by Pete Cashmore
Some bloggers and social media communities are taking exception today to Amazon’s removal from its sales rankings of gay or lesbian books it considered “adult” in nature.
Mark R. Probst, a gay romance author whose book was included in the action, writes in his LiveJournal blog:
On Amazon.com two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: “Transgressions” by Erastes and “False Colors” by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book “The Filly.” There was buzz, What’s going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books?
Probst received the following reply after contacting Amazon through his Amazon Advantage account:
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.
Probst also notes, however, that Amazon has de-ranked heterosexual romance novels in its erotica section. So the allegation is not so much that Amazon is removing all gay romance (some still remains), but rather questioning whether Amazon’s standards for what constitutes “adult” material are biased against homosexual romance. It should also be noted that Amazon still sells these books: they simply no longer appear in public sales rankings.