Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazon Censorship

On Thursday last week the ranking disappeared from my Amazon page for my story collection, Balancing on the Edge of the World. Well, no one can call me paranoid: I just decided that they must have removed the ranking facility altogether (and I was busy so I didn't bother to check anyone else's). Then on Saturday it appeared again and I decided it had just been a glitch.

But what do I discover today but that Amazon have apparently removed the ranking facility from all books with 'adult' content. Seems that in response to a massive protest Amazon are now saying that it was just a glitch but here's the reply which Mark Probst received from Amazon when he inquired:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature. 

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.
Best regards,
Ashlyn D
Member Services 
Amazon.com Advantage (Quoted from Mark Probst’s Blog)
The most outrageous aspect of this is that by 'adult' Amazon seems to mean 'gay and lesbian', so that classic gay and lesbian books without the inclusion of explicit sex have had their ranking removed while books including explicit hetereosexual sex have been left alone. (God knows what happened with mine: did they take another look at the one erotic story in my book and decide that because it was heterosexual sex it was OK after all?)

It is of course a matter of extreme concern that an organization with the power of Amazon could practise such censorship, and I urge you to sign the petition set up to protest.

Here's a post by Anne Brooke on the Vulpes Libris blog, which supplies more details.
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