Amazon blames 'glitch' for delisted gay and lesbian themed books

Earlier today several folks on blogs and on Twitter began noting that books with gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual themes were removed from Amazon.com searches, sales-rank feature and bestseller lists, including the award-winning graphic novel Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

According to a story on Publishers Weekly, this occurred due to a glitch in its sales ranking feature "that was in the process of being fixed." Fun Home's sales rank has returned, but many other books are still missing it.

Amazon also told PW that they didn't have an adult policy that led to the de-listings, which is contrary to the responses people have received from Amazon's customer-service department. Novelist Mark Probst first noted the removal on his blog, as he had contacted Amazon.com earlier this week when his books lost their sales ranks. A reply from Amazon read: "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."

Comics retailer Chris Butcher notes several books that are still being included in Amazon's rankings and searches, including Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds and the sexually explicit graphic novel Lost Girls. Meanwhile, non-explicit books with gay themes and historical non-fiction about homophobia lost their sales rankings. An online petition in protest of Amazon's adult policy has also been started.

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