On Amazon.com two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: “Transgressions” by Erastes and “False Colors” by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book “The Filly.” There was buzz, What’s going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books? Is it just a major glitch in the system? Many of us decided to write to Amazon questioning why our rankings had disappeared. Most received evasive replies from customer service reps not versed in what was happening. As I am a publisher and have an Amazon Advantage account through which I supply Amazon with my books, I had a special way to contact them. 24 hours later I had a response:
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.
by Mark R. Probst: Amazon Follies
Out of a Top 100 Gay Novels List on Elisa Rolle’s LJ almost all the books are “purged”, including authors such as Jamie O’Neill, Edmund White, Andre Aciman. Link: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/593110.html
James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
Annie Proulx Brokeback Mountain
Jeanette Winterson’s OrangesAre Not The Only Fruit
Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Lonelines.
None of [these] can be called “erotica” by any stretch of the imagination. ([T]he only “sex scene” in The Well of Loneliness consists of, in its entirety, the words “And that night they were not divided.”)
Also being-deranked are certain books with the word “sex” or “erotic” in the title; many of them happen to be in “progressive” categories including feminism, health, and politics. Writer Susie Bright notes that some of her books have been affected while others have not. Apparently Amazon employs neither rhyme nor reason (beyond the loose glbt – progressive issues theme) in determining which books lose rankings.
Time to take a little action:
- Don’t buy Amazon unless or until this is resolved satisfactorily.
- Sign this petition.
- If you’re on Facebook, join this BOYCOTT AMAZON action group.
- Spread the word. If twittering, add the hashtag #amazonfail
- If Amazon doesn’t rescind this action right away, deactivate any Amazon affiliate programs in which you may be enrolled.
We hope Amazon will comes to its senses sooner rather than later (remember AOL’s quickly rescinded censoring of the word “breast”?). If not, take a stand.