Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazon, You've Let Me Down.

Just in case you haven't heard about the current Amazon flub-up, here is the skinny. Amazon just removed rankings from books that are now considered to contain "adult content." Rankings are what allow books to show up in searches and lists and so forth. The books are still for sale on Amazon, but it looks like searching for them without the title and/or author is... difficult. From what I've read, it looks like those who were hardest hit by this unranking move are authors that deal with gay, lesbian, trans, and even some sexy heterosexual topics (think Lady Chatterley's Lover).

But, as usual, my recap of this event is awkward at best. So here are a couple of links you should check out.

1. "Why the Amazon de-ranking of GLBT books matters" on Jenny Boylan's Blog - You might remember my still starstruck post about her visit to our campus last week. Her bestselling book, She's Not There, is now unranked. There is such a lack of "adult content" in that book.

2. "'Gay writing' falls foul of Amazon sales ranking system" from The Guardian This article explains a bit more about what is going on and what Amazon has to say about it so far.

I've always been interested in issues of censorship. I mostly feel that it shouldn't happen. We live in a world that doesn't censor much of anything that it should. We see sex and violence and drugs and hatred and high-fat foods and ignorance on a daily basis. Before we reach the age of 2!

Yet great books are banned every day because they might bring up topics that we aren't comfortable explaining to our children. And, I have come to expect this. But this is too far. To automatically consider LGBTQ texts "adult content" is homophobic and wrong. Hiding LGBTQ texts by pulling them from topic searches is such an horrific step back that I can't even really believe this is happening.

Like Jenny Boylan said in her blog, hopefully this will be old and over by the time you read this. I sure hope so.

But just know that Amanda's pissed.

11 comments:

kmari03 said...

I want to somehow take them down through abuse of my Amazon prime membership...

Evan said...

K. and I have been talking about this. The most tragic part is that LGBTQ authors are having their work de-ranked, while things like Playboy are still ranked. Damn you, Amazon!

The Empress said...

Seriously, this is lame. Fail, Amazon.

m said...

What surprises me the most about this is that Amazon is based in Seattle where other companies, like Starbucks, have lead the way in LGBTQ acceptance in the workplace, like insurance coverage to same-sex partners that are in a committed relationship. Seattle is a hotbed of progressive thought and action, so it is disappointing that Amazon is neglecting this to appease some bullshit right-wing demand for censorship of "adult" material. Amazon, you fully disappoint me.

Amanda said...

If anyone wants to see something really disheartening and Armageddon'like, just search the word "homosexuality" on Amazon. I feel like I'm using the Christian ISP again!

m said...

In case you were wondering, here's something from the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/technology/internet/14amazon.html?_r=1&hpw

Take it for what it's worth...

thereddeer said...

I can't believe this!!! I hadn't heard of it yet, but it is absolutely shocking. Boo to amazon!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Replace your name with mine and I agree with your very last statement! Have you seen "This Film Is Not Yet Rated?" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493459/

Rachel said...

Censorship? Boo hiss.

That's really appalling.

Elissa @ 17 and Baking said...

I had no idea... it's really disappointing. Huge companies like Amazon are making a big statement with actions like this... And it's not a statement the world needs.

Amanda said...

HTEAC: I haven't seen This Film is Not Yet Rated, but it's on my queue now. :) One part of the five part miniseries Indie Sex was about censorship and the rating system though. It's really fascinating stuff.

Elissa: What you said about this being a statement is exactly right. All their hemming and hawing about a "glitch" is just not going to cut it if they want to fully recover from this. At least when it comes to my book buying... :)