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Amazon Censors Its Rankings & Search Results to Protect Us Against...

UPDATE No. 2:   Amazon executive customer service email is:  [email protected] and the customer service phone number is  1-800-201-7575. You can use Robin’s template:

Dear Amazon,

It has come to my attention that you are de-ranking books, supposedly on the basis of "adult content." Apparently, according to the Amazon Dictionary, this is defined as books that have anything at all to do with GLBT characters, authors, issues, or references, with some general erotically-oriented works being roped in, as well. In the meantime, however, books on the illegal, inhumane, and horrifyingly violent sport of dog fighting remain ranked and appear on a first page search under "dog fighting":  http://bit.ly/18l70B. Further, a search under "playboy" yields as the first return "Playboy: Wet and Wild Complete Collection," followed by "Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds," and so on. At what point did "adult content" exclude nude women and dogs killing other dogs for sport?

This is nothing short of discrimination; this is nothing short of censorship. This is nothing a business that claims commercial integrity at even the most basic level would do. Consequently, as a longtime Amazon customer, I look forward to an immediate reversal of this ridiculous and unconscionable policy. Otherwise, I will purchase elsewhere and encourage everyone else I know to do the same.

UPDATE: Apparently romance authors are seeing their rankings removed as well. (If you comment, I’ll add you to the list)

  • Jaci Burton’s books 2 and 3 in her Wild Rider series have been deranked. If you type her name in, her most recent release will not show up.
  • Larissa Ione & Stephanie Tyler’s Sydney Croft series cannot be found from a front page search. (You can find books about dog fighting, though, from a front page search.   So does a search on “sex toys”).
  • Maya Banks’ Heat books do not appear in a front page search.   All Banks’ Berkley Heat titles have been deranked except June 09 release.
  • Alex Beecroft’s False Colors has no ranking.

Oh, Amazon, you make it so easy to despise you! Amazon has excluded GLBT books from appearing in “some searches and bestseller lists” based on the premise that books about gays falling in love and possibly having sex is “adult material.” Barnes & Noble had committed to shelving Running Presses new m/m romance fiction line in the romance section but is now moving these dangerous to our children books to the GLBT section, obviously because books with women having sex with barbed beasts is so much safer and morally circumspect.

This is the response to one author, Mark Probst:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D

Member Services
Amazon.com Advantage

I’m no constitutional scholar and discrimination suits are very difficult but the exclusion of GLBT books from search engines and rankings on Amazon seems to be some kind of violation of something. Given the recent ruling of the Iowa Supreme court that the gay and lesbian community have the same fundamental right to marriage, it seems like GLBT books should be afforded the same rights in bookstores as those books depicting romances between straight men and women. Heck, even threesome books such as Lora Leigh’s Bound series is shelved in straight romance. COME ON, AMAZON!

Edited to add: I just remembered that eHarmony.com was sued because it failed to offer gay man dating services. The case was settled out of court and eHarmony agreed to set up another website offering gay and lesbian dating services.

Thanks to Erastes for the link.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

168 Comments

  1. Lori
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:17:09

    I received one of those emails from Amazon that said because you bought this (Samurai Jack, a children’s cartoon for my 7 year old) you might be interested in this (Spanking Big Bottoms, XXX-rated fetish movies).

    Somehow I think Amazon’s morality police are smoking crack in the bathroom.

  2. Maya Banks
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:36:09

    All of my Berkley HEAT titles have had their rankings removed. If you did a search for Maya Banks in the Amazon search feature, those HEAT titles used to pop up first, usually by the most recent release (most recently Be With Me was always first) Now, however, those don’t even appear on the first page of a name search. They only come up when you go to one of the other books and then click on my name.

  3. AQ
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:49:41

    Wow. Just wow.

    What criteria are they using to determine which books are ‘adult’ material?

    Wouldn’t Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake & Merry Gentry series qualify?

    How about George R. R. Martin’s Ice & Fire series?

    And why stop at sex? Why not also police for violence and profanity? What about smoking? Or…

    The scary thing is that it didn’t start happening sooner.

    Does this mean we need someone to write an Author Guild type op-ed piece in the NY Times to reverse Amazon’s decision?

  4. MissInterpreted
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:56:44

    Hmmm, wonder how long it will take the GLBT to file actual legal charges?

  5. GrowlyCub
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:57:01

    I knew there was a reason I stopped buying Amazon a while ago besides their monopolistic bullcrap… now I know what my intuition’s been shouting all along.

    More shades of “A Handmaid’s Tale”… although at this point ‘shades’ is *way* understating it. :(

  6. Jinni
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:57:58

    @Maya. I’m very saddened about this. I recently purchased some of your backlist based entirely on Amazon results. If the books didn’t pop up in the results I don’t know how much searching I’d do to find them. Amazon is usually my second search after the public library (but due to the cost of listing them in the system, my library – Los Angeles Public Library – like others doesn’t list many romances/erotica).

    I think Amazon should have some safe search or opt out feature. I’m an adult with no kids and I would like to see everything that’s available before making a purchase.

  7. Nadia Lee
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:58:18

    @Maya Banks: How weird! You’re absolutely right too. It doesn’t show your latest releases first.

    I wonder if Amazon has any idea what this can do to their ability to sell books and make profit. Romance outsells all other genres (I’m talking PBs / fiction since I have no idea how it fares against NF)

  8. Fae Sutherland
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:00:23

    Both my print titles have lost sales rankings and also wiped from the main page search. if you go to the Books section specifically, a search still brings them up, but using the “All Departments” option nothing comes up either my name or book titles.

    I’m not sure what that’s about, and it’s not just glbt, not just sex. Gay non fiction has been stripped as well, YA titles with no sex have been stripped. It appears to be just whatever the person doing it decides they don’t like gets stripped of rankings and listings. Mostly GLBT and erotic books, though.

  9. (Jān)
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:02:24

    Some of the yaoi manga has been apparently de-ranked too, and they seem to be doing it not on the basis of content, but more by publisher. Anything listed as being published by Media Blasters or BeBeautiful for instance that I’ve checked has no ranking regardless of content (Kizuna??? Yebisu Celebrities? Honestly those are ridiculous titles to remove from a search). When you do a general search the titles I tried don’t come up anymore. Yet harder core books from other publishers are still ranked. I don’t get it.

    This in effect gives preferential treatment to other lines of books. It makes me wonder about money changing hands for product placement a la grocery stores and certain brands/manufacturers.

  10. AQ
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:02:45

    Hey, here’s one that was just spotlighted on The Daily Show:

    Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America
    by Dr. Nathaniel Frank

    No ranking so Amazon has also moved onto to non-fiction as well.

  11. Fae Sutherland
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:03:51

    And isn’t it interesting that, now that they’ve de-ranked everything, the targeted genre’s bestseller lists are now solely *Amazon* Kindle editions. Hmmm.

  12. Courtney Milan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:05:01

    I had a handful of books on Kindle pre-order, which I’ve now canceled. If this doesn’t change, and soon, I’ll have to look into getting a Sony, and selling my Kindle on eBay.

    Total Amazon Fail.

