Many authors, among them C. Dale Young, report that Amazon is censoring books with sexual, and especially GLBT, content by removing them from their rankings, apparently in an effort to make the titles less visible to the general public.

Edward Campion, saying the Amazon policy “represents the greatest insult to consumers and the most severe commercial threat to free expression that we’re likely to see in some time,” is among those calling for a boycott of the company.

Here’s more from Campion:

To add insult to injury, such anti-Semitic texts as Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion remain within the ranking system while the less offensive books named above [D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, and John Cleland’s Fanny Hill] are considered too “adult.” In other words, if you’re a writer who has written openly about sex, Amazon considers you worse than an anti-Semitic writer who helped initiate pogroms and concentration camps.

Amazon’s side of the story? Publisher Mark Probst received this communication from Amazon:

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 Advantage

For more on this issue, including links and contact information, see Campion’s post.

I have removed the Amazon link from my right sidebar. The Powell’s link remains, and I encourage readers to buy from their local independent bookstore, or else to order from Powell’s.