A: When it falls into the category of erotica.
See, Amazon doesn’t want to offend the sensibilities of their customers, so the official “Best Sellers in Kindle eBooks” list is set up to exclude erotica. If you find the list via the Amazon homepage, you won’t see all the popular titles.
Right now 50 Shades of Grey is the best-selling ebook in the Kindle Store, but Amazon doesn’t want you to know that. If you haven’t seen this before, click on the next couple links. You’ll see that The Hunger Games is #1 on one list and #2 on the other (as of Saturday afternoon). And in case you don’t notice, romance books are included in the whitewashed lists.
So what’s the difference between the books? One features underage children brutally murdering each other in a fight to the death in post-apocalyptic America, while the other features two adults having consensual sex.
I’m sure some of my readers already knew this, given that even Gizmodo covered it back in 2009. So while this isn’t news, I thought the recent events concerning Paypal and their ban on certain types of erotica (here, here) made Amazon’s subterfuge particularly relevant.
The point I wanted to make here is that the actions of Amazon and Paypal are a sign of just how screwed up our culture really is. Violence is okay, and you can show it on TV at any time. But sex – now that just is just plain icky. Sweep it under the rug.
To be fair, none of this is new. People have been commenting about this aspect of American culture for the longest time. But it’s times like this that we need to take good hard look at ourselves.