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Amazon begins to re-rank affected ‘adult’ books; theories swirl

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UPDATED, 3:03 p.m. Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener sent us the following statement, blaming the entire situation on a ‘cataloging error’:

This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.

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It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles - in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon’s main product search.

Many books have now been fixed and we’re in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.

The unexplained de-ranking of books on Amazon.com this weekend kindled an inferno of Internet outrage, the likes of which is seen only a couple of times a year. Meanwhile Twitter has shown that if you’re looking to start a righteous conflagration, there’s no better way to quickly add ten thousand twigs to the fire.


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