Monday, April 13, 2009


I'm not sure what the whole story is on the #amazonfail situation over the weekend. I've been reading the news  and the blogs and cannot figure out exactly what has happened, with what intent, and by whom. Here is a post and a media memo post about the issue.  

As a librarian and a bookseller I believe that limiting what information people can easily find is a form of censorship. The possibility that has limited searchability of titles they has deemed "adult" is frightening.  

As a small business owner who has made the investment and commitment to sell on the platform I am concerned about this on a different level.  Reading In Montana is joined at the hip to, in terms of marketing, branding, sales, and policy decisions such as this one.  Reading in Montana is not  The decision to remove sales rankings from books because of content is not a good business decision much less a good moral decision. 

I sell on because I believed that anyone could find any book one wanted there quickly and without judgement.  Every book a reader, every reader a book. Now I'm not so sure.

This evening when I do a quick search "homosexuality" the first book that pops up on the sales rank influenced results list is "A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality," I have to wonder what books are not showing up because they have been stripped of their sales rank and if a more queer positive and understanding title might have shown up in that search.   And well since I don't know the title of the book I'm looking for I don't know that I could find it on amazon.  The endless possibilities have been now become limited.

Amazon has issued a statement, an apology of sorts.  The whole situation is now a "ham-fisted cataloging error."  The censorship issue becomes yet another technical glitch.  I hope and other such giants have been taking notes.
Catherine @ Reading In Montana

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