The Amazon (or #amazonfail - click to see what's happening all over Twitter on this issue) issue gets more complex. While Amazon openly admits they are removing "adult" material from searches and bestseller lists, they have no problem selling many versions of the Hitachi Magic Wand.
Rona commented on my last post and clued me in that mine wasn't an isolated incident. Their exact language, according to Ashlyn D. of Amazon.com Associate Member Services:
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.
There is a petition online, which I'm not signing because in light of my heterosexual erotica books like Yes, Ma'am and He's on Top also losing their Amazon sales rankings, I can't agree with this line:
Please tell us, Amazon, why the explicit books with a heterosexual focus are allowed to keep their sales ratings while the non-explicit romances, the histories and the biographies that deal with LGBTQ issues are not.
Although the petition raises some very good points about treatment of GLBTQ topics/issues versus heterosexual ones.
My take: It's not "censorship" ("the institution, system, or practice of censoring b: the actions or practices of censors ; especially : censorial control exercised repressively" according to Mirriam-Webster). I don't use that word lightly. Amazon is not preventing anyone from purchasing my books, and buying a product is not the same as "free speech." They are just making it harder for their own customers to find products they carry; that's what I don't get. It seems like it'd be better for them to just not sell them in the first place than sell them but try to keep them from doing as well as they could.
This is an Amazon business decision, one I happen to see as an extremely poor decision, and one I don't understand from a business perspective. Then again, I'm constantly told Barnes & Noble hates erotica, so maybe it's time for erotica publishers to look into direct sales and alternative distribution?