  13. Courtney Milan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:07:47

    Also, elsewhere on the web someone is coming up with a list of books that are getting deranked: http://community.livejournal.com/meta_writer/11992.html

    The list apparently includes books that don’t even have onscreen sex, just gay people loving.

  14. Tina
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:07:54

    I wasn’t aware Barnes and Noble moved the books anywhere. I took a snapshot of ‘Transgressions’ for the author because it was on the ‘New Paperbacks’ display along with many other romance titles.

    When did they announce they were doing this?

  15. Zoe Archer
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:11:12

    Does anyone have any ideas how we can take action against this?

  16. ReacherFan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:35:37

    That is outrageous and insulting to customers. Amazon should be ashamed of themselves. If I search for ‘Maya Banks’ or ‘Jaci Burton’ or any other erotic author romance, I DO NOT expect titles to be suppressed based on content. I look at ‘Lora Leigh’ and they list all her menage books – even The Men of August series (DNF) is there. But m/m books are unworthy? How so? Menage is more socially acceptable than gay? I know gays but I can’t honestly think of a menage group that I know. How could menage be OK and gay not?

    They do list Nicole Austin’s Passionate Realities and it has a m/m encounter. If you click on that book under Nicole Austin, it does list one of the Brothers in Arms books, but you must click there to find more of those titles.

    This is just too bizarre for words. I don’t read gay romance, but I DO NOT LIKE SOMEONE DECIDING WHAT I CAN AND CAN’T SEE BY AN AUTHOR! Who the hell are they to limit my access like that?

  17. Lori
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:37:40

    Is there something we can do?

  18. GrowlyCub
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:39:31

    Zoe and Lori

    I used their contact us button via my account to tell them how disgusting I found this. Maybe if we get loud enough they’ll reconsider…

  19. Robin
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:41:53

    Feel free to use any part of this:

    Dear Amazon,

    It has come to my attention that you are de-ranking books, supposedly on the basis of “adult content.” Apparently, according to the Amazon Dictionary, this is defined as books that have anything at all to do with GLBT characters, authors, issues, or references, with some general erotic works being roped in, as well. In the meantime, however, books on the illegal, inhumane, and horrifyingly violent sport of dog fighting remain ranked and appear on a first page search under “dog fighting”: http://bit.ly/18l70B. Further, a search under “playboy” yields as the first return “Playboy: Wet and Wild Complete Collection,” followed by “Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds,” and so on. At what point did “adult content” exclude nude women and dogs killing other dogs for sport?

    This is nothing short of discrimination; this is nothing short of censorship. This is nothing a business that claims commercial integrity at even the most basic level would do. Consequently, as a longtime Amazon customer, I look forward to an immediate reversal of this ridiculous and totally unconscionable policy. Otherwise, I will purchase elsewhere and encourage everyone else I know to do the same.

  20. Darlynne
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:43:13

    After reading Dr. Sarah’s review of Alex Beecroft’s False Colors, I immediately went to amazon, but couldn’t find it. Now I know why. Next stop: the contact us button.

  21. ReacherFan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:43:18

    Now that I think of it, the Passport to Peril mysteries by Maddy Hunter have a transgender character in them, Jackie Thum – she was Emily’s husband Jack at one time. Will I now have trouble finding these books too?

  22. Nonny
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:52:39

    Zoe & Lori:

    Jane tweeted Amazon’s contact information: “RT @jane_l: Amazon exec customer service email: [email protected] and the customer service phone number is 1-800-201-7575. #amazonfail”

    Write/call and protest. I’ve already done so. If enough people protest, maybe they’ll rethink this asinine policy.

  23. Leah
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:55:20

    GLBT and erotica don’t do it for me, and I’m pretty conservative abt what I want my very young children to encounter on TV, online, etc. But I don’t agree with this. I think that I am better able to control my children’s access to various materials–and when they get older, to explain what they do encounter–than Amazon or B&N are. There are plenty of romances, mysteries, scifi and other books on our shelves right now that I don’t think are appropriate for them either. The thing is, where do you draw the line? I know plenty of people who have problems with the paranormal, or Harry Potter, or public school, various Protestant religious doctrines, whether or not women should wear head coverings….where does it end? If you are religiously conservative as I am (ducks and covers), you have to realize that the same free society which gives you the freedom to worship and proselytize and write about Biblical matters is the same free society that allows others to express themselves (I think we all draw the line at child exploitation). But, say, if I think your desire to read Amish romance is wrong, all I should do is try to persuade you of the fact, not control your access to it. Just a thought.

  24. Robin
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:55:37

    As someone who has worked in spin for a long time, I highly suggest writing emails, since they can be compiled and forwarded to someone in charge, whereas if you call, you will likely reach a low-level customer service agent who knows nothing and can do nothing. Unless Amazon records all of its customer service calls, you also have no guarantee of your call being transcribed properly.

  25. Melissa Blue
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:56:22

    I have no shame admitting I am a conspiracy theorist. So I’m wondering if this has anything to do with the fact erotic and romance novels are still making money hand over fist in this economy?

    Told ya, I was a CT.

    Anyway, this is insane, because it’s discriminating against a specific market of books. Hmm, this is getting my legal mojo something to search for. *i.e. other cases.* Thanks for giving me an excuse to waste time on Lexis Nexus. But it’s for a good cause.

  26. roslynholcomb
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 11:56:23

    They’ve stripped Try a Little Tenderness from the rankings. I noticed it a couple of days ago, but thought it was some type of bug. Rock Star is still ranked. You best believe I’m firing up the phone and the email.

  27. Larissa
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:01:48

    This is so frustrating! Entire imprints and publishers have been removed from the front page search engine.

    Type in Red Sage: nothing
    Type in Kensington Aphrodisia: nothing
    Type in certain ROMANCE authors, like Eden Bradley and Lillian Feisty…nothing.

    You have to go to the Books page to find them.

  28. What Manner of Fucknuttery is This???? « the one who writes
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:08:10

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  29. AzureLunatic
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:08:19

    This is infuriating.

    When did it start, and how fast did it happen?

    If I had to guess, just from the patterns being reported (everything LGBT, certain publishers), and the response that Mark Probst got, that they’re doing this with some semi-automatic tool (fire up tool, enter keywords that are likely to be associated with books that contain THE SMUT OH NO, strip rankings from those books (either one by one clicky clicky clicky, or from the whole list)), and are not actually having someone who is familiar with the contents of the books make a judgment call.

    It also smacks of quick-and-dirty programming. Having hung out with software developers for years on end, I can sympathize to some degree about problems that sound like they should be simple but turn out to actually be a nightmare to implement. That does not in any way excuse this, though.

    Also — WHAT searches? we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks

    That implies that there are some searches that include them, and some that don’t. I want to have them explain to me which searches these can be found in, and which searches they can not be found in, and why.

  30. Lbea
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:09:39

    Kindle rankings are still up. It’s like…they don’t actually want to sell books. Hm. Perhaps B&N is the way to go now?

  31. roslynholcomb
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:15:01

    I noticed it on Try a Little Tenderness at least two maybe three days ago. But since I check my rank obsessively I’ve noticed glitches before, so I thought this was just another one of those. I had no idea that somebody at Amazon has apparently lost their fucking mind. I’ve been a loyal customer since forever, but I will not buy another book from them. Even if they’d only stripped the GLBT I would feel the same way.

