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Old 12-15-2010, 04:22 AM   #1
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Amazon censorship

Not sure if this is the right place for this thread, but I think the censorship issues are important to more than just Kindle readers...

Over at the Self Publishing Revolution blog... Selena Kitt has recently had some of her books pulled from Amazon and readers are finding these same books have gone missing from their on line Kindles archive. The exact reasons are still being figured out and it gets complicated. Amazon is so far refusing to comment but and folks are not getting refunds and one phone rep, at least, has been critical about their choice of reading material. Read it here.

http://theselfpublishingrevolution.b...-business.html

(Yes, I'm leaving out the censored topic on purpose.)

Last edited by dacattt; 12-15-2010 at 04:28 AM. Reason: Correct that books are missing from customers online archive, not their own devices
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dacattt View Post
Not sure if this is the right place for this thread, but I think the censorship issues are important to more than just Kindle readers...

Over at the Self Publishing Revolution blog... Selena Kitt has recently had some of her books pulled from Amazon and readers are finding these same books have gone missing from their on line Kindles archive. The exact reasons are still being figured out and it gets complicated. Amazon is so far refusing to comment but and folks are not getting refunds and one phone rep, at least, has been critical about their choice of reading material. Read it here.

http://theselfpublishingrevolution.b...-business.html

(Yes, I'm leaving out the censored topic on purpose.)
to save others from having to trudge through this, the content in question (claimed by the author) is incest. also (claimed by the author) the content has been removed from archives, not actual kindles.

I have no real comment on this other than that, it you lay down in the gutter, expect to wake up with fleas
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:40 AM   #3
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I'm not sure I agree with the "censorship" assessment, as to me this usually implies suppression of speech by a government, or at least somebody in authority.

If Amazon simply decides not to carry certain erotic books (is there a particular reason we're beating around the bush here?) with content it finds objectionable, that would be their sole decision in my book.

Last edited by rogue_librarian; 12-15-2010 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by rogue_librarian View Post
I'm not sure I agree with the "censorship" assessment, as to this usually implies suppression of speech by a government, or at least somebody in authority.

If Amazon simply decides not to carry certain erotic books (is there a particular reason we're beating around the bush here?) with content it finds objectionable, that would be their sole decision in my book.
yeah, like that
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:02 AM   #5
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It's the reason I avoided the topic originally. And I stick with the word censorship.... especially considering their market-share.

If you read the article, #1, the author isn't even given a reason by Amazon why their books are pulled. They have to figure it out by themselves by comparing who else is getting banned.

#2, there's not an argument that Amazon is then going into the files that users have purchased and removing them there. (Yes, I clarified my original post to say on-line archive.) So, it's not quite the 1984 issue of actually going onto a users personal Kindle, but where does that put users who have purchased the item but don't have it down loaded (like those reading on their phones w/o a Kindle). Is it OK for them to loose their purchased books because Amazon changed their corporate mind-set after the user purchased something from them?

And #3... a few months ago there was an outcry on all sides about a pedophilia book. Well, if this isn't moving the line... to "fantasy erotica" that is careful "no underage contact " is in a book while still dealing with the issue.... that moves the mark.

As one of the comments in the article mentions...
"reminded of Ray Bradbury's book "Fahrenheit 451", where he notes that censorship begins with someone being offended by something and then everyone jumping on the bandwagon, until there is nothing left to read. This book was later banned by some people who found it offensive."


Personally, not interested in erotica beyond an occasional piece of vampire slut, however I am concerned of that movable line when someone else tries to tell me what I can and can't read.... and I know how that line moves.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:09 AM   #6
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until and unless there are other reports of this or an explanation from Amazon (which they ahve always been good about providing), I will withhold speculation.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:15 AM   #7
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To me it's a procedural thing. If they want to draw the line at incest erotica, so be it. However,

1) It would be nice if that line was clear from the start so that the author wouldn't bother publishing that work on Amazon

2) It would be nice to give due notice to the authors involved

3) It would be nice to give notification to the customers who purchased such goods to ensure they either have a chance to archive their purchase or to get a refund.

