Tell Amazon they are wrong
12 April 2009
I had a cheerful poem for you today, until I got the email that described Amazon.com’s new policy on removing the sales ranking feature from books with “adult content” — which apparently is code for anything they decide might offend someone. Please go read this thoughtful post from the always-on-target Kassia Krozser for a concise and pointed overview of the situation.
Yes, books with heterosexual content are getting de-ranked: but there are many straight-sexplicit books that aren’t (Laurell Hamilton’s books, with all kinds of body parts coming together every ten pages or so, are still ranked. Or maybe that’s just because Amazon makes so much money selling her books that they can’t afford to piss her off?)
Let’s see Amazon go after Hamilton. Let’s see them remove sales rankings from every single Harlequin romance writer who’s ever been on the best-seller list. Oh, and let’s not forget The Godfather.
Because they’ve already done it to many, many LGBT books, including Nicola’s. Go on, see for yourself — no more sales ranks. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until they reach me. And it’s hugely damaging to any author. It means that the author’s books don’t show up in searches of what’s popular, no matter how many books she’s actually selling. It means that new buyers who are browsing sales-rank-generated lists will never even see her books mentioned.
Happily, authors, editors, publishers, critics and readers aren’t sitting still for this. We’re all over Twitter and the web (check #amazonfail at Twitter).
I’m not currently assuming that Amazon has become the Great Homophobic Bookseller of the World. I am assuming that someone made a hasty, boneheaded policy decision, implemented it clumsily, and then completely failed to anticipate the response. I very much hope, for Amazon’s sake, that someone with brains and authority has left their Easter goose uneaten and is trying to pull Amazon’s goose out of the fire right now. Because the online firestorm is building.
What can we do? Let’s put on our boots and get out there with the crowd. Thanks to Cheryl Morgan for pointing me to this petition, which I hope you will consider signing. If you’re an Amazon customer, please consider sending them an email of protest. If you’re on Twitter, please tweet tweet tweet.
And let’s hope we can do something about this.