  32. Theresa Stevens
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:20:24

    All of the Secrets anthologies have lost their rankings. I’ve had mixed results with front page searches this morning. Searching on Cynthia Eden turned up the Secrets anthos, but searching on Larissa Ione did not.

    Theresa

  33. Karen Templeton
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:35:37

    And yet this

    http://www.amazon.com/Obsession-Erotic-Tale-Gloria-Vanderbilt/dp/0061734896/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239561243&sr=1-2

    is still up, and ranked.

    Blatant — but totally inconsistent — discrimination.

  34. JenD
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:37:18

    This is outrageous. On a positive note, my decision between a Sony 505 and the Kindle just got a whole lot easier.

  35. Robin
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:37:58

    @Karen Templeton: That’s why I agree with the commenter who suggested they were using an automated filter of some sort. Which tends to be Amazon’s MO on things generally.

  36. Stella Price
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:42:48

    Hey All,

    This is deplorable. All my titles with two of my publishers are not ranked *oddly except one with Kindle IS* but one of my other publishers is still listed, and my books with them are Erotic Romance.

    I asked my publisher why, and she said the publisher is listed as General Fiction with Amazon through the printer. I don’t know if this is the reason why its not been flagged yet, or if it ever will be, but it might be an explanation as to why not all the ER titles have been stripped yet.

    I don’t have one clue as to why the NY titles are being stripped, but the explanation for the small press might be viable. This sucks totally, and It is yet another reason why I personally don’t buy from amazon.

    Stella

  37. AzureLunatic
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:43:32

  38. Sarah Rees Brennan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:43:52

    I am stricken with horror and disbelief.

    Amazon.co.uk seem to be doing it too – bookdepository.co.uk for me from now on. (Also, free shipping worldwide!)

  39. Alisha Rai
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:45:25

    This pisses me off to no degree, and it makes no economic sense. They get money when I buy books from them, but how can I buy books I can’t find? Are their moral values more of a concern than their financial good sense? Because I just can’t see what idiot was sitting in the board room, saying yes, this idea is going to be soooo good for our bottom line.

  40. Jackie Barbosa
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:50:48

    The worst part of this, to my mind, is that although my book is still searchable under “Books,” the fact that users who search “All Departments” are told there are no matching products for my name pretty much suggests that limiting the search to another category is pointless. I mean, if there are no matches in all products, how can there be matches in a subset of products.

    Outrageous hardly begins to cover this debacle.

  41. ReacherFan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:56:42

    Holy crap! I think they just de-ranked Lora Leigh’s Bound Hearts series. They’re bestsellers!

  42. ReacherFan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 12:59:38

    They show up when you search in Books but not All Amazon. This is getting stranger and stranger.

  43. Diana Castilleja
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:02:17

    What I wrote to Amazon:

    I am not questioning whether as a retailer Amazon has the right to showcase their wares as a business or not. I find this attempt at hypocritical censhorhip offensive. You (management) have removed our freedom of choice, removed our freedom of knowledge by “hiding these titles under the rug”.

    The inequality of your choices as stated (Playboy VS The Filly) proves your motives are not to actually protect the masses, but to simply encourage the shopping dollar to be in your favor.

    I will not link or buy from amazon until this is reversed. You might also want to apologize to thousands your actions have insulted.

    I also signed the petition.

  44. AQ
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:04:49

    I suspect the reason that not all ER titles or even gay titles have been removed is because Amazon categorizes each individual ISBN not the title. I’ve never found any real consistency in how any organization be they Amazon, publishers, libraries do their book categorization so I’m not surprised. It’s a very difficult task and my guess is that Amazon gets that information fed to them from someone rather than creating it themselves. Except for the Kindle. They probably manually input the Kindle categories.

    Here’s an example the paperback version of John Barrowman’s autobiography Anything Goes has a ranking & categories. The Hardcover version has been stripped of both ranking & categories.

    Same gay male actor autobiography.

  45. Karen Scott
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:06:16

    Well I wrote to them, so I did my bit. I suggest anybody who gives a crap does the same.

  46. Hilcia
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:08:52

    Now HERE’s a REAL reason for Author’s Guild to go after amazon. Outrageous!

  47. Amazon ‘bans’ pisspoor gay romantic fiction | rentist.co.uk
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:10:29

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  48. ReacherFan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:11:09

    I don’t know if any of you remember That Was The Week That Was and a man by the name of Tom Lehrer, a prof at MIT who wrote such classic songs as Vatican Rag.

    Tom Lehrer’s SMUT . This wonderful – and a march!

  49. Bev Stephans
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:15:20

    This just boggles my mind. I hardly ever use Amazon and now that will probably spiral down to zero. I have also started using Book Depository.UK. If enough people use other booksellers, maybe Amazon will wake up.

    I have definitely decided against the Kindle. I guess Amazon figures they are making so much money, they don’t need to accede to their customer’s wishes. Good luck to them!

  50. DS
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:19:00

    Sent my serious pissed off email. My guess would be that this is another Amazon cockup– remember the programming error that revealed everyone’s real name? At least that one had its funny side due to the number of authors who had written five star reviews of their own books. This is a mess and I sincerely hope they get their feet held to the fire for it.

  51. lilitu93
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:24:29

    I’ve signed the petition but haven’t written them yet, which I’ll do later today.

    I did tweet @stephenfry to see if he’d heard about it, since he covers lots of tech issues. I didn’t find any of his books that were affected yet, but I haven’t searched that closely. But he’s the kind of person who’d give it a lot of publicity, I’d think.

  52. Has
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:33:14

    @ Sarah Rees Brenna
    I also found that with Amazon UK that release dates are off by a few months. For instance with Lora Leigh’s latest Breed book Coyote’s Mate is not out according to Amazon UK until later this week yet it was published in February. There is no UK publisher so why has Amazon done this and this isn’t the only book/author that Amazon UK has done this. I also hear that availability of books from popular romance/urban fantasy authors is also affected and I hear that this isnt only Amazon UK but in France and Germany as well.
    I am now getting a lot of my books from the Book Depository as well – at least their service has been exemplary and I know I will get the books around or near the published date. And I agree Amazon is going to realise too late that they have dropped the ball.

  53. Patti O'Shea
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:33:51

    I lost ranking on “In Twilight’s Shadow,” a paranormal romance and probably the least hot of all my books with only one love scene at nearly the end of the book. All my other books remain ranked, but ITS is the only one labeled as “Horror-Erotic.”

    I also found a Harlequin Blaze from February unranked because it was listed as an Erotic Anthology, but other Blaze titles without the “erotic” tag remained ranked.

    It’s been an interesting day on Twitter.

    Patti

  54. Nifty
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:40:54

    I’m sorry…I’m ignorant on this matter. What do you guys mean by “deranked” and “stripped of a book’s ranking”? Could someone explain that to me? I feel like I’m missing a piece of the context here. Thanks.

  55. Ann
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:44:04

    I use Amazon for contest fulfillment, or I used to. I spend a LOT of money with them.

    if they don´t fix this immediately, they will lose my patronage forever & ever, amen. Off to write my letter.

