You may have read about the recent snafu with Amazon.com–where thousands of lesbian and gay books lost their sales rankings, which made them hard to find via a search. This included picture book Heather Has Two Mommies, and YA book The Filly.
Many writers and concerned readers wrote in to Amazon, and got elusive replies, or replies that stated that they were excluding “adult material” from their lists. Lesbian/gay books are not “adult material”–they are necessary literature! And if they were indeed doing that, it’s a form of censorship.
Later, after Amazon realized that scope of the problem, they said that it was a “glitch in its sales ranking feature” and that there is “no new adult policy”.
Twitter had lively, frequent discussions about this, especially with the tag #amazonfail. Some people thought that Amazon was deliberately removing the books, being homophobic, and creating censorship, while some people thought that it was indeed a technological error, and that cataloging is subjective.
I’m grateful that many people rose up to complain to Amazon, since otherwise this “glitch” may have just continued, or stayed the same, with lesbian/gay books being hard to find through searching. Instead, after so many people rose up to protest, Amazon took action, corrected the problem, and apologized: “an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error” that pertained to 57,310 listings.
I am very glad that Amazon has corrected the issue–and so glad that people protested, which caused Amazon to respond. I still don’t know what the real story is, or what to believe. I know that technological errors can happen, though I think that Amazon’s initial response should have been better. Whatever the cause, I’m just glad that it’s over, and that those lesbian/gay books are now easy to find once again on Amazon.
What do you think? Was it censorship or a technological glitch?