Amazon Fail

The is a major storm brewing by the name of #AmazonFail

Amazon has started removing books from its sales rank system if they contain gay, lesbian, bi and trans-gendered themes. Whist Amazon will keep selling the books, removing their sales rank means that they won’t appear in searches. If you want to buy books like this, you now need to know the name, author or ISBN of the book before you can buy it. This has a very real impact on the number of copies books like this will sell.

6d6 Fireball are against this move.

I was playing D&D in the 80s when right-wing nut-jobs decided it was a form of satanic worship and tried to have it banned. They failed for the most part but various schools did ban the game and more importantly, the writers of TSR changed the nature of the product. The more mature themes in the game were removed. The use of devils and demons were downgraded. Gods became 100% fictional rather than being based on real life mythos. In short, right-wing nut-jobs won because they made TSR change the product, not to make the product better, but to make the product fit with their religious / moral views.

This is bullying. It is using the power of the knee-jerk reactionary mob to deprive others of their freedom of speech.

It is not clear why Amazon have taken this action but the limited nature of the books being removed suggests that they are responding to a real or perceived threat from right-wing nut-jobs. They only way to counter this is to fight back in kind. Make Amazon realize their business depends far more on people like me than on the idiots who think certain books should be banned.

6d6 Fireball will be removing our Amazon links over the next few days and I will also be removing them from my Tintin and other sites. I’m not doing it immediately because it is a big job and I want to give Amazon a chance to reverse this decision. But in the meantime, please do not buy anything from Amazon because the next thing they ban might be something that matters to you.

See: Amazon policy on LGBT books spurs twitter uprising

5 comments

  1. Amazon has de-ranked heterosexual romance novels in its erotica section. So the allegation is not so much that Amazon is removing all gay romance (some still remains), but rather questioning whether Amazon’s standards for what constitutes “adult” material are biased against homosexual romance. It should also be noted that Amazon still sells these books: they simply no longer appear in public sales rankings.

  2. It would appear to have been a mistake by a French employee who mistranslated “sexuality” as “sexual”, or something along those lines:

    Consumerist link

    Would it really have hurt to give them a chance to explain before calling for boycotts and link removal?

  3. @Scott,

    Re: Giving them a chance.

    Amazon are a very large organisation that operates 24 hours day 7 days a week yet it took them at least 24 hours to make any sort of announcement on this.

    An organisation of Amazon’s size should be able to spot storms like these before I do, and make an announcement. Even if it is “We are not sure what is happening, please give us a couple of hours to look into it.”

    The flip side of this, is the effect of giving them a chance when they are doing something wrong. If Amazon had been removing things because of Right-wing Nut-Jobs, not doing anything would of looked like tacit support of Amazon’s actions.

    Only by a rapid response that directly attacks a company’s bottom line can the general public express concern over the ethics of a company’s actions.

    The end result of the boycott / link removal by a large number of web sites was that Amazon took the problem very seriously. Not only did this problem get fixed but I’m sure Amazon will be introducing new systems to prevent it happening again.

    In the end, everyone wins.

    Chris

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