Okay, so as of today the prevailing winds of opinion on the Net appear to be hitting three major points:
It’s nice that Amazon did acknowledge their error, although from scattered reports I’m picking up, not everybody has had their previous sales rankings restored. I have not yet been able to confirm any specific de-ranked books that haven’t been restored, myself.
It’s not nice that Amazon hasn’t actually come right out and said “we’re really, really sorry about this, yes, this was a screwup of the highest order”. I’ve seen at least one author outright demanding an apology since her writing is her only source of income, and Amazon screwing this up therefore adversely affected her.
It’s also not nice that the mechanism for hiding items globally is there to begin with. Charles Stross ably expressed concerns about this over here.
So as I was waiting for Norwescon to wind down, I settled in to hang out in the lobby and check in online. And I found that the Internet has apparently exploded this afternoon. Yeah yeah yeah, I hear you say, isn’t the Internet always exploding about something or other?
This one, though, is personal. They’re calling it #amazonfail on Twitter, and here’s the sitch: apparently Amazon has started de-ranking books on “adult” topics. This has the effective result of making books so quantified very, very hard to find on the site; it’s the equivalent of pulling them off the shelves in a physical bookstore and forcing people to go to the Customer Service desk to ask for copies.
The problem? By “adult”, they’re including a whole host of GBLT-themed books, many of which aren’t “adult” in theme at all, such as Heather Has Two Mommies and John Barrowman’s autobiography. To add insult to injury, if you search for “homosexuality” on Amazon right now, the top hit is something called A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. Books of similar nature also show up in the top ten search results.
And this hits me where it hurts. Those of you who have read Faerie Blood know that two of the second-tier characters are a male couple, and should I get to write Books 2 and 3, chances are good that a couple of the other second-tier, female characters will form a couple as well. So if this policy of Amazon’s remains in place by the time Faerie Blood comes out, it’s certainly possible that you’d have a hard time finding the book there.
While I respect the principle of needing to be careful with adult content on a site that can be searched by minors, I am deeply offended that what’s getting called “adult” in this case is so blatantly discriminatory. I’ll be telling them as much, and I’ll be prepared to take my business elsewhere if this policy does not reverse itself pronto.