It’s nice to know that Big Brother Amazon knows me so well that he has taken it upon himself to keep certain offensive books off my reading list. It makes it so much easier for me to have someone else pick and choose what I can and cannot read. Heaven forbid I should have to make up my own mind on this one. Ah, censorship.
Though it has been going on for years, I only recently learned of Amazon.com’s little foray into book banning and censorship and frankly, am not pleased. Makes me not want to do business with them at all. I will certainly think twice about ordering anything, books or not, from them in the future. Here’s part of the Policy that Amazon claims so many small, indie publishers of erotica are violating and thereby getting arbitrary books banned from sales through Comrade Amazon.
Pornography Pornography and hard-core material that depicts graphic sexual acts.
Offensive Material What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect. Amazon Digital Services, Inc. reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of Titles sold on our site.
I respect their right to pick and choose what they sell but I can still go there and buy the Beauty Series by Anne Rice. I can pick up a couple copies of novels written by Marquis de Sade and while I’m shopping for my porn/erotica – maybe I’ll grab a copy of Shades of Gray, too. Oh, and remember that V.C. Andrews ‘Flower’ Series (Petals on the Wind & etc…)? Talk about INCESTUOUS!! Yet, a copy of “Bound To Be Bitten” by Victoria Morris published by a small indie company called Pink Flamingo out of Michigan is not to be mine. Pity, looked good – sexy, motorcycle riding, bdsm-practicing vampires, ya know? Matter of fact, seems there a whole SLEW of Pink Flamingo books Amazon says I will find offensive. Founder of Pink Flamingo, Lizbeth Dusseau has a few words to say about this on her blog of July 17th.
And she’s far from the only one. Self-Publishing Revolution posted some commentary on this subject back in 2010. Joni Rodgers, another Indie author and booksellers spoke up in 2012 as did Seela Conner. Business Insider also published an article on this topic as have a myriad of other writer, publishers and business people.
From my understanding, this ban rule only applies to getting the books on Kindle. Someone correct me if I have that wrong, please. So, I can still get any of the banned books in a regular book form just not on an eReader. Maybe Amazon is just trying to sell more of the hard copies of these books because they make more money on them? Their policy makes no sense and their selection process for banned titles is so random it’s almost humorous, save for the fact censorship is censorship is censorship and the freedom of speech and choice is being taken away by a bunch of faceless people who think they know what I want to read (or write for that matter!). As an author, I want to be able to choose my writing topics without the fear that Big Brother Amazon is going to work against me when I seek publication.
If Amazon is going to ban books that contain pornographic, erotic, incestuous and violent materials then they should ban ALL of it and not just the titles being put out by the smaller Indie Publishing houses. Course, that would wipe out a HUGE selection. Sadly, it seems all about money anymore and not the creative, unique works being put out by these smaller houses. Still… maybe being on the Banned Book List is a good thing. Check out some of these Banned Books (ironically on Amazon) and you’ll see what I mean.
Gosh, I hope this little rant doesn’t get found by those Amazon execs in charge of throwing darts at random book covers to see who’s next on the ban list, “Blood of the Scarecrow” might find itself up there on the board. (Despite having very little violence and virtually no sex at all in it.) And just because I’m not feeling too warm and fuzzy towards Big Brother right now, that last link is a NON-Amazon one!