Gay Twitterland blew up over the weekend over the news that Amazon was removing titles with LGBT content from its hotly-followed sales rankings.
The number one word being used over and over on Twitter at this moment is “AmazonFail.” Why? Users are angry about a perceived anti-gay policy that removes lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender books from appearing in sales rankings. Author Mark Probst writes on his blog that 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.'” Probst eventually got a response from Amazon.com Advantage member services, he says.
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. Best regards, Ashlyn D, Member Services,Amazon.com Advantage
All gay content is now “adult”? Michelangelo Signorile notes that all of his decidedly non-erotic books have lost their rankings. Signorile: “In my case it is a clear suppression of political speech. It’s that simple.” Even the “gay boys growing up” anthology I contributed to a few years ago has lost its ranking.
A petition for Amazon to restore LGBT titles to its sales rankings is here.
UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan reports that his books have been de-listed as well.
UPDATE II: Amazon is now claiming that the whole thing is just a programming “glitch.” Anybody buying that? Since they are now backpedaling, I think we have to give the win to Twitter.