Long day yesterday, still reeling a bit, so I’ll keep this short and let you clicky for yourself. Hopefully back into ranting away tomorrow.
It seems that over the weekend, Amazon decided to derank titles they classified as “adult,” which included GLBT themed books, some erotica, and even Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Deranking them also took them out of their search engines unless you did some very specific title/author searches. However, the Playboy collections and other (more “mainstream”?) adult titles still retained their rankings and searchability.
When author Mark R. Probst questioned his deranking, an initial response from Amazon customer service suggested it was intentional:
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.
Amazon has since responded, sort of, suggesting it was a “glitch” in their software. The claims seem a bit dubious, since this glitch has existed since at least February, but they don’t have much in the way of an official statement so far, or any explanation as to why this Member Services representative answered the way she did.
Links for clicky, to better educate thyselves:
- Neil Gaiman’s “Amazonfail Sunday”
- The LA Times article on the deranking
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and the Amazon Rank page
- #amazonfail on Twitter
- PNH at Making Light, urging cooler heads to prevail and offering some ideas on how the whole thing happened.
- A list of the books that have been deranked
I suspect there’ll be more as the day goes on, but Uncle Neil has it right: even if the “glitch” was unintentional and not meant to capture the titles it did, an apology wouldn’t be amiss. (And I might add, a real apology, not a “We’re sorry if your feelings were hurt, but we didn’t do anything wrong.”)
And might I suggest, for the hojillionth time, that you go out and support your local independent bookstores, rather than purchase your titles from Amazon. Find the indie nearest you at Indie Bound.