Monday, April 13, 2009

De-ranked by Amazon

I don't write about it much because it looks like boasting, but I've written a few books (currently on number 10). They are mainly academic books that only a very small number of people will ever read, and tend to be stocked in university libraries. I'll never make much money from writing, although they earn me promotions at work and I like writing them.

About half of my books are about sexuality (mainly homosexuality) and have the word "gay" in the title. The books are on Amazon, although it's been noted that Amazon has a policy of not giving sales rankings for books with "adult" content. This policy seems to have been employed in a rather blanket way, which includes self-help books for gay and lesbian people, academic books, travel guides and gay fiction includin The Well of Loneliness, The Dictionary of Homophobia and Foucault's History of Sexuality. This has the effect of keeping these books out of the public eye.

However, books with heterosexual content like Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds (which contains 600+ pictures of naked women) does get a ranking.

The policy has resulted in most of my books being "de-ranked", although not all - one which contains a linguistic analysis of a pornographic short story has been kept in because the title of the book is relatively innocuous. That's probably the most subversive thing I've written. Not only is the policy unfair, but it's ineffective.

There's a petition set up to object to this, which I've signed. To be honest, I don't really care about my own book rankings, but the policy is biased and wrong.


Lectrice said...

Well said. I'm going to sign that petition now - thanks for drawing attention to it.

KAZ said...

Amazing. To think that Amazon objects to 'The Well of Loneliness' let alone academic texts on sexuality.
And it makes it worse somehow that they can't even take the trouble to get it right.
You may not care about your own book rankings but I do.