Amazon de-ranks hundreds of books, including Foucault

Seems Amazon has a new policy of de-ranking books they deem to have “adult” (erotic or sexual) content, including many non-fiction books (a list here, also see a community-created listing of books on Amazon itself).

The importance of this is that de-ranked books will no longer appear in search lists, or rankings (eg the top 100 list, or bestseller lists) no matter their popularity. I confirmed that Foucault’s History of Sexuality Vol 1 no longer has a ranking. Meanwhile “Discipline and Punish,” which features descriptions of physical violence and torture still has a ranking (#4,799 bestselling book).

Apart from the fact that excluding books is a bad idea in the first place, the result has been to seemingly bias exclusions of gay-themed books even if they contain no erotica. “Censored” books incluide:

Annie Proulx Brokeback Mountain
Randy Shilts The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (now an Oscar-winning movie)
Epistemology of the Closet by Eve Kosofsky Hedgwick
Queer Theory: An Introduction by Annamarie Jagose
The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life by Michael Warner
The Transgender Studies Reader: transgender theory:
Up From Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America by Larry Gross

As well as numerous books of fiction.

For more info, including a petition, see here.


3 Responses

  1. Yet another good reason not to purchase from Amazon.

  2. […] weiterführenden Links im Literary Saloon finden, aber auch (und besonders schrullig) beim Foucault Blog. Inzwischen gibt es aber bei noch ganze zwei Bücher mit dem f-Tag, und bei […]

  3. So many months ago, when this happened, I couldn’t even begin to understand. I still don’t. Makes no sense. I don’t think it makes sense even to whoever made the decision, it’s….surreal.

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