Only those who have been off camping in the wilderness of the Easter long-weekend and therefore far, far away from their computers could have missed the buzz about Amazon that has well and truly hit the internet fan over the weekend.
For those who are wondering what all the fuss is about, the short version is that Amazon has decided to de-rank titles that it considers to contain “adult” content, preventing them from appearing in searches and best-seller listings.
Unfortunately for Amazon and in another example of prejudicial treatment for the Gay and Lesbian community and their supporters, it appears that only gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender titles have been included in this de-ranking exercise. It didn’t include titles that contained bestiality and graphic heterosexual content.
I’ve found the following posts great for getting an overall view of what has been happening, so check them out for a more detailed account:
- Jacket Copy, the LA Times book blog by Carolyn Kellogg with these posts from the 12th April and 13th April.
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books with their Amazon Rank and Amazon Fail posts.
- Persnickety Snark’s Amazon Fail Snarktake with some help from Jackson Pearce.
- Kat Meyer’s post at Follow the Reader about the power of the passionate online book community.
For me, I am totally dumbfounded that such as major internet entity could so totally underestimate the backlash from such targeted censorship. I am just as amazed that there wasn’t a very real Amazon presence on social networking sites like Twitter over the weekend to help to modify the heated response from readers.
Twitter has been inundated this weekend with comments about Amazon’s de-ranking process. Check out the #Amazonfail tag to follow the ongoing debate and comments.
It seems that book censorship has moved from small town school libraries into the blogosphere. Some are recommending boycotting Amazon services, others are planning internet retaliation.
What are your ideas on how best to send the message to Amazon that their censorship is neither needed or appropriate? What role do you see book bloggers and social networkers playing in this and future controversies of this nature?by