Nom du Keyboard writes: Back in April of 2009, with no notice or stated policy, a large swath of LGBT titles suddenly disappeared from Amazon.com. The ensuing uproar soon got them restored with Amazon claiming it was all some sort of never well described, but very selective, glitch. Then in July 2009 Amazon suddenly removed purchased books from customer's Kindles citing a copyright cock-up. Amazon's next trick earlier this year was to remove titles with suggestive covers from their All Departments default search, which is blatant censorship since that is the only search many Amazon customers know how to use. They may have been spooked by this hit piece in Slate. And while those titles seemed to still be available if you know where to drill down in your search, removing then from the most commonly used All Departments default search was blatant censorship in the digital age. You'd almost be tempted to think that Amazon didn't want to be in the book sales business. Now Amazon seems to be at it again regarding adult material – fictional incest stories among others. It is also under discussion on the Amazon forum – for now. With no warning to authors, publishers, or their customers, titles have suddenly disappeared over the weekend, including reports of yanking existing sold books from Kindle via the subterfuge of corrupting the downloaded book, offering a refund, and then refusing the ability to repurchase the title with the refund. These are titles that obviously have a market, some of them doing quite well on the bestseller lists for their genre. So just what is The World's Biggest Bookstore up to now and why are they being so quiet about it? Is it time to celebrate Google Books as the freer Amazon alternative?
Nom du Keyboard writes: It seems that Amazon has embarked on a new policy of quiet bookcover censorship. It's possible that they were spooked by this hit piece in Slate, or there may be some other reason, but bookcovers featuring even tasteful nudity have been removed from the "All Departments" general search. Of course they never made this a public announcement; books just started disappearing from their general search without notice. Authors and publishers are being left with two choices: 1) Redo the cover to remove the nudity. 2) Have your title relegated to only Erotica searches for now. Their alleged excuse is that some minor might accidentally stumble upon an offending cover, but this seems to overlook the obvious fact that even with the cover changed Amazon is still selling the same unaltered content to that, or any other, purchaser. And is this only the first step for them? So far this hasn't apparently spread to other eTailers such as Fictionwise, making it possible to compare erotic titles on the two sites and see the Amazon required censorship in the changed cover art. So how do you feel about Amazon setting these rules for everyone?