The Amazon.com rumors Alison mentioned this morning seem to be true - authors of books about LGBT issues or characters were shocked this weekend to find their books' sales rankings disappeared from the site. A new policy at Amazon shifted many LGBT books into the "adult books" category, which the site bans from bestseller lists and some searches.
A publisher quoted on Gizmodo wrote to Amazon to find out what happened to his romance novel The Filly and received this reply:
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.
The author irately pointed out that many books about straight romances (The Love Dare, Nora Roberts) remain unsegregated into adults-only sections.
The Twitterers and blogs are screaming "censorship!"... While removing LGBT works from mainstream view is not the reason behind the policy change, it is the result to a certain extent. Search for "homosexuality" on Amazon and the top six returns are anti-gay handbooks like Can Homosexuality be Healed? and A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. The same search on Powell's.com brings up five queer-friendly novels and the book What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality , which concludes the Bible doesn't really condemn gays. While the Portland crowd might be tipping Powell's rankings somewhat, those differences are profound.