  56. Gemma
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:44:41

    I just wrote to the UK customer services.

    Here’s another example that works for both .com and .co.uk….. try searching for I Do anthology. You know, the Anthology In Support of Marriage Equality (with a rainbow-coloured heart on the front cover). Sigh.

    A really crystal clear example on the .co.uk site (which isn’t exactly replicated on .com) is that of the author BA Tortuga. The site-wide .co.uk search shows three books (one straight erotic title, and two gay erotic titles which are marked as “adult” in the subject headings, not “GAY”). All of BA’s other books have been de-ranked and are only visible through a Book search…. and yes, each of these books has been labelled as Gay in the subject headings. What a shocking coincidence.

    –lilitu93. Re Stephen Fry – what a good idea!

  57. Gemma
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:48:38

    P.S. What petition are people signing. Point me to it!

  58. Dear Amazon.com, | Stephanie Tyler's Weblog
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:51:47

    […] Dear Author   […]

  59. Ann
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:52:40

    Google Bomb ho!

    Amazon Rank

  60. Robin
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:56:11

    @Nifty: Books are ranked according to their sales, and the higher the rank, the more prominently they show up in search results on Amazon. Books that have been de-ranked will not show up, sometimes not on the first page of search results, sometimes not at all. So it’s as if Amazon has pulled the books off the shelves, even though technically they’re still for sale.

  61. Karen Scott
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:58:48

    I am now getting a lot of my books from the Book Depository as well – at least their service has been exemplary and I know I will get the books around or near the published date.

    Ya see, I get most of my books from The Book Depository via Amazon. I think I’m going to have to start going direct to them. Sigh. What a mess.

  62. Robin
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 13:59:01

    @Gemma: Here’s the petition page.

    Also, the Smart Bitches are detonating a Google Bomb, to which you can link from here.

  63. Angelia Sparrow
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:07:11

    @nifty,

    If you look at the Product details for my novel, it shows up like this:
    Product Details
    Paperback: 170 pages
    Publisher: CreateSpace (January 23, 2009)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1441459847
    ISBN-13: 978-1441459848
    Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
    Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
    Average Customer Review: No customer reviews yet. Be the first.
    Amazon.com Sales Rank: #1,655,730 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

    If you look at them for an anthology I’m in, they show up like this:
    Paperback: 330 pages
    Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishers (November 6, 2008)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1419958348
    ISBN-13: 978-1419958342
    Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
    Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
    Average Customer Review: No customer reviews yet. Be the first.

    See how the last line is missing. That’s the sales ranking.
    CreateSpace books seem to be keeping their rankings…

  64. Stephanie
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:07:45

    This is the non- answer Amazon gave me via email after I expressed my concerns to customer service – no mention of rankings being pulled. I’ll be interested to see if anyone receives anything different:

    Thank you for writing to Amazon.com with your concern.

    When you use our keyword search engine to look for items, our system looks for any items whose title, author/artist, ISBN, or subject includes the keywords you specify. For books, we will also display titles that include those keywords in their text.

    The information that appears in the item name, author/artist, and subject fields of the items on our website is determined by the publisher or manufacturer. Therefore, you may occasionally find that a search produces results you were not expecting or were not interested in, as happened in the case you described.

    You can also refine your search results by clicking the “Search” or “Advanced Search” link in the navigation bar at the top of most product categories’ home pages. Our advanced searches allow you to specify whether your search terms apply to the item name, artist, or manufacturer, as well as allowing you to specify other parameters such as language, age range, binding or format, etc., depending on the product type. To help narrow your search results, you might try putting the words between quotes.

    I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We designed our search engine to perform broad searches in this manner because we wanted to make sure you wouldn’t miss finding items that you might want.

    We appreciate the time you took to send us your feedback and hope to see you again soon at Amazon.com.

    Best regards,

    Vasanth.S
    Amazon.com
    We’re Building Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company
    http://www.amazon.com

  65. Eden Bradley
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:09:16

    All of my Bantam/Delta titles have been removed from rankings and normal search capabilities, as has my Harlequin Spice anthology. I can find my Berkley Heat antho only on the UK site by searching under my name, but not on the US or German site. However, the German translation of one of my books does come up under search, and the cover is much more explicit than my US releases.

  66. Amazon Alert - Re-Ranking some erotic romance « Tour’s Books Blog
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:12:54

    […] Amazon Alert – Re-Ranking some erotic romance Filed under: Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 4:12 pm The ladies at Dear Author have one again brought to romance reader’s attention a serious issue with Amazon – the system wide de-ranking of erotic romance books with certain ‘adult content’.  Their thread explains it all.  Just click here […]

  67. Emma Petersen
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:13:37

    I wrote them. I advised them like many I don’t just buy books on Amazon.com. I’m a frequent shopper for household and miscellaneous products but as of today I won’t be buying anything until this deplorable situation is rectified.

  68. Sela Carsen
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:15:27

    Has anyone notified mainstream and gay press about this? I can imagine that newspapers and magazines that market to the GLBT community might be a way to get this to the people who don’t Twitter and aren’t necessarily invested in m/m romance. Those people have no idea this is happening.

    In addition, since this is also targeting non-fiction, I’d see about notifying the academic community that focuses on gay studies. What organization is the political voice of the GLBT community?

    We’re a scattered bunch of writers with no focused voice. You want Amazon to hurt, get politicians and academics to knock on CNN’s door with this.

  69. Gwen Masters
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:16:17

    I just discovered the issue this morning through twitter. At first it seemed to be about GLBT books, but my novel is erotic romance with a healthy dash of BDSM…and it’s not there, either.

    A general search for my name returns only a much older book, long out of print, and far down in the listings. The description doesn’t necessarily deem it “erotic” (though it is), so that might be why it’s still there at all.

    My latest release by Black Lace does not show up. Even when I do a general search for the specific title (“One Breath at a Time”), it doesn’t appear at all.

    I’ve done searches on all the fellow Black Lace authors I can think of off the top of my head, and not a single one of them shows up in the general search. Neither do the Black Lace anthologies or numerous Cleis collections.

    What a ridiculous mess.

  70. Karen
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:19:02

    I just sent an email to Amazon. One thing I pointed out in my email is that once you start removing one kind of book from your search results, what’s to stop you from removing other kinds of books? As a reader, I trust that when I look up an author or subject at Amazon that I’ll get an accurate result – today it’s erotic books or LGBT books, but tomorrow it might be political books or books that criticize Amazon or any other books that Amazon doesn’t like. I don’t buy very many erotica books or LGBT books, but I still want Amazon’s search results to be accurate. Once they start de-listing books, where does it end?

    Hopefully that will remind Amazon that it isn’t just about the readers who buy these particular books, it’s about all Amazon customers.

  71. MB (Leah)
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:20:31

    Hmm.. so far, I checked a few Samhain authors and their books are still up and ranked.

    But my other fave- Black Lace authors have been de-ranked. So part of it is probably an across the board deranking of certain publishers.

    Maybe part of this is some kind of retaliation against certain publishers not playing ball with Amazon? Or another way to mess with smaller presses?

