Hey look! Amazon has a new book sales policy. The policy, instated today, spontaneously transformed many books about LGBT issues into "adult" titles, and therefore no longer includes them in the "Best Sellers" lists/rankings. UPDATED
Search functionality is also affected, allegedly, as the banned books will not show up in search even when the exact name is entered.
From LiveJournal user and Amazon Advantage member Mark Probst's entry on the censorship of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered reading material (Note: Amazon's PR response was bolded by the author of the diary entry):
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.
Well, happy Easter everyone! As the author notes later in his journal, Harold Rollins' and Jackie Collins' steamy romance novels remain unaffected. A quick Twitter search on the current Amazon hashtag protest #amazonfail revealed that lesbian parenting books are also banned from search and best seller lists, yet Sex and the City the movie is not (but the book is!).
Truly, a PR clusterfuck for the ages.
P.S. - With the new filter in place, a 5:40 p.m. EST search on "homosexuality" over at Amazon search turned up nothing but, well, mostly anti-homosexuality garbage.
Update 2: The system by which books are banned and which ones remain is something akin to Amazon randomly reaching into a Scrabble bag and throwing out whatever tiles they can get ahold of. Except all the titles are LGBT books. More from Valleywag. [LiveJournal and Twitter and FP.net - Thanks, David]