Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazon Fail.

There's been some booshit cooking at Amazon over the weekend regarding the removal of sales rankings from certain items deemed "adult." Here's what Amazon had to say about it:
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.
Amazon has since backpedaled somewhat and explained the ranking removal as a "glitch," but some authors have been receiving this "glitch" explanation since February. Some books have had their rankings restored, but it's pretty arbitrary. Jezebel has been following the mess (as have many other blogs).

Some examples of the items deemed "adult":

  • Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: Expanded Third Edition: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships by Ruth Bell
  • Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti
  • Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti
  • Cycle Savvy by Toni Weschler (author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which should incidentally be required reading)
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College by Heather Corinna
  • Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
  • Ellen DeGeneres: a Biography by Lisa Iannucci
  • The Mayor of Castro Street: the Life and Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts
Not "adult":
  • Sex toys
  • Playboy: the Complete Centerfolds
  • A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by Linda and Joseph Nicolosi
  • The Complete A**hole's Guide to Handling Chicks by Dan Indante and Karl Marks
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (but Delta of Venus by Anais Nin is "adult

The lovely denizens of the internet have tagged over 1000 items at Amazon with "amazonfail."

You can sign the petition to reverse this stupid policy of censorship by people who clearly don't read anything, ever, here.

There is also a reasonably plausible theory about how this could have happened. Whatever the case, Amazon needs to step up and fix it.


  1. Way to go, Amazon. Way to go.

    Off to sign the petition now.

  2. Very interesting.

    Unrelated: I just passed a fancy silver Camry with a North Dakota "Maven" vanity plate.

  3. Jeanette Winterson?!?!? They're kidding, right?

  4. Signed it, but the theory on why this could have happened does sound plausible. Let's hope they fix it asap.

  5. A close friend of mine worked at Amazon for years. They have an incredibly inclusive workplace and corporate culture, and a vibrant GLBT workplace affinity group. She swears up and down that this could never have happened intentionally.