I was initially intending to blog about my birthday, which happened last week (I assume the cards are all still in the post), but thought I had to give my thoughts on this Amazon possibly/possibly-not censorship problem, which is being discussed at length on Twitter.
The main bulk of the argument seems to be that books about gays or lesbians, or written by gays or lesbians, are disappearing from the Amazon.com salesrank.
This means they’re very difficult (but not impossible) to find.
Certainly the average user would likely assume they no longer stocked the book, rather than wading through to find it.
It will undoubtedly harm book sales of authors.
I’m sure a lot of people will think “who cares?” (even if they choose not to voice those particular opinions.)
I mean I have no immediate plans to buy books by gays or lesbians. I’ve no immediate plans to buy any books at all, so why do I care?
I think what bothers me is that there is any form of censorship on there at all.
Amazon are currently claiming that there is some sort of “glitch” in the system, which is causing huge numbers of books by gay or lesbian authors, or about gay or lesbian characters, to be “accidentally” removed.
To be fair to Amazon, it could be the case. Although one author was told in February that his book was being removed due to “policy”, who is to say they haven’t changed policy again since this?
And there is bizarre happenings, such as paperback versions of books being removed, hardback books not (and vice versa).
Despite the ‘homophobic’ stick that people are beating Amazon with at the moment, it isn’t JUST gay/lesbian books – there are other books that are being removed, for being adult. Also, not ALL gay/lesbian books have disappeared.
Now, I don’t care about ‘categories’ of books being removed.
I care about ANY books being removed.
Think back pre-Amazon to an actual library. The first thing you would do with an English-German dictionary was look up the swear words.
Nudity was available in various forms, and there were various medical books if you really wanted the gory graphic details.
There’s very few good arguments to censor anything, unless it contains graphic sexual imagery and being sold to 8yr olds, or is illegal..etc, surely?
Gay/whatever – you can’t be removing books from the bestseller list because they contain adult themes, or some people don’t feel they’d enjoy reading them.