Spam from Robert M. Parker Jnr.

One of the great drawbacks of buying books on the internet is spam from Amazon along the lines of: “we’ve noticed that customers who have purchased or rated Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar by Jay McInerney have also purchased Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide (7th Edition) by Robert M. Parker. For this reason, you might like to know that Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide (7th Edition) will be released on October 7, 2008. You can pre-order yours at a savings of $11.90…” Although quite how those lucky customers bought the book before it was released, is not explained.

bob Spam from Robert M. Parker Jnr.

I’d have thought that reading a subversive amateur like Jay McInerney would separate anoraques from amateurs. A penchant for Jay should exclude Bob and vice-versa, so sorry Bob, you won’t be receiving $23.10 from me anytime soon.

Still, it’s nice to know that “understanding that buyers on every level appreciate a good deal, Parker separates overvalued bottles from undervalued, with wine prices instantly shifting according to his evaluations. Indifferent to the wine’s pedigree, Parker’s eminent 100-point rating system…” Although of course if prices do indeed calibrate instantly according to Parker’s “eminent 100-point rating system” then there will be no bargains left if you buy this guide.

Bob’s aim is a fine and noble one: “offering collectors and amateurs alike the ultimate resource to the world’s best wines. In every way, this edition bears out Parker’s stated goal: ‘to make you a more formidable, more confident wine buyer by providing you with sufficient insider’s information to permit the wisest possible choice when you make a wine-buying decision.’ ”

Another drawback is that Amazon has long since given up on the dodgy SA Post Office, so books need to be DHL’d to darkest Africa at first world charges, otherwise they never arrive and all those “world’s best wines” will be snarfed up by Northern Hemispherians.

My final thought is that Amazon’s spam confirms that the business of wine guides is not selling wine, but rather selling wine guides.