According to an article at the Seattle PI, the glitch that caused Amazon to derank over 57,000 titles over the weekend was caused by an employee in France filling out a field the wrong way. Says Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener:
This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.
It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon’s main product search.
Many books have now been fixed and we’re in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.
There’s another interview with an employee who asked for anonymity here that expands on the situation a bit more. So, on its surface, it seems to be truly accidental, but the lovely Lilith Saintcrow still has some very valid questions about the deranking that’s been going on since February.
So, the story still goes on. And yet again, I suggest we go out and support our independent bookstores.