Amazon Fail Amazon Fail Amazon Fail Amazon Fail Amazon Fail Amazon Fail
This is all over Facebook, my favourite blogs, and sites with book lovers everywhere. Amazon, the USian online bookseller that has put many independent bookstores out of business has decided to mark books with positive queer content as “adult” and has therefore stripped such books of their “ranking” as well as their coming up on general searches. The following sites give more detail into what Amazon has been doing, since February apparently, but it looks like a huge push was done this past long weekend while they thought nobody was looking.
Post at jezebel.com
The Angry Black Woman
First they said it was a new policy to remove all books with “adult content” in this manner, meaning nudity and expressions of sexuality. But when “Heather Has Two Mommies” is placed on the list to have their ranking removed, and “A Parent’s Guide To Preventing Homosexuality” and “The Professional Bachelor Dating Guide: How To Exploit Her Inner Psycho” remain untouched, it’s fair to say that a homophobic agenda is going on.
Nudity of the homo kind is generally, but not exclusively, deleted. Nudity of the heterosexual kind mostly stays, but some is deleted. My theory is that staff were given a memo describing which books were “in” and which were “out”. But like all political agendas, had many holes in the logic and the applied theory. The word “homosexuality” is okay only if accompanied by “curing” or “fixing” or “OMG it’s a disaster!!!” Otherwise, chuck it. I’d also like to think that members of the secret group, the Homosexual Underground Liberation Front, many of whom are employed by such corporations, were in action during this work blitz this past weekend.
After being challenged on their first position, Amazon spokespeople now claim it was a glitch. See, now you’re just lying stupid. You should have stuck to your original retro-position, it might have gained you supporters in the homophobic community, a demographic you seem to be very much in favour of expanding.
In the Jezebel article above, she notes that typing in “homosexuality” into the amazon search engine now reveals books such as “A Parent’s Guide To Preventing Homosexuality” and others which are on the topic of “curing” or “fixing” homosexuality, especially regarding your child if they’ve just come out to you.
[Edit. It seems that a search today, Mon April 13, reveals more queer-friendly books, if not slightly dull and academic. Maybe they're watching this unfold and paying attention. Nothing like the potential threat of an internet-wide boycott to get a corporation's attention. Money still is the bottom line. Can we please remember this?]
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m not and have never been a fan of amazon, Crapters/Indiblow or Bunns and Noodles (hey has anyone checked how Alison Bechdel’s books have fared?). Why? Because they are a corporate entity, that goes by the bottom line first (even in it’s first few years when it was hemorrhaging money). They have put hundreds, if not thousands of independent bookstores out of business across the US and Canada with their deep discounts, large square footage and McService. Even though that’s an old argument that many of you have heard me make many times over the years, it’s still true today. And it’s worse. Some were fooled by the Crapters/IndiBlow “sections” on queer theory and women’s studies. Really? A few shelves? Those books would not have come into existence, including the fringe publishers that were developed, were it not for independent and specialty bookstores. Never trust a corporation. Especially with books! For the love of cats, books FFS! Information! And books on coming out, books on “am I normal to feel this way?” typed in by some confused teen or child whose only access to this information is the internet??
So I won’t say “I told you so”.
But I will say: DON’T BUY BOOKS FROM ANY OF THOSE BASTARDS!!! EVER!!!
P.S. Just for fun I looked up the one book in which I have a chapter published. It’s been removed from the ranking system, but given the title it’s hardly a surprise.
With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn edited by Amber Dawn and Trish Kelly, published by fabulous Arsenal Pulp Press, based in Vancouver:
P.P.S. Books on my shelves, by rocking queer women I know, which have been removed:
Tamai Kobayashi: Quixotic Erotic, Exile and the Heart
Alison Bechdel: Indelible Dykes to Watch Out For, all the smaller comic books from earlier years such as Carbon Based Dykes to Watch Out For, Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For
..interestingly, Bechdel’s new collection The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For still has a ranking. I wonder if books that are over 10,000 or some other arbitrary number, get to keep their ranking, since to some extent such books are making money. Others, well, they can fuck off can’t they?
..and, just showing what goes on when an authors gets on the “homo” list, Bechdel’s grim biography Fun Home is off the ranking list.
..due to perhaps having small sales, being Canadian and having titles that don’t immediately indicate their queer content or the “bent” of the author, off the radar so far is: Elizabeth Ruth, Dionne Brand, Shyam Selvadurai, Wayson Choy.
Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!! Support independent bookstores!!!!!!