Kristina Lloyd

Erotic Fiction Author

Amazon sales ranking and censored erotica charts

adultfictionuk_x

If you’re an erotica writer, you might have been wondering where your Amazon sales ranking has disappeared to these last few days. Me too. To be honest, I wasn’t unduly concerned at first; I thought it was an Amazon glitch that would be rectified soon enough.

It seems not. Amazon have stripped erotica, erotic romance and LGBT fiction of their sales rankings. (Update: that’s not just LGBT smut; that’s non-explicit LGBT fiction.) Check out this LJ post from Mark Probst. As Mark reports, Amazon say:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

This is utterly scandalous, not to mention farcical. In excluding Amazon’s designated ‘adult material’ from, say, mainstream fiction charts, the non-ranking scheme also excludes adult fiction from, um, the adult fiction charts! Amazon UK currently has 2 (count em!) books in the whole of its Adult Fiction Charts, both out of print (see top image – apols for quality). Amazon UK’s Erotica Charts now features primarily graphic novels and a motley assortment of smut that has clearly just slipped through Amazon’s net.

Asking for Trouble has topped Amazon’s UK erotica charts, an achievement I sometimes use in my marketing. And now I find my erotic novels are disqualified from the erotica charts because they are erotic? Wtf?

It’s shocking that Amazon are treating erotic fiction differently to all other fiction; that they are happy to profit from our sales but would rather brush us under the carpet.

I’m still poking around with this one. If anyone has any more insights, info or rage, please share. I intend to write to Amazon. I’m going to let my publisher, Virgin (Random House) know because I’m damn sure their marketing dept won’t be happy. And I’m not sure what else to do. But you can bet your bottom dollar, I won’t be buying anything else from Amazon until they start treating erotic and LGBT fiction with some respect. In particular, this de-ranking of LGBT fiction is beyond the pale.

UPDATE: Erastes has addresses and a petition going. Please sign and spread the word.

UPDATE 2: Some books that have been de-ranked – lots of LGBT fiction for the chop, not even ‘adult’. Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson, ffs! Books on lesbian pregnancy!

UPDATE 3: Amazon Rank (Google bomb!)

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April 12, 2009 - Posted by | Kristina Lloyd

11 Comments »

  1. In the U.S. that appears to infringe upon my first amendment rights. Freedom of speach and everything that falls under its umbrella.

    Keep us posted, Kristina. I’m sure we’d all be willing to write letters to amazon.com about this ridiculous and annoyingly wrong situation.

    Comment by khathaway | April 12, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for drawing attention to this outrage, KL. I’m spreading the word on my blog, too.

    Comment by Jeremy Edwards | April 12, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thanks, folks. There seems a very heavy homophobic element to this de-ranking. The more info that’s coming through, the worse it gets.

    Hope you’ll check out my updates and sign the petition.

    Comment by kristinalloyd | April 12, 2009 | Reply

  4. I have also been following this on Abby Lee’s twitter posts.
    http://twitter.com/girlonetrack
    I have cancelled all my outstanding orders with Amazon. It is interesting to note that Plaboy DVDs are still ranked.

    Comment by pierre l | April 12, 2009 | Reply

  5. I just saw AL’s tweet-rage, Pierre. Looks like Ch 4 news might pick up on it which would be awesome. Amazon are surely going to have to back down on this one.

    Comment by kristinalloyd | April 12, 2009 | Reply

  6. Just an FYI and clarification: I spoke of first amendment rights and was eluding to censorship earlier. This is not an infringement on those rights.

    I’m obviously disappointed, outraged, and overall sick to my stomach about Amazon’s business decision.

    I’m keeping my eye’s peeled on this development and if and how it further escalates.

    Thank you once again, Kristina for posting and pulling me into the loop on the subject.

    Comment by Neve Black | April 12, 2009 | Reply

  7. YES I hope C4 news carry this. Amazon already have a PR disaster on their hands via Twitter – do they really want to lose their gay clientele, not to mention the large and loyal erotic/romance contingent? Not a good business decision in any climate.

    Comment by Justine Elyot | April 12, 2009 | Reply

  8. Looks like CH4 will be running the story tonight. Zoe M might be interviewed.

    Comment by kristinalloyd | April 13, 2009 | Reply

  9. have you seen

    this , Kristina?

    Comment by ste | April 14, 2009 | Reply

  10. Well, I guess you’ve all seen the ’embarrassed explanation’ by now. It still seems fishy and inadequate to me – and so far I haven’t heard an actual apology from Amazon.

    The way they’ve handled this – and their failure to appreciate how much they’ve offended people – means I’m one of the many who’ve lost faith in the company.

    Comment by kristinalloyd | April 14, 2009 | Reply

  11. Also, I’ve got my rankings back in the US but not in the UK.

    Comment by kristinalloyd | April 14, 2009 | Reply


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