City Desk

#Amazonfail: Rankings Now Homophobic?

In light of Vertigo Books' announced closing, there was some disturbing bit of corporate nonsense going on at Amazon.com this weekend. [Every blog post on this subject will probably start with, "Twitter was all over the news that..."]. Apparently, the online bookstore began removing the rankings of gay-themed books. The company replied that it tries to restrict its "adult" content from appearing in some searches and bestseller lists. Sounds like censorship.

Books that have been zapped by Amazon's censors include books by James Baldwin and E.M. Forster. And, well, the Joy of Sex, Running with Scissors, Rubyfruit Jungle, and Bastard Out Of Carolina. Our former arts editor Mark Athitakis has been been doing a great job following this on his twitter account. Booksquare has an open-letter to Amazon that is pretty great. The LA Times has a more complete list of the suddenly de-ranked books.

It's definitely not a glitch in Amazon's system. Gawker thinks hackers might have played a role in this.

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