When I first learned of amazon.com removing the sales rankings from a large number of glbt books, I felt safe and complacent. After all, the books that lost their rankings were apparently adult-themed. In my eyes, THE PROTECTOR is anything but adult. None of my eleven tags include the words “sex” or “erotic” or “erotica” or “adult.” Boy, was I wrong: The “adult” label wasn’t more than a badly-conceived smokescreen and THE PROTECTOR had indeed been victimized.
How these books that lost their ranks are/were targeted is still a mystery. Tags don’t seem to be the problem. None of my tags indicate whether or not there is any adult (sexual?) content. Friends report that their heterosexually-erotic books are just fine, but their non-erotic gay novels are affected. One small publisher that I heard of had all their books “de-ranked.” Some authors report that only the print versions of their books lost their sales rankings, whereas their Kindle versions are still ranked. Other authors who have different editions of one book with different publishers (think backlist) noticed that only some of their editions lost their sales rankings.
I’m by no means an expert on amazon rankings, but they are important to the search feature that goes with the site. The search and browse features themselves were never all that great (I sure as heck had trouble finding what I was looking for), but they are nevertheless important. In the scheme of things sales rankings are far more important to authors and publishers than readers, because they are tools to gauge publicity efforts, for example.
But unless readers specifically search for author or title, they might not find THE PROTECTOR now.
I don’t care if amazon.com is a private enterprise and as such has the right to sell or not sell whatever they want (within legal limits, of course). All I know is, it looks like my book is actively being treated differently—negatively—than other books, according to amazon.com itself based on its content, and that’s discrimination as far as I am concerned.
If you have an opinion on this, feel free to let amazon.com and the rest of the world know. Blog. E-mail. Fax. Phone. Boycott.