Are gay books any more “adult” than straight ones? Amazon.com seems to think so. The web retailer has mysteriously begun re-classifying gay-themed books — novels, parenting guides, self-help titles, and even biographies — as “adult,” while stripping the sales ranking data (the figure that tells you how well a particular title is selling compared to other books) from them as well.
Among the affected authors: Jamie O’Neill, Edmund White, and Andre Acima, according to the Meta Writer community. (They’ve got a continually updated list of re-classified books.) Michelangelo Signorile’s Outing Yourself: How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends, and Coworkers, a how-to guide on breaking the news about your sexuality, is among those claimed. Aaron Raz Link and Hilda Raz’s autobiography What Becomes You and Kate Bornstein’s suicide help guide Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws got hit, too.
The Easter Sunday change means an entire swath of LGBT literature has been deemed X-rated, and these books are no longer included in sales ranking data — veritably deeming them worthless of comparison against other fare.
Blogger and author Mark Probst first noticed the change when his own book The Filly lost its sales rank number. When a confused Probst contacted Amazon, he received this reply:
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.
Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.
Undoubtedly, there’s a new policy change at Amazon, and they didn’t plan on telling us — or authors — about it. And it appears only books Amazon tagged as “Gay & Lesbian” are affected; books of the same nature, but dealing with heteosexual themes and love affairs, don’t appear to be losing out.
UPDATE: Memorist Craig Seymour, best known for outing Matt Drudge in his book All I Could Bare, blogs that his title has also been crapped on by Amazon.
UPDATE: Twitter is one homebase for outrage.
UPDATE: A petition that argues “We find it hypocritical that Amazon continues to sell adult books but thinks that removing the sales rating to (keep them out of the public eye) will achieve this” is now available for you to sign.
(Image via Bill T)