    And I checked some authors who I know write non- erotic books with Lesbian characters and they’ve been de-ranked as well. Although the KINDLE edition shows up in the “All depts.” section and if you open that page there under where the ranking should be is the link for the paper version.

    At any rate, I’m fed up with Amazon. I have a whole bunch of books that I have on my wish list that are coming out later on in the year. I think I’m going to have go with B&N for those books.

  72. Jamie Craig
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:25:06

    Our Amber Quill titles still have their sales rank, but A Hidden Beauty (with Samhain) has been stripped. I did a title search for it, and the only thing that came up was the Kindle edition, not the paperback.

    –Pepper

  73. Lynne Connolly
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:29:35

    My Ellora’s Cave book, Sunfire has gone.
    You can search for, and find, my Samhain historical romances, but Sunfire doesn’t come up on a search.
    The only way you can find it is go to one of my historical romance books, hit the author link and it’s listed there.

  74. Lolita Lopez
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:30:01

    Wow. Just wow. Amazon has really stepped in it this time. I’ve sent off my strongly worded emails to Jeff and the amazon customer service address. Hopefully, they’ll have some sort of an impact.

  75. LizJ
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:31:22

    I have always suspected something fishy in Amazon’s rankings, but I’m not sure it’s the same conspiracy people are commenting on here…perhaps a different one, though.

    Understand that I’m not involved in the publishing industry, so this is just based on my observation as a consumer over several years.

    I concluded long ago that some big publishers get favorable placement, perhaps falling under the category of promotion and/or advertising spending. Sort of the electronic version of the display a big bestseller will get in the front of a bricks-and-mortar store.

    In addition there are the outright errors that have been occurring for years on Amazon, which I’ve most often observed in the YA section (with two teenage children, I’ve been browsing in that section for years). Most of those examples have been content that would never be shelved in a YA section. Aren’t some of these possibly attributed to tagging errors?

    It seems to me that all sorts of titles get the low-key treatment. There have been a number of mainstream romance or SF&F books that I have seen noted for release on web sites, and then have had a difficult time finding and it seems to be happening more often in the last year.

  76. Morte
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:34:12

    And yet I just received the following email:

    Amazon.com recommends “Skin Trade (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 17)” and more

    And it also included a listing of several very popular authors who have kink or GLBT content in their books.

    I’m a bit peeved,to say the least. I think I need to write a letter.

  77. Mary Winter
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:40:14

    My Samhain print book (M/M) and my EC print books (M/M and M/F) have all lost their sales rankings.

    My Pink Petal Books anthology, “Stray Cat Strut” which is erotic feline shifters still has its ranking. However, the metadata says NOTHING about erotic or adult.

    A lovely pagan YA novel published by Jupiter Gardens Press, which now that I remember it, does contain one very sweet lesbian scene between friends, has ranking still. However, again, that one sweet scene isn’t mentioned in the metadata or the blurb. And it is most definately a YA book.

    Interesting stuff…

  78. Ninjakitten
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:44:36

    Stephen Fry’s autobiography Moab Is My Washpot has lost its paperback rank but not its hardback rank.

    Main difference I can spot, aside from thickness of cover? One’s list of categories includes “Gay & Lesbian > Biographies & Memoirs > Gay” and “Gay & Lesbian > Literature & Fiction > Fiction > Gay”, and one does not. Three guesses which is which, and you don’t need the first two.

  79. » Banning the luuuuurv that shall not be named
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 14:53:56

    […] can keep up with the brou-ha-ha at Dear Author, Karen Knows Best and Smart Bitches, which has instituted a GoogleBomb. No, I have no idea what […]

  80. Mary Winter » #amazonfail – AGAIN & Pub Shenanigans AGAIN
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 15:01:37

  81. Larissa Ione - Blog
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 15:26:03

    […] Amazon Censors, by Dear Author […]

  82. Hydecat
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 15:28:58

    What the F$#$%$#^$%&$#!!!

    Jane, thanks for the heads up.

    Ninjakitten and Lynne Connolly — thanks for the helpful information.

    My long, irate (expletive-free) email has been sent to Amazon customer service, complete with some screen shots.

  83. Amazon Wants YOU to Know That Being Gay is WRONG « ¿Why Is This Popular?
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 15:38:36

    […] Ah, badly done, inconsistent censorship. I’m so glad I can still find the Gay Kama Sutra but not a book about threesomes. […]

  84. Angelia Sparrow
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 15:38:53

    CreateSpace books, even those in the Gay Category or labeled “erotica” don’t seem to be vanishing…

    And you can find most of the books if you go to Books or Kindle. They just are hidden from the Big Front Page Search Engine. Which is, of course, where everyone goes first and last.

  85. Jo Bourne
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 15:44:25

    Damn.

    Do you know how long it’s going to take me to change all the links on my website from Amazon to Barnes&Noble . . . ?

    And I havta find some other book display widgit for the front page that isn’t Shelfari

  86. Amazon Fail «
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 15:50:11

    […] they’ll reverse within the week. But, don’t leave this to chance – there are petitions, form emails, and all kinds of online campaigns springing to life. […]

  87. anecdotes » Amazonfail
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 15:54:43

    […] Author offers a sample letter for emailing Amazon as well as a direct phone […]

  88. Kate Pearce
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:08:36

    All my Aphrodisia books, the ‘Simply…” series have no sales rankings, although my ‘Cheek’ books, which are also erotic romance still have theirs-not sure how long that will last.
    Mt Aphrodisia titles do have kindle ranks though, which makes no sense.

  89. Amazon rank = #amazonfail « Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:09:27

    […] Rankings From Gay, Lesbian Books? Mashable: Amazon Accused of Removing Gay Books from Rankings Dear Author: Amazon Censors Its Rankings & Search Results to Protect Us Against GLBT Books Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Mystery of the Amazon Sales RankOutskirts […]

  90. #AmazonFail « Onward, upward, thruward
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:15:28

    […] material.” At least some of those stripped of their sales ranking have been documented as not appearing in general searches via the Amazon search engine; one must click on the author name in order to find the book, i.e. one must know *exactly* what one […]

  91. Bombing Amazon Rank! | Literary Escapism
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:26:12

    […] some more information on this Amazon craziness.  Meta Writer has a list of affected writers and Dear Author has updates as […]

  92. Diana DeRicci » Blog Archive » More on Amazon
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:29:24

  93. Imajika
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:30:59

    I had no idea Amazon had this policy in place. My friends at Twitter informed about it this morning. I just sent email to Amazon customer service and I will not be buying anything else from Amazon until they change this ridiculous ‘policy’.

  94. Shelli Stevens
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:31:25

    Here’s the link to the petition

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/in-protest-at-amazons-new-adult-policy

    I have two spicy, but not erotic books out with Samhain. My numbers are still up at Amazon with those. I also have two Kensington Aphrodisia’s coming out in the future Take Me and Sexy Beast VII. Those are well ‘hidden’. I hunted for more than Easter eggs today, I hunted for my damn books. This is crazy.

  95. Lee Rowan
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:41:25

    Thanks for the fast work!

    Members of The Macaronis have been contacting as many LGBT presses etc as we can think of, but the more the merrier.

