Amazon = Fail


This started popping up on my FaceBook and LJ a few hours ago and I had intended to write a thoughtful post about it. But really, do I need to? Not just because others have done so, but because you really don’t need long and thoughtful to grasp this.

Amazon is (and apprently has been for a few weeks) stripping “adult” titles of their sales rank so that they don’t show up on bestseller lists and also don’t show up in many searches. The criteria for “adult” appears to be: anything that portrays homosexuality as a positive or talks about homophobia as a negative. For example: Homophobia: A History by Bryan Fone — that would be a non-fiction history book about homophobia. What’s not adult? Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds by Chronicle Books (with pictures of over 600 naked women). Want more examples? A huge list is growing here.

Oh Amazon, when you fail you fail so very, very hard.

And then you fail harder by lying. Or, if not lying, covering your ass without checking whether someone in your organization has already said that you’re doing exactly what you just said you’re not doing and haven’t been doing since February.

This is a form of censorship. And while it may be that Amazon has the legal right to censorship on their website, that doesn’t mean anyone has to stand for it. That means you can take your business elsewhere.

You can go to your local bookstores, be they big box or independent. You can order books online from Barnes & Noble, or Borders, or even your local independent bookstore. I am a fan of Powells, myself.

Buy books. Always buy books. But don’t buy books from assholes who attempt to censor out books about homosexuals (unless they are books wherein it shows one how to be cured of it — yes, those got to keep their ranking. Surprise!).

Also, if you’re the kind of person who is in to petitions, sign the petition.

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10 Responses to Amazon = Fail

  1. 1
    Carnadosa says:

    Meta Writer has a really lovely roundup.

  2. 2
    HM says:

    Folks might also want to avoid Borders, seeing as it’s affiliated with (owns? owned by?) Amazon.

  3. 3
    SM says:

    HM: Borders no longer has an affiliation with Amazon.

  4. 4
    Shea says:

    So that’s what this whole thing was about. I have to admit, I feel bad for the front line kids working this weekend, since I’m sure the people who made the decision are taking it off. I guess we’ll be getting some official word on Tuesday.

    Here’s hoping it’s them apologizing and re-listing everything and the whole matter being a horrible mistake.

  5. 5
    L says:

    One positive thing about this is that I never even knew that Powells had such a good online site for buying books. I’ve never actually been in their store but I have heard nothing but good things about them. I usually try to refrain from buying books online because I like to support by local independent bookstores but occasionally when I get very busy, I’ll buy a book from Amazon. Not any more. I’ll get it from Powells instead.

  6. 6
    PG says:

    I love using Powells for gifts because they have so many book-signings, so I can send someone a book with the author’s signature. It makes it a little bit more special.

  7. Someone claiming responsibility for this, or at least for making the effect of Amazon’s policy that much worse. Also, here’s a link to the guy that the author of that last post says figured out what was going on. I have no idea about the credibility of either of them, but I figure that people on here who know more about this stuff than I do might be interested and/or be able to say whether either link is legit.

  8. 8
    chingona says:

    Even if they resolve this to everyone’s satisfaction, I think it will make me a little more likely to get off my butt and go to my local independent bookstore (especially my local feminist bookstore!), which is a good thing. I always feel a twinge of guilt using Amazon at all, but it’s so damn convenient – books and music and a gazillion other kinds of crap, all in one place.

    (By which I don’t mean to say that I’ll continue to patronize them if they stick by this policy. Just that even before this, I felt like I shouldn’t shop there but did anyway.)

  9. Pingback: » Blog Archive » #Amazonfail and a coincidental job advert

  10. 9
    LF says:

    I know sometimes you just have to own a copy of a particular book, but here’s a vote for supporting your local library when you can!