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Amazon Follies

On Amazon.com two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: “Transgressions” by Erastes and “False Colors” by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book “The Filly.” There was buzz, What’s going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books? Is it just a major glitch in the system? Many of us decided to write to Amazon questioning why our rankings had disappeared. Most received evasive replies from customer service reps not versed in what was happening. As I am a publisher and have an Amazon Advantage account through which I supply Amazon with my books, I had a special way to contact them. 24 hours later I had a response:


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.


Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.


Best regards,


Ashlyn D

Member Services

Amazon.com Advantage


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.

Now in fairness I should point out that Amazon has also stopped ranking many books in the "erotica" categories as well which includes straight erotica. But that's a whole other battle that I'll leave to the erotica writers to take on.


Now I could probably convince the automatons at Amazon that The Filly is YA and therefore not “adult” in the least, and I could probably even convince them to reinstate my ranking.  But if they are excluding books just on the basis of being “gay” then by all means exclude mine too because I don’t want them just to reinstate the “nice” gay books, they need to reinstate all the gay books and if they are really going to try and exclude so-called “adult” material, then how come this has an Amazon ranking?


Here is a screencap of the case log from Amazon. Keep clicking on the image to make it bigger

************For everyone who has commented on my blog - Thank you very much. and everyone who has asked if they can use my name and link back to me. YES please do. Spread the word. Amazon will be beside itself in the face of all this fury!

Publisher's Weekly now has a story here, that an Amazon spokesperson claims this is all a glitch and they have no such new policy.  My caselog is still active in my Advantage account with the response from customer service rep Ashlyn D. Also I'd like to point you to this blog of an author who received this same response from Amazon back in February. Amazon has some 'splainin' to do!

***********UPDATE #2******************
As of 8 AM this morning (April 13th) The Filly has had its ranking reinstated by Amazon.  I also noticed Alex Beecroft's False Colors was reinstated as well.  Many others are not, so they haven't fixed the "so-called" glitch as of yet.

*******FINAL UPDATE******************
Amazon has released a statement of apology stating that it was  an "embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error" that pertained to 57,310 listings.  They also say that It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles.  So it's over.  Amazon admits they goofed, and I, for one, shall give them the benefit of the doubt and say I do not believe that there was any malicious intent. Case closed.



Apr. 12th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
Of course it is, Tracey! Because the gay in writing is much much worse then a hardcore porn DVD.
Apr. 12th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
I'll wait till tomorrow to post about this. More people will be reading LJ tomorrow than they will on a family holiday like Easter.
Apr. 12th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Good point! You're on meta-writer, right? Asknosecrets is putting together a links post.
Apr. 12th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm on meta_writer. And thanks for telling me; I'll look for the links post.
Apr. 13th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
Nah... it's that secretly, they think gay is MUCH sexier. Poor things.
Apr. 13th, 2009 07:52 am (UTC)
Hee! Lee! You cheer me up!
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
No joke - there was some hypocritical jackass -- I forget which one, they're so similar -- who positively drooled while ranting about how lesbians can just keep having orgasms and how sinful it was that they couldn't get each other pregnant. My wife just laughed...
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)


You sinful thing, you!
Apr. 13th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Apr. 13th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
It's not just amazon. A lot of the Prop 8 ads that claimed that prop 8 would force homosexuality into elementary schools in california was predicated on the idea that homosexuality is a complex adult topic that kids need to be protected from. Of course, cinderella's and snow white's heterosexuality is nothing kids need protection from.

As an iranian-american kid who had to cover her eyes for het stuff, I always though america's compulsory juvenile het sexuality was ridiculous compared to their non-het prudery.
Apr. 13th, 2009 07:53 am (UTC)
That is a fantastic perspective!
Apr. 13th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
And actually, when you search my authorname, instead of getting my gay (admittedly erotic) romance books? You actually DO get hardcore porn DVDs.

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