Statement by Amazon

In response to a media inquiry initiated by the LISNews Netcast Network, the following statement was provided by Director of Corporate Communications Patty Smith in response to the questions over the recent Amazon situation:

This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.

It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon’s main product search.

Many books have now been fixed and we’re in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.

Bookstore Display: Books Amazon Doesn't Want You to Read

"We have put up our display of 'Books Amazon Doesn't Want You to Read.'"--@Vromans tweet in reaction to Amazon's de-ranking of LGBTQ books (Shelf Awareness, April 13, 2009).

In a subsequent bookstore blog post titled, "Amazonfail & The Cost of Freedom" Vroman's observed that "independent publisher sales rep John Mesjak put it best when he tweeted this statement: 'I haven't read all of #amazonfail, so I am likely repeating, but my takeaway: this S#!T happens with monoculture gatekeepers. "

Amazon Says It Will Correct Its Search Function has generated a dustup over the way it filters adult books. Books with any gay content at all — racy or not — no longer have a sales ranking. That makes those titles more difficult to find using Amazon's search function. Amazon says it is fixing the problem.

Story on NPR

Amazon stripping sales ranking from gay & lesbian books

Writers of gay romance noticed, over the past few days, that books in the "Gay Romance" category have disappeared from the best-seller list in that category. Publisher and author Mark Probst, whose book, "The Filly" is a gay young-adult book without explicit content, queried Amazon. This is what they said to him:

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.
Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.
Best regards,
Ashlyn D
Member Services Advantage

The Livejournal community
is tracking this and accumulating data, some of which follows. -- Read More

Talking Kindle on Buzz Out Loud

The team presenting Buzz Out Loud at CNET talked about not only the Kindle but also Library Journal in their Good Friday 2009 episode. Such can be found here. The discussion starts approximately 22 minutes in.

As for giving them feedback from library professionals, their contact details state: "Send us buzz at or call us at 1-800-616-CNET (2638)".

Authors have lost the plot in Kindle battle

Cory Doctorow says Amazon's Kindle 2 text-to-speech feature is not so much violating authors' copyright but rather basic consumer rights.

Dropping $359 (£251) on a device whose features are subject to the outcomes of ongoing negotiations to which you are not a party is, frankly, nuts. Would you buy a car if it was known that your air-conditioner and stereo system could be remotely disabled?

Western Union Now Offers Gift Card Claim Codes

If you are off the grid and do not have a credit card but you want to buy something at Amazon here is an option.

The Western Union Company today announced that consumers can now purchase Gift Card claim codes with cash at its U.S. Agent locations. The service offers a convenient and appealing solution for those wishing to make purchases on without using a credit card. Consumers can purchase Gift Card claim codes at any of the more than 44,000 Western Union Agent locations in the United States. The Gift Card claim codes allow the customer to purchase millions of items in over 40 product categories on

Full press release here.

Amazon to Close Three Distribution Centers

Apparently, today’s a good day for bad news, with Google laying off 200 employees, our own cutbacks here at The NY Times, and now, weighing in with some cost-cutting of its own. Over the next two months, the online retailer will close three distribution centers: in Red Rock, Nev.; Munster, Ind.; and Chambersburg, Pa.

The 210 employees in those three facilities were informed Wednesday. They will get severance packages and an opportunity to transfer to other Amazon shipping locations.

Full story here.

Made my first Kindle-based offering

Well, I wrote a new blog post over at the Erie Looking Productions blog talking about current operations. Such was also put on the Kindle platform at the price point of 99 cents. Hopefully such renders okay.

A separate item is not quite available yet.

Apparently there is a program where bloggers can earn revenue through offering subscriptions to their blog posts via Kindle?

Interactive Fiction on the Kindle? Not Yet.

Interactive fiction (or text adventures) seem like a natural fit on Amazon's ebook device, but IF author Howard Sherman finds it a tough nut to crack.

Says Sherman, "The issue boils down to the Kindle being locked up tighter than the technical design plans to the NEXT iPhone Apple is working on. There’s no easy way in there. Even though Kindle runs in a Linux environment it’s far from an open plane to deliver outside titles on. "

Full story here: Interactive Fiction on the Kindle

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