Ama­zon for all that much longer, now that its cov­er encour­ages Ama­zon work­ers to form a labor union.

This past Thurs­day, Mon­teiro tells The Verge, he real­ized he could change his self-pub­lished book’s cov­er as eas­i­ly as upload­ing a new PDF — and used it to add a new mes­sage to Ama­zon work­ers they’ll pre­sum­ably see as they print and pack­age it for deliv­ery.

Every time you buy my book from Ama­zon, a ware­house work­er has to pull it off the shelf. From now on, this is what that work­er will see. At least until Ama­zon shit­cans the whole thing. Hur­ry up. https://t.co/l5jxdz1azW pic.twitter.com/DqWZT5MI9q

— Mike Mon­teiro (@monteiro) Octo­ber 4, 2019

It’s not clear whether the bait-and-switch will actu­al­ly work; if any Ama­zon employ­ees have been swayed. While Mon­teiro says he’s sold over 10,000 copies of the book so far, only 150 paper­backs have been print­ed since he changed the cov­er, which isn’t a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ties for it to catch the right person’s eye.

Mon­teiro says he was work­ing on some union orga­niz­ing when he came up with the idea: “We were dis­cussing how to get mes­sages in front of peo­ple and I real­ized ‘Oh, huh. I have this thing that Ama­zon work­ers see every time a book gets ordered. Let’s put a mes­sage there.’”

Ama­zon hasn’t con­tact­ed him yet, he says — even though the book’s updat­ed cov­er went through one of Amazon’s QA process­es.

We’ve been track­ing Ama­zon work­er protests fol­low­ing the news that the com­pa­ny robot­i­cal­ly tracks and ter­mi­nates work­ers who fail to meet quo­tas, some of whom skip bath­room breaks just to keep their jobs. You can read some of those sto­ries at the links below.


Ama­zon work­ers in Sacra­men­to are protest­ing the company’s strict time-off rules Ama­zon work­ers in Min­neso­ta walk out in protest over part-time work ‘Beat the machine’: Ama­zon ware­house work­ers strike to protest inhu­mane con­di­tions How Ama­zon auto­mat­i­cal­ly tracks and fires ware­house work­ers for ‘pro­duc­tiv­i­ty’ Ama­zon ware­house work­ers skip bath­room breaks to keep their jobs, says report Ama­zon-owned Whole Foods is cut­ting med­ical ben­e­fits for part-time work­ers

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