Apr. 12th, 2009

builtofsorrow: (nmtb | barrowman | talk to the hand)
Originally via [livejournal.com profile] such_heights & now Twitter/The Internet at Large:

Amazon.com, since February, apparently, has been de-ranking and removing from their search engine books they label as ‘adult’; i.e., both eliminating the 'offending' books from bestseller lists and making these books more difficult - & in some cases nigh impossible - to find on their site.

The very basic fact is that this makes pretty much no sense whatsoever, given that a) their own Terms of Service state they don’t sell books to children, b) they’re in the bookselling business & people should be able to choose if they want to see books; if there’s such a problem, engage something like Google’s safe search, y/y? But beyond that, it appears that this censorship is targeting the LGBT community. It’s not only such books that have been affected, but it seems to be the trend: the children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies is de-ranked, whilst things in the Playboy category are not.

Stephen Fry’s autobiography, Moab is My Washpot? De-ranked. Let me tell you, that book is not graphic. Now, I wouldn’t let my ten-year-old read it, necessarily, but I also wouldn’t let my ten-year-old read Everything is Illuminated, which is certainly more sexually graphic, and has not been de-ranked. I'm just waiting for them to get to the actual Wilde; one biography has already been struck, as has John Barrowman's autobiography.

Censorship ftl, Amazon. Selective, discriminatory censorship? Oh HELL no.

Relevant links:

Continually updating list of links concerning the issue.
List of affected authors.

ETA: Amazon Rank, purposes described here.

ETA 2: LA Times for the win.

ETA 3: First statement from Amazon appears, stating it's all due to a 'glitch'. (I (along with many others) say it's an awfully suspicious & selective glitch, but ooookay. Assume we'll hear more from them soon.)

ETA 4 & Final: Updates to this & the beginnings of resolution are here, compiled by [livejournal.com profile] such_heights, including better commentary than I could offer, I am sure.

I know some are now saying that outrage was perhaps a bit overdramatic and preemptive, but you know what? I'd rather see outrage that was certainly justified than have such things ignored. No matter what Amazon says about this being an embarrassing and accidental error on this part, no matter how true its claims may be, the situation was unjust and wrong, and I would rather see 'overdramatic' fury than idle apathy.



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