Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazon anti-GLBT shenanigans

This will be something of a one subject only blog, but I make no apologies as I think it's important. Because, ye gods and little fishes, what a weekend. Unbeknownst to all of us, we've actually taken something of a time journey and are now living in the 1950s. In case you hadn't realised, or are utterly flummoxed by events so far, this has been the weekend that Amazon US and UK decided to remove books with "adult" content from their sales rankings and full search facilities. Thus making it all but impossible to buy them from that great online retailer unless you put in a very, very specific title, as the "similar categories" and tagged searches option no longer apply for these books.

Moreover, "adult" books also seem to include all GLBT books, whether or not they actually contain "adult' content, or sex of any description. Therefore books such as Young Adult gay book, Mark Probst's The Filly, have been stripped of their rankings, alongside Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle, some editions of Sarah Waters’ Tipping the Velvet (interestingly the edition that survives is the one that doesn’t mention the word Lesbian in the “similar items” search field), EM Forster’s Maurice, Edmund White’s The Beautiful Room is Empty, Mary Renault’s The Charioteer, and a host of other previously high-charting modern gay fiction books. Heterosexual books with sex in them on the whole maintain their rankings in the system. Worrying enough indeed but, interestingly, Kindle versions (an Amazon product of course …) still have rankings, although in at least one case the gay label has been removed from the Kindle entry. Lord H also tells me that as of a couple of hours ago, you could buy the film of Brokeback Mountain from Amazon, but not the book. Sigh ...

Neither has non-fiction remained untouched. The behind-the-scenes book on Queer as Folk no longer has a ranking, and neither does the hardcover edition of John Barrowman’s Anything Goes or Neil McKenna’s The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde.

You can read more about this and find out about current press coverage information, including two very differing Amazon responses to objections, at my Vulpes Libris article here. And the petition against Amazon's strange anti-GLBT stance can be found here. Please do read the article, visit the links within it and, if you feel able to and haven't already, sign the petition. I think it's important, whether or not you're a reader or writer of GLBT books. It's something I feel very strongly about and we don't really want that kind of censorship in our society. Thank you.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - sighing deeply but standing up for fairness, whether she disappears or not ...

12 comments:

Nik's Blog said...

Anne, I'm just hoping, dearly, that this is a mistake. If it's not, it's a disgrace. It doesn't have anything to do with Easter, does it??

Anne Brooke said...

Who knows, Nik! Apparently it happened in February too - perhaps that was Lent ...!

:))

Axxx

Lover of Books, Films and Good Coffee Shops Everywhere! said...

How very backward. I just don't get it. God, soon we'll be having books banned like Lady Chatterley's Lover was in the 1920's. It's wrong on so many levels, I can't understand why a business as huge as Amazon would risk what I'm sure is going to be huge negative publicity. I'll be signing the petitiion.
Sue

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Sue - it is a mystery indeed!!

Hugs to you

Axxx

valbrussell said...

You can bet there is a religious zealot in the woodpile somewhere instigating this. Narrow minded censorship never seems to disappear for very long. :(

Anne Brooke said...

Sadly that's probably true, Val ...

Axxx

litlove said...

I am completely on your side, but what does GLBT stand for, please?

Also very glad to hear you are on the mend - not at all surprised if you are a bit eiped out for a while. Take care!

hugs xoxox

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, LL! And GLBT = Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender. So now you know!

:))

Axxx

Lexi said...

Mary Renault's The Charioteer is one of my all-time favourite books.

I signed the petition yesterday.

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Lexi - and it is indeed a great book!

Axxx

litlove said...

'eiped'? That should be 'wiped'. This is what comes of typing without my glasses on....

Anne Brooke said...

Actually, I liked "eiped". It's a slightly more ethereal version of "wiped" and gives a strange glamour to the word ...

:))

Axxx