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marthawells

Martha Wells

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marthawells

Amazon Rank Discrimination

Some links about Amazon removing GLBT books from their rankings and search system:

From Rick Klaw: Cheryl Morgan's Blog: Something very strange is happening in Amazon land. It appears that someone at the online bookseller had decided to strip the sales rankings from any book that includes gay or lesbian romance on the grounds that this is “adult content”

From Gregory Frost: Lynne Jamneck's Blog: In a bizarre move, Amazon has stripped books that they classify as "adult" from their sales ratings, including work by Alan Moore and -- here's the kicker -- ALL GLBT titles.

ETA: From DearAuthor.com: Amazon Rank: It is akin to the bookstore removing the books from the shelves and requiring you to go to the Customer Service desk and ask for the book or author specifically. Visibility is a huge factor in sales and anyone who doesn’t believe that is kidding themselves.

ETA2: From Nicola Griffith: This means amazon.com are literally taking away my livelihood because my books have lesbian characters. This means I might starve.

ETA3: More info from DearAuthor.com: Amazon Censors Its Rankings: This post includes Amazon's response to an author who complained, making it clear that it isn't a technical glitch, but a deliberate move on Amazon's part.

ETA4: From Mark R. Probst: Yes, it is true. Amazon admits they are indeed stripping the sales ranking indicators for what they deem to be “adult” material. Of course they are being hypocritical because there is a multitude of “adult” literature out there that is still being ranked – Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, come on! They are using categories THEY set up (gay and lesbian) to now target these books as somehow offensive.


I haven't bought anything from Amazon since the 90s, for various reasons. There are plenty of online alternatives, including: Barnes and Noble, Powell's, Mysterious Galaxy, Murder by the Book, and for all your Stargate needs there's Who North America. Or you can find other independent bookstores in the US that sell online through Booksense.

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I use Amazon extensively, and have an Amazon Visa card...but am rethinking the entire thing after seeing this. What kind of idiocy is this? In these economic times, cutting one's own throat is particularly stupid.

I have sent them a strongly-worded email, and pointed out that many of the people I have heard use the word "boycott" are demonstrably not GLBT, and that they may want to rethink this.

I doubt they thought about it at all, but if the subject even came up before they went ahead with it, it was probably something like, "But only a small minority are going to complain."

They've conveniently forgotten that everyone has friends and relatives.

The more I read about this, the more and more angry it makes me.

I'll definitely be getting my books elsewhere from now on, not that I frequented Amazon often anyway.

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Do we have any word on who leaned on them? This sounds like bowing to outside pressure to me. Mainly because it seems to have come up very suddenly.

I don't know -- it seems like a completely crazy thing to do. DearAuthor links to an author who first noticed something funny going on with his book in February, but it seems like it's mostly happened within the past couple of days.

I've got to believe they're getting a huge backlash from this. It's lit up my flist like a Christmas tree.

I depend on Amazon for some difficult to find grocery products, which are affordable from them due to free shipping. I won't be buying books from them anymore, though. I just sent them an email to let them know. I only stopped ordering from B&N because it was easier to order books along with the other things I need.

They censor reviews as well

I've had 'breast' removed from a review. Odd, since the reference was quoted directly from the book and related to breast-feeding.

Another excellent source for sci-fi/fantasy, horror, mystery, and YA books is Creatures and Crooks in Richmond, VA. Their staff is friendly and if they have a few clues as to what you like, they make TERRIFIC recommendations. That's hard to find in most bookstores, anymore!

Please pass this petition along

I started to post this on one of my writer's lists and there's already a discussion started and a petition at Care2. Here's the link. I have already signed:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/in-protest-at-amazons-new-adult-policy

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Nicola Griffith's blog had a really nice link to this site:

http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/amazon-rank/

That describes how they are creating the term "amazon rank" and are google bombing the phrase :)

Their customer support reps on the phone are reportedly begging people not to call about this, but little good that's going to do. I feel sorry for the reps but not the company. Also, Twitter seems a bit like an internet geiger counter.

In their response to me, they told me they'd "discovered a glitch in the system and were working to fix it." I hope this means that they are backtracking.

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