Saturday, April 27, 2013

Amazon Excludes Erotica

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)


  1. Fascinating. As an erotic author I'm extremely disappointed with Amazon. Yes they can be very hypocritical. But according to an article in a British newspaper last week - sales of erotic ebooks are up 279%. We're racking in the $$$ for them and they stab u in the back.

  2. I don't get what people are thinking sometimes ..... as a kid I read everything and anything I wanted and sometimes it was a bit above my emotional/mental level but my parents let me read it...but 1. they knew what I was reading and 2. if they felt it was a bit too advanced for me at the age I was at we discussed be honest at 12 if I would have read an erotic novel I would have not finished it as it was not my a parent or an adult in a child's life you are responsible for what they watch/read/Play....My rule has always been if I have not read/watched/Played it and I have questions on weather it is appropriate then the child does not get to read/watch /play it until I is what a responsible parent does

    1. Yes, exactly! Sure, parents may not want nudity thrust up in their children's faces, but that's not going to happen because Amazon never has such covers on their main site. That shouldn't be a reason to exclude the covers from the search engine.

  3. Shared on fb. I hope that's okay.

  4. If they plan on excluding erotica, they haven't done it yet. I just went to Books or Kindle, and typed in the name of one of my books--Sexual Persuasion. Up it came. No matter how I typed it, the book came up. I sincerely doubt they will eliminate erotica from the main search engine. The genre makes them too much money. But I've been wrong before. Once. :-)

    1. Sexual Persuasion is marked as:

      Books > Literature & Fiction
      Books > Romance

      Mine is marked as:

      Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica
      Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Erotica

      The search engine used to suggest the rest of the title when I typed in "Grade-A-Sex" (it came with the "Deal" as well) and the book would show up on the first page. Same with Hot Hands, which doesn't show up on any of the 20 pages to search through from the main site (it used to come up on the first page), so they've changed something.

      I would suggest it was because mine are marked under Erotica, but then your "The Escort" does show up in the search engine. However, the Kindle version is marked under:

      Books > Literature & Fiction
      Books > Romance > Contemporary
      Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Contemporary

      ...while the paperback version is marked under:

      Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica

      That *could* be why.

      According to the article linked in the post (and another I read before it), they already made this change over a weekend and without a warning.

      In the comments on the article I linked, Zoe Perdita said:

      "Some of my erotica titles are filtered but some aren't, although they’re all in the erotica category."

      I don't know how they choose...