    Erastes’ Transgressions and Alex’s False colors are available at B&N–online and in many stores; had not heard about the switcheroo but at least they’re shelving them.

    When looking for an author’s backlist, do a google (or whatever) search for the author’s website. The books and links will be there if nowhere else!

  96. Gemma
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:42:47

    It has reached google news. A search for amazon now shows 6 stories about this in the last hour.

    e.g.

    Amazon under fire for perceived anti-gay policy – seattlepi.com
    Amazon De-Lists Books With GLBT Themes – firefox.org/news
    AmazonFail: A Twitter movement in action – blogs.news-journalonline.com
    Online censorship? Amazon strips ranking of Gay and Lesbian books – examiner.com

  97. Julia
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:43:10

    Reasons #587 to support independent and/or local book stores. Powells.com is a big reliable store with an excellent anti-censorship policy. You can also go to http://www.indiebound.org to search for local independent bookstores including ones with online ordering options.

    I’d also point out that going to Amazon.com has led to things like local LGBT bookstores which have also functioned as de facto LGBT social centers. For instance, the oldest gay bookstore in the country has closed.

    US LGBT bookstores with online ordering options include
    A Different Light, Outwords, Lamda Rising, Calamus Bookstore, etc. etc. etc.

    UK and Europe bookstore options with online ordering include: Word Power Books (UK), UK independent booksellers network, Biblio Europe. And also not independent, but not Amazon, Waterstones.

  98. Jia
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:47:31

    Here’s another one that Amazon is “protecting” us from: The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability.

    All righty then, Amazon!

  99. Jonquil
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 16:57:15

    If they were just automatically filtering for words like “homosexual”, then why is “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality ” still ranked (and in fact the first hit returned for “homosexuality”) and “GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens ” now invisible?

    It takes actual work to make software decisions this bad.

  100. K. Z. Snow
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 17:11:32

    They’re hearing from me. That’s for damned sure. No amount of public outrage is going to make a difference, though, until they see it reflected in their profit/loss columns. That’s the capitalist way.

  101. Maya Reynolds
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 17:20:09

    I think it happened Thursday night. I had checked the ranking for my new book, BAD BOY, Thursday night and everything was fine.

    On Friday morning when I couldn’t find it, I check for BAD GIRL. That book had been #33 in single women’s fiction. When I couldn’t find it, I figured Amazon was understaffed for the Paschal holiday.

    Today, I realized via Twitter what was going on.

  102. Marquesate
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 17:23:11

    I am gone and my book is/are unranked (feels invisible) but that was “expected”. However, I just checked for some historical research/scholarly work and that is gone, too! I have no words, or, I do, but I am spending them on blog posts and Twitter.

    Thanks for the template, I shall link.

  103. Janine
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 17:33:44

    This is outrageous, revolting and creepy.

  104. Amazon excluding LGBT material from searches! : Yaoi 911
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 17:34:30

    […] more on this, I recommend reading this excellent article at Dear Author and this smart business focused article from the net.effect blog of foreignpolicy.com on the […]

  105. Ellie
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 17:40:26

    “Dark of Night” by Suzanne Brockmann is now de-ranked. Although the Kindle version is still there, and “All Through the Night” and “Hot Target,” which actually had a gay romance in the books are still ranked.

  106. Outrageous! « shigekuni.
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 17:48:53

    […] And there’s more to this. See this account and many, many, many others. For this to happen now demonstrates what a crucial moment this is in the fight […]

  107. Janine
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 17:54:17

    I sent my email, FWIW. I do most of my book purchasing with B&N these days, but I’ve always relied on Amazon searches to find out more about books before buying them. I’m really glad now that I didn’t buy a kindle.

  108. Nora Bombay
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 18:01:04

  109. Francesca Hawley
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 18:10:20

    I sent my letter of outrage and complaint. My book shows on a search on the book page but not an all departments search. I’m not a happy camper.

    Also, I used to use the Amazon search engine to find books for my day job as a librarian. It was a quick and easy search tool that was useful even when someone didn’t know the complete title. I won’t do that any more and I intend to tell every librarian I know WHY. Librarians as a group tend to be against censorship. It’s a “thing” with us. You know, that intellectual freedom and library bill of rights stuff. I told Amazon and Bezos that I’ll be passing on the word to my library colleagues.

    BTW – want to include Jeff Bezos in your outrage? His email is [email protected]. Happy writing.

    Francesca

  110. angelakorrati.com · Here, have a heaping helping of #amazonfail
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 18:39:36

  111. I don’t get it « Angela Fiddler
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:08:43

    […] Angela Fiddler Writer of Smut « My favourite “The Simpsons” Quote: I don’t get it April 13, 2009 Argh. […]

  112. Miki
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:32:45

    Someone over at Mobileread.com just linked to this article and said Amazon’s claiming it was a “glitch”. Does anyone here believe that?

  113. Nonny
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:33:53

    Miki:

    I’ll believe it’s a glitch when I start shitting daisies. Glitches don’t send out e-mails.

  114. Jane
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:42:49

    If it was a glitch, I would need to know why Craig Seymour and Mark Probst were both told that their books having gay content were adult themed and therefore were intentionally excluded. Mark Probst is a YA author. Craig Seymour wrote a memoir about stripping as a gay man.

  115. Miki
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:45:33

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what commenters on the Publisher’s Weekly website (without the colorful “shitting daisies” image). ;-)

  116. Maire
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:52:02

    I am seething and yet not entirely surprised. What I want to know if “adult material” is the criteria why are they not deranking all novels with sex scenes? Will they do as done before and remove Lady Chatterly’s Lover? Shall a committee be formed to Inform the public what we are permitted to read and not read? Will corporations now determine what is morally acceptable i.e. sex between a man and a woman, or two women and a man, but not between two men or two women?

    Idiocy does seem alive and well. So sad that supposedly in this era of so called en-lightenment so many are still so willing to embrace double standards, bigotry and discrimination.

  117. Angela Benedetti » Blog Archive » Amazon Is Protecting YOU From Naughtiness!
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:55:30

    […] discussed all over so most of you have probably heard about it already in one form or another. Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books are two of the larger sites discussing the story. It’s worth […]

  118. Miki
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:59:39

    I assume that Fictionwise moved “erotica/erotic romance” to a separate “New Books” page for similar reasons – enough “someones” complained to make it worth the time for a company to redesign its page..

    And yet, contrast how Fictionwise handled it to Amazon. Fictionwise simply added a new link to the bottom of the New Books page to allow people to check out those books, too, if they desired. Amazon – poof! – books just disappeared from search. Would people have been so incensed if they’d simply offered a link to a “search w/adult content” page (or some other compromise)?

  119. #AmazonFail « WiredPen
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 20:19:02

    […] Amazon Censors Its Rankings & Search Results to Protect Us Against GLBT Books […]

  120. Jim Moores
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 20:30:02

    I just send off my email about an hour ago via the customer service web email function. If anyone else has a better contact email address / function, please let us know. I haven’t gotten an answer yet.

    The content of my email:

    It has been brought to my attention that hundreds of gay,lesbian, and trans books have simultaneously lost their sales rankings. Is there a campaign to suppress LGBT themed books? It seems many books simply about being transgender, or a college guide for LGBT students is being deemed “erotic”?

