This holiday weekend, Amazon quietly made some changes to their sales ranks, removing selected gay and lesbian books from the site-wide rankings and from some search results. What books were “selected” and speculation as to why they were selected has led to an online uproar.
Besides the one thing they have in common, the de-ranked books are all otherwise diverse, ranging from romance novels to serious nonfiction books; policy analysis to teen novels. Amazon should have learned by now that they really can’t do this sort of thing these days unnoticed.
When author Mark Probst noticed popular gay romance novels disappearing from the sales rankings and contacted Amazon about it, they explained their logic thusly:
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.
Oh. Well, that explains it…hey, wait a minute! Why are books with little to no sexual content flagged as “adult” and losing their position in the sales ranks? Why do much dirtier books about heterosexual characters or people still have their sales rank? What, exactly, is Amazon up to here? It’s unclear, and that’s making people mad.
But hey, at least all books about homosexuality haven’t been removed from search results:
Amazon de-ranks so-called adult books, including National Book Award winner [LA Times]
Amazon Censorship – Who is affected? [Livejournal]
Amazon Rank Google Bomb [Smart Bitches, Trashy Books]
Thanks to everyone who sent this in!