desayunoencama: (Default)
[personal profile] desayunoencama
Amazon in the US continues making moral judgments, in this case censoring an image of two lesbians kissing (nothing more!) on the cover of this UK lesbian erotica book by Charlotte Cooper.

Compare these two links: (US) (UK)


Update: Same censored cover on B&

I'm afraid the bigots are learning to manipulate the system too well.

And the systems are flawed and open to this sort of external manipulation.

(If you look at "Customers Who Bought Related Items Also Bought" on Amazon, the titles are all noxious things like COMING OUT STRAIGHT, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE GAY, CAN HOMOSEXUALITY BE HEALED?, etc.)

Date: 2009-04-18 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not to be an apologist for Amazon, but maybe the US release had a different cover?

Date: 2009-04-18 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

It seems to be the same edition, being sold as an import on the UK site: the ISBNs are identical on the two sites, and on the UK site the book's being sold only through Amazon Marketplace.

I think Lawrence is right. This is absolutely incredible. (Not that he's right! That should be such idiots.)

Date: 2009-04-18 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Actually, it's the other way around: it's a UK title from the book publishing division of UK lesbian magazine DIVA that was distributed in the US. But there's only one edition of the book.

Same censored cover on Amazon, so it looks like bigoted hackery or manipulation of the system. (At same time, Amazon & B&N guilty of flawed system that's able to be manipulated or hacked this way!)

Date: 2009-04-18 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Almost all the copies on the UK site are being sold from the US: see Hence my assumption.

Whatever: as you say, it's the same edition.

Date: 2009-04-18 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Besides the cover, the books that come up for me in the "Customers who bought related items also bought" section are: You Don't Have to Be Gay; Bringing Up Boys (by James C. Dobson, founder of the anti-gay Focus on the Family); Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality; and Can Homosexuality Be Healed?


Date: 2009-04-18 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd call it noxious, Becky.
Someone obviously bought the book in order to censor the cover. For whatever reason they chose this title to pick on--and who knows however many more. Maybe someone with a stronger stomach can click on CAN HOMOSEXUALITY BE HEALED? and see what gay titles were also bought; no doubt they'll have been altered or deranked or something...

Date: 2009-04-18 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In going back to the book's page, I realized that I'd only looked at the first four "also-boughts." When I arrowed to the others, there were titles like Brokeback Mountain and Rubyfruit Jungle, as well.

I checked on all the "noxious" titles, and no GLBT-friendly titles come up as "also-boughts" in their first four to twelve listings. I'm assuming (without any foundation; just a guess) it's because the titles that would come up there would be those most frequently bought.

I suppose if some "faith-based" group wants to buy GLBT titles just to manipulate this kind of information, it weirdly benefits the authors. I wonder what such buyers would then do with GLBT-friendly books they purchased?

The easiest GLBT titles to target, if there were such a goal, would be those with the lowest sales. Take an old title like Peter McGehee's Sweetheart, with its sales rank of 5 million. A few people buying it along with other titles like the Dobson books could probably create this situation.

The numbers and referrals can be manipulated from the opposite side as well, though I can't imagine buying one of the hate titles along with a book I really want--not only don't I have that kind of discretionary income, but I wouldn't give a dime to any of those writers.

I don't see how this situation can be avoided without removing the suggested selling capability, and I can't imagine any retailer doing that.

I do, however, think that publishers are the ones who usually provide the cover art to online booksellers. It seems unaltered cover art could be provided by either the publisher or the author to Amazon, whereupon Amazon can and should use the real cover.

Date: 2009-04-18 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]


Laughed aloud!

Date: 2009-04-18 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I notice Amazon doesn't even sell the book directly. It's only available through their marketplace sellers. The fact that Barnes & Noble has the same censored cover suggests that is wasn't Amazon's doing but rather came from the publisher.

Mark R. Probst

Date: 2009-04-18 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Mark, it is likely from the SELLER, not the publisher, which is in the UK; there is no separate US edition, although the UK book was distributed in the US (the same as if your THE FILLY was available in the UK from your own company).

It is still problematic that their systems (collectively) can be manipulated in this way by external sellers actively censoring works they find morally objectionable.

Date: 2009-04-18 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll stand corrected on that. As I have never been a Marketplace seller, I didn't know sellers had the option of contributing images. I know that CUSTOMERS can share their own images, but that isn't the case here as it is not a customer image.

Date: 2009-04-18 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I mentioned in a comment above that either the author or publisher should submit unaltered cover art to Amazon and/or B&N and see if this gets fixed.

Date: 2009-04-20 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's a great idea. I will do that.

Date: 2009-04-18 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] has the censored image, but the "Customers who bought this also Bought" titles are a wide range including other queer materials.


Date: 2009-04-18 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here on a tip from [ profile] pameladean. That's fascinating and disturbing. The explanation that a seller is pulling shenanigans makes sense, but it goes to show just how much thought and energy people are willing to put into censoring Amazon.

If they are just using Amazon's automated systems, rather than actually convincing Amazon to censor the image, it seems like they'd have to do it before a real image had gone up. If so, then they're actually doing this proactively, rather than seeing something they don't like on the site and responding.

By the way, here's a simple demonstration showing that Amazon is still singling out gay and lesbian topics. Go to the home page and start typing in a search for something like "laptop computer", and the site will suggest possible completions of the subject as you type. Now start typing in "gay biography" or "lesbian novel" and see how this autocompletion feature switches off right after you type the space. Searches beginning with "sex" or "pornography" are not given this treatment.

Someone tried to point this out on Bilerico back on the 13th, but people didn't understand the description of the issue well enough to reproduce it. I haven't seen anyone mention it since.
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 11:52 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios