13 April 2009


So... the internet, especially Twitter, is all a buzz with the news that Amazon has removed the sales rank from all lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender titles. What this means is that gay books are now excluded from showing up in bestseller lists, and turn up down the bottom of search lists (if at all).

But what hardly anyone is talking about (yet) is that books to do with disability and sexuality have had their rank stripped too.

Books like Tom Shakespeare et al's sociology text book "The Sexual Politics of Disability". "The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability" has also been de-ranked.

The story is starting to crop up in news articles all over the world, and most articles are citing Twitter. There have also been petitions set up protesting against Amazon's effective censorship of LGBT titles. But none of these mention that us crips are getting censored too.

If you tweet, do mention something about Amazon de-ranking books on disability and sexuality also. And make sure you use the hashtag "#amazonfail"

ETA: This of course isn't the only recent disability-related Amazon fail: http://is.gd/qC8W

ETA2: This blog post explains the importance of literature on disability and sexuality. There's also another blog post on the issue here.

ETA3: Disabled people seem to be taking a double whammy in this whole thing. First our books get de-ranked. And then the mainstream press fails to acknowledge us when writing about this. It doesn't matter if it's a glitch, a new policy, or a hack - the press should be representing us.

ETA4: Amazon have apologised and said "that the de-ranking was not limited to gay and lesbian titles.... In fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as health, mind and body, reproductive and sexual medicine." Hmmm. "Health and mind and body" - their way of saying "disability" and trying to reassure LGBT customers that it wasn't just us (I say "us" wearing my lesbian hat. And I do actually have a hat that apparently makes me look very dykey). What the press still aren't picking up on was that, yes, it wasn't just LGBT titles, it was disability titles too. I even Emailed The Guardian and asked them to even give a sentence to the fact that it affected disability titles too. They haven't.


  1. Thanks for blogging this -- I've now posted your link onto my Facebook page. If those of us with facebook accounts can do the same thing, that can help spread the word. Disability advocates, of course, can also participate in the new facebook group called (of course) Amazonfail.

  2. I posted it on Twitter. I'm disgusted by this.

  3. Anonymous3:35 am

    Tried a search: the Kindle version of "The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability" still shows up.

    Neither original title appears in search results.

  4. Anonymous4:16 am

    Amazon.com users are using the tagging feature to mark items with 'amazonfail' and vote on affected items so people know where to find them. I've just added the books you mentioned to the list. I encourage anyone with an existing amazon.com account to go and vote on the tags, so they move up the list and more people become aware of them.

  5. Anonymous4:04 pm

    I've posted the following tweet. Others can feel free to copy/paste the following text into their twitter.com, too. It links to both this post here and also to Kateryna Fury's post:

    #amazonfail on #disability too. Please RT both http://is.gd/s5I6 and http://is.gd/s5Xr #glitchmyass #glbt #disabled

  6. Anonymous4:04 pm

    Thank you for posting this!

  7. Thanks for posting this. I've just linked to it on Facebook.

  8. Anonymous5:22 pm

    Glad people are noticing. Ironically, I didn't know that book existed and now I'm probably going to buy it from an independent bookseller. :)

  9. Anonymous7:43 pm

    HT mentioned that: http://hilarytamar.dreamwidth.org/50825.html

    I've gone beyond outrage into this sort of stunned disbelief.

  10. Anonymous8:11 pm

    I did notice the books you mentioned when I looked over the list this morning, looking for books that might appear to be "adult" but that are really STUPID to limit access to. Whilst spreading the word about this in general (since not just geeks need to hear abut this) I pointed out the number of books designed to help people that had been stripped of their rankings.

    I believe that it was the GLBT books that were first noticed and whilst other groups have been affected, because they weren't the first or the most vocal, this has all still been labelled an GLBT thing. But your point does go to show that troll on livejournal taking credit really is a troll.

  11. Thanks so much for this post--I've linked to it also.

  12. Anonymous12:51 am

    I wasn't going to blog about #Amazonfail, until you made this post. Thanks for it, I linked to it, too.

  13. I heard this from some friends. Apparently books on feminism are being excluded too.

  14. Incredible. I've been not-really-online for a while, so I've not heard about this. Shakespeare's 'Sexual Politics of Disability' is a really good bit of sociology, while the 'Ultimate Guide' was personally important to me when I became physically impaired. All a bit rubbish really. Have Amazon reinstated the books, at least?

  15. Kateryna Fury at Textual Fury is trying to work on a more detailed list of disability books that have been affected, but competing obligations on her time have been slowing down her work. Other people who have a few minutes to spare are needed to help out by looking up a few disability titles you know of and sharing the results. You can post in the comments area at her blog to ensure she sees it for her list:

    http://textualfury.wordpress.com/2009/04/12/amazonfail/(Or, perhaps Lisy Babe would also welcome the information here as well)

    The sales rank for a book is usually provided (if it's there) near the bottom of the page. Also check how easy it is to search for the book. With de-ranked books, it appears you often have to specify that you're looking for a book before the Amazon search engine will even "see" it. And sometimes you have to try other convolutions in your search too.

    Also twitter books you find at twitter.com use hashtags #amazonfail #stilldelisted #disability


    #amazonfail affects [book title] #stilldelisted #disability

    As for me, I'm afraid I have my own competing time commitments -- I may end up unplugging myself from the internet altogether just to force myself to focus on homework, *sigh*

  16. I found this through metafandom on Livejournal. I haven't been deeply invovled in (reading about) the Amazon issue, but regardless of what happens I wanted to thank you because I didn't know that Sexual Politics of Disability was even available to buy and now I'm definitely going to get me a copy. Somehow.