What’s going on with Amazon.com?

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I know mine was great, well mostly. Until I read this disturbing piece of news about Amazon.com.

Apparently the book retailer has been stripping the sales ranking off of gay, lesbian and feminist books. For those of you who don’t know, a book’s sales ranking is what determines if it comes up first or last when you search for a particular subject matter or title. So a book with no sales ranking will come up last, if at all.

The reasons why have been somewhat indecipherable – some sales reps have called it just a glitch while other authors are being told it’s because their material was deemed too “adult.”

Yet Jezebel points out the interesting contradiction in the “adult” classification. Vibrators and anal plugs have retained their sales ranking, but Ellen DeGeneres’ biography was deemed inappropriate. Likewise, books on Coming out, Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism, and as I learned from Facebook last night the only very recently released but superb Means of Reproduction by Michelle Goldberg have been stripped of their sales rank, but books on “curing” homosexuality, Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds and
The Professional Bachelor Dating Guide: How To Exploit Her Inner Psycho get to keep their sales rankings.

There is a petition up at Care2 that you can sign, and Twitter has added an #amazonfail hashtag to keep track of books which have lost their sales ranking. Or you can just view the Amazon Fail tagged items on Amazon.com itself.

I know I’ll be following this story diligently all week, but for now what do you think? On the one hand, it seems like Amazon.com turned super conservative on us. Maybe this is this the new form of censorship? But on the other, the list is so random that it can almost seem arbitrary. Maybe it is a glitch? Or is there a third answer? What do you think? (and sign the petition!)

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