Amazon 'glitch' removes sales rank from gay books
By HILLEL ITALIE – 5 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — A "glitch" on Amazon.com has caused the sales rank to be removed from gay- and/or lesbian-themed books by James Baldwin, Gore Vidal and others.
"There was a glitch in our systems and it's being fixed," Amazon's director of corporate communications, Patty Smith, said in an e-mail Sunday.
As of Sunday night, books without rankings included Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room," Vidal's "The City and the Pillar" and Jeanette Winterson's "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit." The removals prompted furious remarks on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere online.
Craig Seymour, author of the gay memoir "All I Could Bare," wrote on his blog Sunday that his sales rank was dropped in February, then restored nearly four weeks later, after he was told by Amazon that his book had been "classified as an Adult product."
I have to say, I've not known a technical glitch to be homophobic. If it was targeting porn or a particular genre then sure, but it even affected children's books like Heather Has Two Mommies. To say it's a glitch is rather insulting to thinking people unless they're making quote fingers and looking snidely at the homophobic executive with a vice grip on the balls of the systems administrator. This was pretty obviously human bias and not a technical gaff.
So this has been going on since February. Rankings being removed from gay themed books - not all of them pornography - and you won't get the books on a general search either. You have search under category and name. Christie Kieth over at AfterEllen.com
I mean, in what universe are books like The Lesbian Parenting Book: A Guide to Creating Families and Raising Children and that G-rated chestnut Patience and Sarah "adult" books?
Meanwhile, Hitler's Mein Kampf, Speechless: Silencing the Christians: How Liberals and Homosexual Activists are Outlawing Christianity (and Judaism) to Force Their Sexual Agenda on America and Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds are all considered acceptable for all ages and retain their sales rank and search results prominence.
I checked the gay young adult titles by AfterElton.com's Brent Hartinger, and they still have their sales rankings. But a few other YA titles I looked at didn't, including Sandra Scoppettone's lesbian-themed Happy Endings are All Alike and, ironically, The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2004.
Neither did Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Lovers, Families, and Friends or Heather Has Two Mommies, which has got to be one of the most banned books in American history.
It's all over the internet this morning. Angriest saying Ban Amazon! Well, I'll withhold judgment for a little bit, maybe a couple days, since I don't have anything I want to buy from them just now anyways. Let's see how they squirrel out of it first. It'll be nice to see who the scapegoat is - if there is one. It'll be far more fun to see them squirm a bit under the world's eye. Forceing Amazon to make a stand against, let's be honest, the religious right who've been nipping everyone's heels to remove GLBT awareness whereever they can. Fact is, in 2006, Amazon suffered a financial sting with implementing it's new technology and being sued by ToysR'Us causing a profits drop by 58%. The flag of "Ban Amazon!!" will definitely have them bricking their knickers.
It's entirely unfair, especially when sexually explicit novels featuring heterosexuals aren't subject to the same treatment. So Amazon can't say they're trying to protect people from pronography or materials with a graphic sexual content. Also, you can still get searches for novels written by straight authors about gay characters, like the Lord John Grey books by Diana Gabaldon. We can still get those on a search and the rankings are intact. For now.
I find the increase in the threat to freedom of speech frightening. I find people like this frightening:
The best part is near the end when we hear this conversation (first found at The Friendly Atheist) Got to love FOX network supporters.
Woman: [Shouts] “Burn the books!” [applause]
Man: “I don’t think you were serious about that, were you?”
Woman: “I am too.”
Man: “Burn all the books?!”
Woman: “The ones in college, those, those brainwashing books.”
Man: “[laughs] Brainwashing books?”
Man: “Which ones are those?”
Woman: “Like, the evolution crap, and, yeah…”
Here's hoping he'll find a great following in prison, which is where he's headed if he doesn't pay his taxes. Simple rule in life: Never fuck with the taxman.
In the half hour of writing this (I'm distracted), there's been eight new headlines added to GoogleNews banner from different sites. Buzz Buzz Buzz. I love the internet.
In my looking into this, I did find this product which made me giggle