    You have taken the rankings off of many books in “erotica” categories. The question is why are you deeming so many NON-erotic LGBT based books as offensive? While you still have ratings available on such books as Playboy centerfolds which clearly is in a different category than many of the books that are being targeted.

    I am a current and frequent patron on Amazon, and I would like to continue that patronage. However, if Amazon is displaying prejudice against the LGBT themed materials, I will have to consider taking my patronage elsewhere.

    I am looking forward to your reply.

  121. she amazon ranked and decided anal sex was okay « Flesh & Spirit
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 20:34:19

    […] the developing story at  Smart Bitches, Meta Writer, Dear Author, and […]

  122. Amazon.com, GLBT Rights, and Censorship « Adventures in Gradland
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 20:39:31

  123. Jane
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 20:41:39

  124. Shay
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 21:09:59

    Stupid Amazon. E-mail sent with a suggestion that they add safe filter tabs on their site. This would enable people who might be offended by content to choose to edit selection.

  125. MichelleR
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 21:10:03

  126. Amazon.com Equals Censorship and Discrimination | What A Slacker!
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 21:21:54

    […] Amazon Censors Its Rankings & Search Results to Protect Us Against GLBT Books […]

  127. Don’t Need the Protection - Amazon’s Ill-Advised Censorship
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 21:28:55

    […] reading excerpts and making my own decisions based on whatever factors move me at the time. Sadly, I don't get that choice. Apparently, Amazon has been pulling books from ranking on its site based upon the GLBT […]

  128. Amazon? Not Hardly. « 2009: Another Year of the Books
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 21:41:28

    […] You can read what authors are doing about it over at Nikki’s and Heather’s and Craig’s and Dear Author. […]

  129. Amazon.com’s Heterosexist Ranking System « Michigan Youth Political Alliance
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 22:13:45

    […] of alterations which basically amount to excluding books about sexual minorities from some of the more prominent search results. Amazon explains: In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” […]

  130. Censorship never goes away « Reactions to Reading
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 22:46:05

    […] (and others) have investigated further and discovered that Amazon have a fairly fluid definition […]

  131. #AmazonFail Resources: what you can do
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 23:22:29

    […] Contact details for Amazon (fax, email, snail mail) and a template letter you can use here. […]

  132. Amazon Rank « READNOVEL.ME
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 00:19:57

    […] such as Jaci Burton, Maya Banks, Larissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler have reported that since being stripped of their sales rankings, their titles are no longer found in searches on Amazon.com. MetaWriter is also compiling a list of […]

  133. WildlyParenthetical
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 02:07:19

    Jacqueline Carey’s books are being de-ranked too. Some of them anyway. If you’re an amazon customer, you can help by marking de-ranked titles under ‘amazonfail’. More than 800 listed so far. If you’re keen, add tags to books already listed.

  134. blackcat.lover
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 04:16:05

    I would definitely rate The Book depository.co.uk as a very real alternative. I started using them as a seller via Amazon.co.uk but then decided to cut out the middle man, especially when they started getting titles in faster than Amazon.co.uk. I’d been noticing the delays built into Amazon.co.uk publication details, especially as I follow my favourite authors in yahoo groups, Livejournal etc. The Book Depository consistently delivers prompty and more importantly totally FREE, infact they offer free Worldwide delivery including to the United States. What’s more there is no minimum order amount like the $25 Barnes & Noble require. Also they emphasize their ‘All books available to All’ policy. Check out their ‘about us’ page for more info

    http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/aboutus#helpContent

  135. Unspoken » Amazon Fail
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 04:51:25

    […] about it, which is interesting, especially if you read through the comments. More posts about this here, here, here and here.   And of course there’s already a […]

  136. Lev Raphael
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 05:53:17

    It’s worse than it seems.

    It’s important to realize that they’re not just ghettoizing gay books, but also gay authors whether a book has much gay content or not.

    My new memoir is about my family’s encounters with Germany, my parents in the Holocaust, mine as an author with books translated into German.

    Here are amazon reader tags for “My Germany,” one of my books that’s been de-ranked:

    holocaust(7)
    lev raphael(7)
    memoir(7)
    germany(6)
    jewish(6)
    judaica(5)
    gay and lesbian(4)
    gay(1)

    The tags accurately reflect the book’s themes and subjects (though it’s also a travelogue and I don’t know if that’s an amazon reader tag or not).

    http://www.levraphael.com/mygermany.html

  137. Business & Finance Blogs » Blog Archive » Anatomy of the #AmazonFAIL customer revolt
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 05:57:11

    […] Complaint templates. Customers wanting to complain and who need some writing help can use this pre-crafted complaint letter. […]

  138. Lara Santiago
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 06:02:02

    I’m totally bummed about this. Some but not all of my books were stripped of ranking. Menagerie, yes (and it was in the top 100 bestsellers list)…The Forgetful Spy, no (no where near the top of any list).
    I sincerely hope this “is” a glitch and the rankings will be restored soon.
    L

  139. Walt
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 08:34:41

    Now this is funny – I looked at the _Wolf Tales_ entry on Amazon.com as part of reading what this discussion was about, and now when I go to Amazon.com my first page is filled with suggestions from them that I might enjoy human/human-animal hybrid erotic slash fiction. Seriously, there’s about a half-dozen of these bodice rippers being pushed on me. ;-)

    Walt

  140. Support Amazonfail « DragonKat
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 08:58:18

    […] Perhaps as a bid to ‘fix their glitch’ Amazon is now delisting romance writers and books about feminism, as well as books about disability and […]

  141. Support Amazonfail « Kat’s Passions
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 09:02:48

    […] Perhaps as a bid to ‘fix their glitch’ Amazon is now delisting romance writers and books about feminism, as well as books about disability and […]

  142. what consumes me, bud caddell » Anatomy of the #AmazonFAIL customer revolt
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 09:50:53

    […] Complaint templates. Customers wanting to complain and who need some writing help can use this pre-crafted complaint letter. […]

  143. “Adult” Is Code for “Gay”? « amy king’s alias
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 10:30:28

    […] Drop Amazon a line, despite the “glitch” excuse, and let them know you will not go quietly into that good night next time they silently censor!  Amazon executive customer service email is: [email protected] and the customer service phone number is… […]

  144. DeeCee
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 10:57:20

    @ Leah:

    …you have to realize that the same free society which gives you the freedom to worship and proselytize and write about Biblical matters is the same free society that allows others to express themselves (I think we all draw the line at child exploitation). But, say, if I think your desire to read Amish romance is wrong, all I should do is try to persuade you of the fact, not control your access to it. Just a thought.

    Absolutely what you said!

    Amazon made their fortune by offering just about anything someone could ever want in a quick easy manner. How dare they suddenly decide what I can and cannot search for! And what happens when this story disappears…will they suddenly limit religious books to those that are Christian or Catholic or Mormon or Jewish or Methodist…? Will they stop selling biographies for people that did something atrocious or true crime novels that have gore and violence in them?

    Its kind of scary tho…when you think about it. They’ve got a lot of power, and its worldwide. They’ve managed to limit choices because of content and publisher (especially when they took over BookSurge) and have been slowing changing things. And think about it….all they have to do is say, “Oops…it was a glitch.”

