I was surfing the Internet this morning when I came across this post about amazon.com. The author wrote the following letter to Amazon.com
I’m a pretty open-minded sort, but there are limits beyond which decent merchants should not go–such as offering a book like Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers. I appreciate that the Amazon.com review was pretty hostile, but do you really need the tiny profit that you make selling this book?
If a publisher asked you to sell a book about how rape is actually a good thing for rapist and victim, would you sell it? What about a book encouraging the torture of children? How about a book promoting genocide as a net positive for the human race? Are there depths that Amazon.com won’t dive down to in the pursuit of a profit? If so, why do you consider it necessary to promote this sort of destruction of the innocence of children?
I wrote you a few months back, when I first saw that you were selling this apology for child molestation. I assumed that you had this book on our your list because you hadn’t thought this through. I see that you are still selling it. Why? You don’t sell every book that’s offered. Paladin Press published a book some years ago about how to be a contract killer, and you don’t seem to carry that. So why carry a book that tries to justify molesting children?
I have an Amazon.com Honor System Account with you that has made a bit of money for both of us; over the last few years, my wife and I have bought many hundreds of dollars worth of books, perhaps thousands of dollars worth of books from you. If you are still offering Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers at the end of this month, you will never see another penny from me.
I would prefer to keep doing business with Amazon.com. I at least would like some explanation for why you consider it so important to offer a book like this that you are prepared to drive away a long-time customer. Please ask Jeff Bezos to explain why the paltry profit you make on a book like this justifies putting Amazon.com into the sewer of human depravity.
To sumarize, we have a guy who has dealt with Amazon.com quite a bit. He had one of those refer systems set up where both parties make a bit of money. He found something he disagreed with that the company does and sent them an e-mail asking about it.
He received the following response back from Amazon.com:
Thank you for writing to Amazon.com with your concern.
Let me assure you, Amazon.com does not endorse “Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers.” Simply because we sell a book does not mean we agree with the ideas it contains. If you will look at our site, you will see that we have posted a review of the book by one of our editors which is highly critical of the ideas expressed in Mr. Riegel’s book.
Please know that, contrary to rumors that have been circulating around the Internet, this book is not a “how-to” manual for molesting children. The author simply expresses his point of view about what he feels are “misunderstood” relationships between men and boys.
We believe that people have the right to choose their own reading material. Our goal is to support freedom of expression and provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any title they might be seeking.
That selection includes some titles which most people, including employees of Amazon.com, may find distasteful or otherwise objectionable. However, Amazon.com believes it is censorship to make a book unavailable to our customers because we believe its message to be repugnant.
While we do not censor items from our web site, I wanted to reassure you that Amazon.com does not promote these kinds of titles.
We value all feedback from our customers, and I thank you again for taking the time to send us your comments about this issue.
Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question
The author goes on to state that
It resolved the question for me. No more purchases from Amazon.com. My wife just ordered a book for a class she is gong to be teaching in the summer. She’ll make sure that the textbooks ordered for her class come from someone else.
In short, Amazon.com says that they sell lots of stuff and don’t want to limit anyone’s “choice”. Here is a company serving the almighty dollar pure and simple.
For those who noticed, the blog posts I linked to were written in 2003. Has Amazon.com changed anything? Let’s find out. If you go to Amazon.com and search for Understanding Loved Boys abd Boy Lovers, it’s still there.
So what do I do now? I never thought about it before, but I’m sure I visit losts of stores that sell stuff I don’t agree with. Why should I “endorse” their stand? We all need to determine what we believe in and take a stand. I didn’t really order a ton of stuff from Amazon.com, but I won’t be ordering anything else from them anymore. I will also try to do my due diligence with companies I do business with.
I would encourage everyone to do the same. Research, as much as possible, the companies you do business with. If you find something you disagree with, ask them about it. Let them know your plans. Take a stand.
Since this has been brought to my attention, I won’t be ordering any more items from Amazon.com.
[Update 12-22-2010 11:11:01] I was looking through my stats today and noticed I had someone do a google search and find this article. I had, frankly, forgot I wrote it. Given I just got a kindle and signed up for their affiliate program, I went out and did a search. I could not find the book mentioned on their site. Holy Cow, I can’t believe I forgot and let this slip like this…..