Censorship. It's an ugly enough word to make anyone shudder, especially in relation to banning books (at least for us).
If you haven't yet heard of the #amazonfail movement you're either
1) in a chocolate-bunny-induced coma, or
2) don't own a computer.
Either one of those and you probably won't care about this post. However, there are many people that are up in arms about (what seems) Amazon's censorship on some books the company deems questionable.
To give some background, a few days ago authors and readers started to notice that some of their favorite books were no longer showing up on Amazon searches. In brief, the books had been deranked by Amazon (and books with no rankings don't show up on Amazon). The reason? Amazon categorized them to have "adult content" (a definition of which no one seems to be able to extract from Amazon). Some of the books had gay and lesbian content. Some were romance novels. Some were young adult books. The LA Times did a great article on this. Head on over for the full details.
Anyway, the word spread quickly online via Twitter and the #amazonfail movement was created. Now we're hearing a lot of grumblings about people boycotting Amazon.
The unlucky victims in this?
Independent bookstores who use Amazon as their vehicle to sell books - either via an Amazon webstore or individual listings on Amazon.
Why do we care?
We're one of them. Our website is run through Amazon as a Webstore and it's our main venue for selling books.
After initially building a site and then realizing that it was going to take time-consuming conversions to work with our POS software, we had to make a switch to an Amazon site. And here we are, an Amazon seller.
And now we're stuck in the crossfire.
You wouldn't know that our site is an Amazon store until you get to checkout, where you're asked to login to your Amazon account. Now we're being told that people aren't going to buy from Amazon, which ultimately means they aren't going to buy from us.
We understand how upset you are. We disagree with censorship, too. It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree with the content of these books. We aren't asking you to discard your views and disregard what Amazon is doing. What we do ask is that you reconsider your boycott when shopping with independent bookstores, like us, who run their site through Amazon out of budgetary necessity.
There are other ways to fight this (just Google #amazonfail and you'll find pages of ways or visit this blog - Warning: the blog contains explicit language). And just maybe these other ways won't sacrifice the unassuming independent bookstores for a decision over which they had no control.