Regards
Caleb
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:16 AM   #8
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The fact that Amazon is no longer selling the book, well, that's their choice and I have no problems with that.

The fact that they removed it from the archive list from customers, yes, that I do object to. Right now, I have a book in my archive list that is no longer sold (don't ask me why, the Kindle book as simply disappeared as if it never existed). But I can still download it. The end conclusion cannot be anything else but: always download your books, as soon as you can. Even if you only expect to read it online, download it. Even with Amazon.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dacattt View Post
If you read the article, #1, the author isn't even given a reason by Amazon why their books are pulled.
They don't have to. They have no obligation to carry any books in the first place. (Funny how I'm defending Amazon here for once.)

Quote:
... where does that put users who have purchased the item but don't have it down loaded (like those reading on their phones w/o a Kindle).
I'm sure they'll get a refund. These are trivial details to sort out.

Quote:
... to "fantasy erotica" that is careful "no underage contact " is in a book while still dealing with the issue.... that moves the mark.
I'm usually libertarian in these cases: people should read what they want, nobody is forced to. It's still distasteful and offensive to many, though, and if Amazon decides not to carry these books (I don't know their stance on, say, bestiality and other such "taboo" subjects, and I couldn't care less) they have every right not to.

Quote:
... when someone else tries to tell me what I can and can't read...
But they don't. Basically they're telling you "get it from some place else".
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:55 AM   #10
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I don't think this is a deliberate move on Amazon's part. Some of my own titles (from a larger publisher) frequently go missing from the Amazon store; there seems to be an issue with the "Available for sale in the USA" setting getting turned on and off.

And for the record, Amazon rarely responds.

I think it's just a glitch somewhere in their system. They have a massive amount of books, and mistakes happen.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:01 AM   #11
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Oh-oh.

Is Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things" going to disappear, too...?

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Old 12-15-2010, 06:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by dacattt View Post
a few months ago there was an outcry on all sides about a pedophilia book.
It will almost certainly be related to the pedohysteria recently. Ebooks all have a "report inapropriate content" button now, not sure if it was always there or not. There will be a whole army of do-badders busy clicking away on that link on some sort of crusade to rid the world of smut. I doubt anyone at Amazon will do more than read the book blurb, look at the cover, and make a judgement on that.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:50 AM   #13
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I'm usually libertarian in these cases: people should read what they want, nobody is forced to.
Ah, but you are being libertarian. People should also be allowed not to sell what they don't want to.

Bottom line:

1) Is it censorship? No. I see no government enforcement here.

2) Is it in keeping with Amazon's TOS? Yes. They reserve the right to pull anything at any time with no further explanation. If, tomorrow, they decide that sad puppy dog eyes are not in keeping with their corporate image, then sad puppy dog eyes will disappear from CreateSpace.

3) Are the authors being prevented from selling their books? No. They're simply being pulled from Amazon's store. There are plenty of other venues.

4) Is it going to hurt Amazon? Probably not. Arbitrary guidelines and jiggle-gate haven't hurt Apple's app store--and Apple really does have an exclusive.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:12 AM   #14
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To me it is censorship. For me a bookshop is but a conduit, a pipe through which information flows. They should have no say in what I want to read, nor should they be able to make any judgements in what I can or cannot read, I do that for myself.

So, legally they appear to be perfectly entitled to decide what content they will hold, it is their store after all.

Morally, they're going down completely the wrong path if they are to hold themselves arbitars of what I can or cannot read. At what point do they decide to stop, where will they eventually draw the lines ? If they are indeed doing this then to me it is the very essence of censorship.

I've already closed down my Amazon account over their handling of Wikileaks, but if this were true I'd have left them anyway.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:22 AM   #15
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It's the reason I avoided the topic originally. And I stick with the word censorship.... especially considering their market-share.
Censorship is irrelevant unless done by the government. Distasteful actions performed by private companies are best countered by boycotts.

Don't like what they did? Then don't buy their products and let them know why.
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