    I’ve quit ordering anything from Amazon. I’d rather depend on Barnes and Noble, Hastings, or the Book Depository.

  145. Lisa Marie Rice
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 11:37:41

    The deranking mania at Amazon (smoking crack in the bathroom, indeed) has now been extended to romance, any romance deemed ‘hot’, except with tons of exceptions, which makes no sense.

    All my novels (Lisa Marie Rice) have been deranked and it’s incredibly hard to find my books now.

    yet plenty of other erotic romance novels still have rankings. Will they eventually get the chop, too?

    there’s a campaign underway to reinstate the rankings, sign me up!!

    Lisa Marie Rice

  146. Bella Andre
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 12:16:10

    Thanks for the head’s up. I went to go look and saw that my last two trade ppks – GAME FOR ANYTHING and GAME FOR SEDUCTION – no longer come up on the main search page for “Bella Andre”. If you do manage to find the book, the rankings are gone.
    ~ Bella

  147. Ruth
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 12:27:19

    I just searched All Departments for And Tango Makes Three, and there it is.

    Bizarre.

  148. jane
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 14:14:49

    Some feminist books, such as Full Frontal Feminism by Feministing’s Jessica Valenti, also don’t show up on a front page search. Outrageous.

  149. Mareike
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 14:25:49

    Dear all,

    I haven’t read the whole of this discussion, and I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this earlier. But if you search Amazon.com from here (Germany) those things you guys over there can’t find show up. I haven’t checked all examples given here, but quite a few, and they are all there (All Departments search from the amazon.com page). Including sales rank and all.

    I totally agree with you, this is dangerous and… sad. Really sad. And I am pretty happy that (up to know at least) we don’t have this censorchip over here.

    Very Bizarre indeed, hope enough protest might finally change this again!

    Greetings from Germany!

    PS: @Leah: I’m impressed by your statement.

  150. Heather Holland
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 14:28:19

    The Drigon’s Fall has been removed from the “All Departments” search, but comes up under the “Books” search. Same with my author name. The logic behind this leaves much to be desired, that’s for sure.

  151. Social Monday: “Buzz” with a side order of salt « NewsMuse
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 15:06:26

    […] that's neat, plausible, and wrong. And in this case, I can’t believe the solution is to blame and flame Amazon. Let’s resist the buzz and put the outrage on ice, at least for a few days. The truth will […]

  152. Business & Finance Blogs » Blog Archive » Anatomy of the #AmazonFAIL protest
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 20:49:12

    […] Complaint templates. Customers wanting to complain and who need writing help can use this pre-crafted complaint letter. […]

  153. Miki S
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 21:14:33

    @Ruth: I haven’t looked today, but what I noticed that there are two formats for And Tango Makes Three. The hardcover version and the paperback version.

    The hardcover was still listed, the paperback was unranked and no longer listed.

    Note: I just checked, both are showing rankings today.

  154. The Not-so-deep Thoughts » The Upside of The Weekend Internet Ban
    Apr 14, 2009 @ 18:45:00

    […] missed the entire Amazon Rank kerfuffle and got some re-plotting done. Personally, though, I doubt Amazon had underhanded motives […]

  155. Same window… different view | Fiction With Friction
    Apr 14, 2009 @ 19:59:13

    […] during the whole AmazonFail debacle, I was checking for about the fortieth time to see if any of my books had gotten their rankings […]

  156. AmazonFAIL: Twitter's power to destroy | Rocketseed
    Apr 16, 2009 @ 14:08:35

    […] Complaint templates: Customers wanting to complain and who need writing help can use this pre-crafted complaint letter. […]

  157. This won’t end well… Amazon unranks LGBT, “adult” books | Tokyovation
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 20:43:16

    […] can read more reactions at Erastes, Dear Author, Meta Writer, Booksquare, GGY Meta, Comics212, Okazu, Queers United, Tectonic Uplift, and Naughty […]

  158. Rich’s ComixBlog » Archive » Amazon Fail
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 04:44:01

    […] to Amazon’s apparent new censorship policy, which includes de-listing books with LBGT content as “adult” and inappropriate, we […]

  159. Marlana Campbell
    May 09, 2009 @ 19:16:23

    I suppose I should read all the posts first, but I do have a question to what is most likely a discussion gone cold: Am I looking at the Amazon listings incorrectly? I’m finding books about gays and lesbians listed. Or am I just way late in this discussion and Amazon “fixed” it?

  160. Jules Jones
    May 10, 2009 @ 01:29:47

    Marlana @159: Original post was April 12, four weeks ago — if Amazon *hadn’t* fixed it by now you’d be seeing a lot more steam coming out of people’s ears.

  161. Anatomy of the #AmazonFAIL protest - Marci Ikeler
    May 21, 2009 @ 08:37:35

    […] Complaint templates. Customers wanting to complain and who need writing help can use this pre-crafted complaint letter. […]

  162. State of the Writer (and the writing, too) « Twenty Palaces
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 12:13:41

    […] no clue. See this post by an author affected by the change to read Amazon.com’s response, and Dear Author weighs in on the romance writers who’ve been affected, and finally here’s the start of a link farm to check out. […]

  163. marley
    Jul 17, 2009 @ 18:18:51

    if amazon’s not going to let people find glbt/erotica/sex whatnot then shouldn’t they friggin ban Twilight? i mean my 11 year old sister read Breaking Dawn and nobody will put anything like that down. it’s not only about sex, it’s about like a sex addiction. and sookie stackhouse? some of that’s pretty fugging kinky. and the halfway to the grave and all else. but nope;
    and

    and

  164. marley
    Jul 17, 2009 @ 18:20:26

    ohh i just read the last of the posts and see they fixed it. hmm

  165. Yet Another Reason Not to Buy an Amazon Kindle | The Adventures of Jessica Sideways
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 07:05:16

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  166. Dear Amazon | Jaci Burton's Muse
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 20:20:47

    […] Dear Author’s post about it here […]

  167. Art Gilmore
    Aug 03, 2011 @ 21:08:55

    @Lori: I have been an author on the Amazon catalog for years, and suddenly they started acting stupid about their mistakes. I have a new paperback out and they did not listit, but sold it as Used thru third party seller.

    I asked them to please revisit my distributor’s datafeed for the proper cover and proper placement as paperback, and they ignored me and ignored me. Now, a new title which is doing fairly well as an e-book on Amazon is now hovering near 1,500,000 in ranking in paperback in its first week.

    This stinks. Have heard of retaliation against authors of all sorts of content who try and hold Amazon to their usual standard. All they do is ignore you and let your ranking plummet, then get smart overnight. By then, the title can be finally found by readers but it’s stuck with a rotten ranking. Thanks a lot, Amazon!

    Have heard even worse.

  168. Don
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 06:51:15

    OMG – 27 pages of bantor when the obvious solution is to go to a different store.

    By the way, how is it justified for Netflix to have a Gay section that cannot be blocked by the parents? Like I want my 8 year old watching that content.

    And why do gays go to Disney to be near kids? How about staying at Cape Cod or Key West. Leave the kids alone.

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