Puget Sound English Department

April 13, 2009

Amazon.com Controversy

james20baldwin(image: James Baldwin)

 

 

Of interest to writers and readers is a controversy springing from amazon.com’s having erased the sales-rankings from some books written by gay and lesbian writers. 

Spokespersons from amazon.com have contended that the erasure was accidental and resulted from a technical “glitch,” but an author claims that the alleged “glitch” lasted for several months and that amazon.com’s database had classified some books by gay and lesbian writers as “adult” without regard for the actual content of the books.

According to reports, authors whose books were affected by the erasure included James Baldwin, Gore Vidal, and Jeanette Winterson.  Specifically, Baldwin’s novel Giovanni’s Room had its sales-rank erased for a time (for example), as did Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

Here is a link to more information about the topic:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090413/ap_on_en_ot/books_amazon

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