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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.



Apr. 13th, 2009 12:03 am (UTC)
My guess is that they will redact the changes shortly. Whoever made this decision clearly wasn't thinking about the shitstorm it would cause, or couldn't fathom that targeting vocal minority groups would actually impact their sales.

Of course, if we believe their stated reasons for the implementation of the change it's still pretty poorly thought out. I mean, I can (sort of) understand wanting to keep adult and non-adult bestseller results separate, but to do it in this fashion was just asking to be smacked down. Sure, another method would have taken more company resources (deciding guidelines for what qualifies as "adult", figuring out a method that achieves separation without potentially hurting the sales of the adult material, etc etc) but in the end it would have avoided branding Amazon as sex-negative and anti-queer.
Apr. 13th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
I wrote to their customer service, the letter can be found on my blog.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
My guess is that they will redact the changes shortly. Whoever made this decision clearly wasn't thinking about the shitstorm it would cause,

I agree. And why do I get the feeling that they believed it wouldn't cause so large a shitstorm so soon? The timing is classic--one of the most out-of-town weekends this year--and they obviously didn't reckon with the internet, which just reeks of fail.

I can't wait to see what kind of offensive tap dance they will run to excuse this.
Apr. 13th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
They're apparently claiming it's a "glitch". *massive eyeroll*

Seriously, why don't companies get that making up stupid and unbelievable lies to make you look non-culpable for a massive screwup makes you look a whole lot worse than simply admitting you screwed up and apologizing for it?

I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that I am more likely to forgive a company when they aren't afraid to own up to their mistakes (no matter how hideous) and apologize for them.

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