Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Amazon removed gay authored books from sale rankings

Now this is outrageous:

The internet retailer Amazon has denied any anti-gay cause for thousands of books about gay and lesbian topics losing their sales ranking over the past few days after they have been labelled as "adult" books. The "adult" books include Dr Who star, John Barrowman's autobiography.

Amazon previously ranked all books based on sales but over the past few days, thousands of books on gay topics have disappeared from the list. Authors including E.M. Forster, James Baldwin and even Dr Who and Torchwood star John Barrowman have seen their books disappear.

In a statement Amazon said the issues were caused by "a glitch in our system and it's being fixed." (Pink News)

Hmmm. Seems like a pretty selective "glitch" if you ask me. There is an online petition you can sign.

Update: This story just gets stranger and stranger. An imbecile A hacker is claiming responsibility for this mess. Others are claiming this is a trial story Amazon has sent out to distract people. I think the most bizarre thing of all is that Amazon makes it possible to censor books in the first place. Nathaniel from Film Experience ponders:

None of this solves the real problem (why are there ANY systems that allow customers to decide for other customers what is appropriate reading material?) or answers the real question (Why did Amazon originally defend this as policy?)


  1. That is just ridiculous. Why are gay and lesbian books classed as "adult" in the first place? Letting users report inappropriate material is probably laziness on Amazon's part, as it saves them time going through everything themselves. Hopefully they will do something about it now.

  2. 'Why are gay and lesbian books classed as "adult" in the first place?'

    That's a good question. I don't think anyone even knows that the adult policy is. And they should let writers have a way of fighting for their book if someone labels it as an adult book. This vague policy is really unfair to the writers. And Amazon should have apologized for removing gay/lesbian books from the rankings. Their very lame response to this is just making them look worse than they would have.


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