Amazon, World Adult Content Police?

This post originally appeared on Adele Journal on 5/23/13. Note that it is on the topic of book listing challenges faced by authors of erotica and other adult-oriented fiction, and the full article (link at the end of this excerpt) may include content that’s NSFW and inappropriate for children.

There’s a new sheriff in town, but I was quite happy with the land being lawless. Because, you know, us settlers were pretty good at regulating ourselves. From recent events, it’s clear to me, at least, that Amazon is trying to take control of the wilderness that is electronic publishing.

In retrospect, it shouldn’t be that surprising. They did make the Kindle, after all, and were pretty successful in making their name synonymous with ebooks for the general, mainstream public. But at the time, it didn’t look like Amazon was taking anything away from the ebook-reading people, just making it more available.

Now, they’re starting to impose their order on the wider landscape of all e-publishers, both amateur and professional, and they are taking things away from us.


The Amazon Adult Dungeon

If you haven’t heard of this, the Adult Dungeon is what some erotica authors are calling it when Amazon internally labels a work as “adult.” In itself, this is not problematic, as most erotica authors do a damn good job of laying out warnings and content labels in their descriptions. But when a work gets put into the Adult Dungeon, it is no longer searchable. If you search specifically for the title and author, you will not find it.

Nor will it get recommended in the “Customers who bought X also bought…”

They essentially blacklist any book thrown in their Adult Dungeon. They don’t tell the authors they’re doing this, and they don’t tell the readers, either. It’s done behind the backs of everyone involved. Amazon is taking away your right, as a grownup reader, to make your own decisions about what to read. Or, they think you can’t control your (non-mainstream) sexual imagination, so they feel like it’s their place to do it for you.

(This is also what happened, apparently, a few years ago, when they “mistakenly” marked all LGBT related books as ADULT. Of course, they claimed that it was a “glitch…”)

Author Selena Kitt points out — quite rightly — that erotica readers created the Kindle market. Why does anyone want an e-reader? For a private reading experience.


Click here to read the full post on Adele Journal.