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WTF, Amazon?

Happy Easter, GLBT folks and allies, from your friends at Amazon! Your books have been stripped of sales rankings!

markprobst, writer of the now de-ranked THE FILLY, and publisher, is one of the first to post about it here, got some kind of reply/statement from an Amazon official, for what it's worth. LJ community meta_writer is compiling a list of affected books. And the nice people at Dear Author give us some more information.

What does Amazon hope to gain by this? It's not, as one commenter said, to steer people to Kindle, where the GLBT content's rankings stand. Some of the titles aren't even on Kindle, like the socially radical and threatening HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES, or the racy, full color sexpurgasm AM I BLUE?, an anthology of short stories with GLBT themes for teens edited by Marion Dane Bauer. [edited to correct the editor's name!]

Maybe other writers are made of sterner stuff, but I live on my online sales rankings. My mood rises and falls on them. And even worse, what a way to further disenfranchise people, to tell them their sales aren't even worth tracking.

I expected this crap during the Bush years, not now.

edited to add:

Here's more information, including Amazon's so-called rationale, from the Denver Internet Examiner.

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Comments

( 80 comments — Leave a comment )
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dark_puck
Apr. 12th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
It's an utter load of bullshit. I've been following it on sf_drama and at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. They've suggested to hit Amazon right in the PR, by linking to a new definition of Amazon Rank.

I also will not be buying anything else from Amazon.
(Deleted comment)
cunningplan
Apr. 12th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
actually, if you look at those links you'll see that for many entries they're for the Kindle editions only. The actual print books no longer have rankings and can't be searched. Some authors have found that their Kindle editions have been de-ranked as well.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - ex_drakyn - Apr. 12th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - valarltd - Apr. 12th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
dormouse_in_tea
Apr. 12th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
Yes, clearly they are trying to protect me by making sure I don't see any wild and racy guides to pregnancy for lesbian mothers.

I've already e-mailed them to explain why they've lost a customer. Hint: it includes the words censorship and homophobia.

Thank you for helping to make this public.
magic_at_mungos
Apr. 12th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
I've sent an email to them telling them I've got the hump.
cunningplan
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
One of the worst parts is that for many of these de-ranked books, an actual search for the title or author on the main page won't turn up anything.
ex_drakyn
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
Ahh, yes, trans* biographies are sooooo racy and immoral.

(Anyone in the US looking for a replacement site can check out Indiebound--they help you find local independent stores so you don't have to support Borders/Barnes&Nobles/Amazon/Walmart/ETC. Many of these stores will let you buy online & ship to you.
I've also heard that Powell's is good; they're an independent bookstore based in Portland OR.)
thedilettante
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
In the comments at Booksquare someone mentioned that biographies of gay actors (Stephen Fry and John Barrowman?) had been de-ranked too. Completely ridiculous.

(Hey Drakyn!)
(no subject) - ex_drakyn - Apr. 12th, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Not so with amazon.ca, though... - dewline - Apr. 12th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not so with amazon.ca, though... - tammy212 - Apr. 13th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not so with amazon.ca, though... - dewline - Apr. 13th, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not so with amazon.ca, though... - timeliebe - Apr. 13th, 2009 05:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Barrowman? - dewline - Apr. 13th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
tif123
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the Canadian subsidiary of Amazon hasn't done the same.
dewline
Apr. 12th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Confirmed so far as I can with my first test case(see above)!
seika
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
linked here by a friend
I'm sure up for sending Amazon a message with amazon rank. I won't call it "googlebombing"-- that word sounds, well, like we're doing something destructive. We're not; we're simply advertising what we think of Amazon ranking.
dragontail
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
And yet we true crime authors are left alone, when we're writing about real perversion, actual rape and heinous events that actually happened. As are historical writers. Now, I'm not saying we should be censored too... I'm saying that if our work is left alone (as well it should be), so too should LGBT fiction, non-fiction and social analysis (because it bloody well should be left alone).

There's simply no rationale for this, no matter what Amazon tries to claim. It's a sliding scale based on the company's own morality, and nothing more.
tammy212
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
And yet we true crime authors are left alone, when we're writing about real perversion, actual rape and heinous events that actually happened. As are historical writers.

As are the hetero romance writers, some of whom leave me crossing my legs and looking for a duvet to hide under. As is a photo book of Playboy centerfolds. Hypocritical much?
camlina
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
WTF? I understand why they might want to remove the adult content from the rankings, but their method of determining which items are "adult" seems pretty out of whack.
satismagic
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Wow, WTF indeed.

I'm SO fed up with that hysterical, prudish attitude towards sex. Jeez.

If only they were as concerned about violence and other adult topics, such as political extremism or religious fanaticism.
desayunoencama
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
Actually, AM I BLUE? is edite dby Marion Dane Bauer. The title story, though, is by Bruce Coville.
tammy212
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
Oh. Ha. ::blushes:: Oops. Will fix! Thanks. ::crawls off::
desayunoencama
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
The worst thing is not just the sales rankings but removing them from the search engine.

Type in "homosexuality" now and the first book is A PARENT'S GUIDE TO PREVENTING HOMOSEXUALITY. Book 3 is YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE GAY. Book 4 is FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO. Book 5. is CAN HOMOSEXUALITY BE HEALED?

Absolutely disgusting, what they've done!
valarltd
Apr. 12th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO is a DVD. It's put out by Soulforce and is a very powerful pro-gay exploration of Christianity, homosexuality and the intersection points. Our local GLBT film festival screened it. Bishop Gene Robinson's ordination plays a central role in it.

But yes, the rest is pretty disgusting.

Edited at 2009-04-12 11:01 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - desayunoencama - Apr. 12th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dormouse_in_tea - Apr. 13th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC) - Expand
dewline
Apr. 12th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
Well, I don't think I've written or drawn anything that such efforts might be designed to make "disappear" just yet. But you're absolutely right to file this in a "What the FRAK‽‽‽" folder.

Edited at 2009-04-12 11:09 pm (UTC)
morpheus0013
Apr. 12th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
I'm reserving permanet judgment until tomorrow. Hopefully a higher-up in Amazon's heirarchy will present an explanation as to how this occurred--perhaps a user-based system gone awry, which is more of a lapse in judgment than a malicious act. If there's no reasonable explanation by tomorrow evening, though...=(
tammy212
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
-perhaps a user-based system gone awry

I've heard a rumor that they are now citing a computer glitch, but I find it very hard to swallow. It's a very specific glitch.
"Yeh, GLITCH! That's the Ticket!" - timeliebe - Apr. 13th, 2009 05:46 am (UTC) - Expand
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( 80 comments — Leave a comment )

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