We're being censored (again). This time by Amazon (again). This article explains it better, but basically what they've done is remove all books marked as erotic from their search engine on the main page. You'll have to type in the exact name of the book to find it, or go into the Kindle section first and then type it in*.
Look, I get that parents don't want their kids to wander off on Amazon and discover erotic content, even though Amazon has already removed the most lewd titles and covers. I'm not even going to go into the whole 'parents are responsible for what their kids see on the internet' thing - we all know that teens will find it if they're looking for it even if the parents are watching (which makes what Amazon is doing pretty pointless). I'm just going to size up a couple of things:
Believe it or not, I used to read outside the m/m scope. I loved YA books - paranormal, mostly. I also read some adults books in the sense that they were non-erotic, but written for adults. One such book was Dexter.
I loved Dexter on TV, so I thought I'd try the book. I wasn't disappointed. He was as lovingly psychotic as he is on TV. The only reason I didn't continue with the books was because I discovered m/m shortly thereafter.
Point one: It's okay for kids to stumble upon books that describe murder as a glorious thing, but it's not okay for them to catch a glimpse of erotic titles.
Earlier this year, a friend convinced me to read a non-m/m YA book. It was a zombie book called Ashes. People who have read my blog know I love post-apoc books, so I was all for it. It was a good book and I was firmly immersed. However, the blood, gore, bone-gnawing, and horror made me shudder more than once. And this is supposed to be for teens!
Point two: It's okay for kids to read splatter books, but heaven forbid they see erotic titles on Amazon!
Come on now, Amazon. You can't just pick and choose!
Now, out of curiosity, I typed in "Grade-A-Sex" (for my story Grade-A-Sex Deal) from the main page and you know what I got? A bunch of sex-education books: What's the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys and How You Are Changing: For Boys Ages 10-12 and Parents (Learning About Sex), for example. Nice.
*Apparently this search engine restriction is only supposed to restrict the search from the main page. I tested this and here's what happened: I went under Kindle Store - Kindle ebooks and typed in "Grade-A-Sex". I got nothing. I then went under Kindle Store - Kindle eBooks - Fiction and typed in my search words and found my book on page 3 while all the titles listed before it didn't have all of those search words in their titles. I had to go all the way under Kindle Store - Kindle eBooks - Fiction - Erotica for Grade-A-Sex Deal to show up on the first page, but even then it's the beneath two other books that don't have "Grade" and "Sex" in their titles. Um, yeah, this censorship doesn't only apply to the main page.
One last thing, check out these covers:
Oh yeah, those are fine by Amazon. They would've scared the crap out of me as a kid (still kind of do). But apparently it's socially acceptable for kids to stumble upon these covers but not on an artful nude.
Oh wait... Here are a couple of nudes that pop up on the first page on Kindle Store - Kindle eBooks "Nude":
Okay...but these are for some kind of art thing. But hey, what's this then on the same first page?
Amazon, you confuse me. Why does this get to go on the first page but not my Grade-A-Sex Deal?
Now that I'm checking, another one of mine that is marked as "erotic" (why-oh-why don't you have an "erotic romance" category?) called Hot Hands doesn't show up on the Kindle Store - Kindle eBooks first page either.
Oh, right, because those above are marked as "Arts and Photography" and not "Erotic"...
Edited to add: I typed in "Fifty" on the Amazon main page and Fifty Shades of Grey popped up before I could type in more. I don't know if it was marked as erotica before and now they've changed it, but despite how it's listed now, it is definitely an erotica. Here's how it is on Amazon now:
Books > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Contemporary Women
Books > Romance > Contemporary
So whoever said that Fifty Shades of Grey couldn't be accessed from Amazon's main page after the changes was wrong (or they were right at the time).
On a side note, I'm seriously thinking about asking my publisher to remove the erotica label if it's okay to label Fifty Shades of Grey as a romance. All my stories are love stories and the sex scenes aren't more erotic than the ones in Fifty Shades (less flowery, perhaps) - you can read small lines and excerpts from Fifty Shades' sex scenes here, but here are a couple of lines:
"“You’re so deliciously wet. God, I want you.” He thrusts his finger inside me, and I cry out as he does it again and again. He palms my clitoris, and I cry out once more."
“I’m going to fuck you now, Miss Steele,” he murmurs as he positions the head of his erection at the entrance of my sex. “Hard,” he whispers, and he slams into me."
"“Aargh!” I cry as I feel a weird pinching sensation deep inside me as he rips through my virginity."
"“Open your mouth,” he commands and thrusts his thumb in my mouth. My eyes fly open, blinking wildly.
“See how you taste,” he breathes against my ear. “Suck me, baby.”"
Highly erotic, wouldn't you say? ^.^ Even Anastasia thinks so:
"I taste the saltiness on his thumb and the faint metallic tang of blood. Holy fuck. This is wrong, but holy hell is it erotic."
I'm not writing this as an if-they-can-I-can-too. I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy and how publishers will start to falsely label books on Amazon now. Also, if Amazon won't hide 50 Shades from their main page - it being a very popular book that's widely known for its eroticism - they're being even more hypocritical, discriminating against books with lesser profiles.
Edited to add links:
Amazon looks pathetic by excluding porn from its search engine (but still selling it) (The original article from where the excerpt posted in the link I provided at the top is).
Revisiting the Censorship of Erotica (General info throughout the years)