Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Boycott Amazon.com

They removed another one of my books from their list and are still ignoring me.  Buy from Borders.com or Barnes & Noble or ANYBODY ELSE.

That's it for the day.  I'm pissed and not having fun with Prednisone.

UPDATE:

Okay, Amazon and I are having at it.  Here's the response I FINALLY got from them --




From: Amazon DTP Executive Customer Relations <ecr-dtp@amazon.com>
To: "kyle_sullivan@sbcglobal.net"
Sent: Wed, December 22, 2010 5:44:07 PM
Subject: Re: Your Kindle Titles

Hello Kyle,

I'm S----- D--- of Amazon's Kindle Self-Publishing (DTP) Executive Customer Relations.  Your concerns about the recent removal of your titles were brought to my attention for follow-up.

We notified your publisher of the removal of your books on December 7. I've included a copy of that message below for your reference, and I hope this clarifies what happened. I'm sorry for the previous misinformation we provided that titles are only removed at the request of a publisher.  In this case, the removal was based on our decision.

If you have any concerns, you may reach me at ecr-dtp@amazon.com

----------------------------

Dear Publisher,

We are contacting you regarding the following DTP titles that you have submitted for sale in our Kindle store:

How To Rape A Straight Guy (ASIN B003ZYFCA6)
Rape In Holding Cell 6 (ASIN B00403N14A)

During our review process, we found that your titles contain content that is in violation of our content guidelines. As a result, we have removed the books from our store.

Please note that if you continue to submit content that violates our content guidelines, we may conduct a general review of your account.  Actions resulting from such a review could result in a termination of your account.

You may reply to title-submission@amazon.com if, after reading our content guidelines, you believe this decision has been made in error.

Best regards,

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com
----------------------------

Regards,

Amazon Kindle Self Publishing (DTP)
http://dtp.amazon.com/
 Here's what I wrote back --

Dear S------,

I'm at a loss as to understand how my books violated your content guidelines.  They are not pornographic and have solid stories and meaning behind them.  The sex in them is not that much more detailed than what you find in Jackie Collins' and Judith Krantz's novels, all of which can be found in a library.  Also, you carry items that celebrate the torture and murder of women (see "Saw2" "Hostel 2" (oops) where a naked female is strung upside down and butchered so her blood can bathe another naked female lying under her) and the gleeful slaughter of human beings ("American Psycho", for example).

"How To Rape A Straight Guy" has a very provocative title, yes, and its narrator, Curt, is a very in-your-face sort of guy who thinks he can get even with the world by assaulting men.  But it winds up hurting innocent people and destroying him.  I even have a moment of foreshadowing in it, where Curt as a 6-year-old boy watches a cousin of his torture a dog until it bites him, then the boy's father kills the dog and goes off to buy another one.  The moral of the whole book being, if you treat a man like a dog his whole life, you shouldn't be surprised if he bites you.  And the sad reality is, when he finally does bite back, he's the one who's punished.  Does that sound like porn?

"Rape In Holding Cell 6", both volumes, is about corruption in the judicial system, and its main character, Antony, is investigating the brutal rape and murder of his lover in the county jail.  He finds a legal and political system that thinks it can get away with anything and nearly drives himself insane in his quest for revenge, a quest that threatens to harm the innocent as well as the guilty as he becomes exactly what he hates.  Does that sound like porn?

You pulled my titles because that reporter at the Fox affiliate labeled my book pornography.  If you actually HAD done your research, you'd see that they do not fall under that category.  I can see them being viewed as erotica because the sex is very intense...and not at all sugar-coated...but that's it.  And they were on Amazon's website being offered for sale for years without a problem.  So will you also be removing other books once viewed as porn, like "Ulysses" and "Henry and June" and "Lolita"?  Will you continue to offer DVDs of movies that depict the torture and rape of women, like "Straw Dogs" and "A Clockwork Orange"?

I ask that Amazon reconsider this.  My books are not pornography and should never have been labeled as such.  According to the Supreme Court, "in Miller v. California , 413 U.S. 15 (1973) (The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Roth, supra, at 489, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." (Emphasis added.)

Please have your panel look further into the matter and reconsider your actions.

Thank you,

Kyle Michel Sullivan


It's coming across very angrily, I know, but I think I made my point as politely as I could.  Whether or not they'll agree to it is another story.  But considering they dumped WikiLeaks because they had the nerve to publish cables that had been leaked to them (and you notice, no one's going after the NY Times or Der Speigel or the UK Guardian for publishing more than twice as many cables as WikiLeaks has), I seriously doubt I've got a snowball's chance in hell of getting them to change their minds.

And just to let you know -- I got NO problem comparing my writing to James Joyce, Henry Miller and Vladimir Nabokov.  That's just how arrogant I am. ;)

16 comments:

Penman said...

It's obvious that they are only going by the title and not the content. I doubt if they read any of it. And the title is a good one, it does grab you.

There is only one book that I've bought and asked to return and that was the Marquis De Sade, 120 days of Sodom. Amazon carries that as well as De Sade's complete works.

It is a work that deals mostly with scat fetishes. One scene I remember where there are children kept for the purpose of their shit. The shit is eaten by others and then its merits discussed. And get this, the kids are fed shit as well, is that sick or what? I thumb the rest of the book and found it mostly was about shit and didn't want to read anymore of his crap.

That's just a small example of his work. Outside of DeSade having a compulsive need to write his thoughts, his writing is, in my opinion, not worth reading. It is not connected in the least, the lines are simply thoughts of his at the time that he writes. It is boring, I would think even for someone who would be into scatology. I doubt the man would have been known save for having a title and later, labeled the father of sado-masochism. It is no way, by anyone imagination, erotic.

A story writer De Sade is not and unless you're taking courses in treating the mentally deranged and want to see what kind of thoughts they have. His writing is mindless, random and very dull. They locked the guy up for good reason. If he did those things today he would probably be executed for it.

Yet, Amazon sells his work and banishes yours solely on the title and not the content.

You could change the title, to say, How to force chidren to eat their own shit and pass it off as another brilliant work of DeSade. Amazon shouldn't have a problem with that.

esmeralda-greene said...

You might be interested in this page about Amazon's recent censorship campaign:

http://www.facebook.com/amazoncensors

JamTheCat said...

Apparently I'm not the only one. Check out this FaceBook page -- http://www.facebook.com/amazoncensors?v=wall -- which raises an interesting point -- the Bible has sex, violence and even portrays incest as a positive, at one point (Lot and his daughters), and VC Andrews' books are available to, even with their themes of incest. It's getting ridiculous.

I'm amazed you tried to read De Sade. But then, I read a "French Bible" written about 1910 where one sex scene wound up with shit all over the walls and one of the heroes is killed by having a sharp stick rammed up his ass and forcing his girlfriend to fuck them both top death on it. Seems not much has changed in human nature.

Aaron Dodd said...

I had no heard of you or your books until seeing your entry linked off a blog post in my google reader. Now of course I want to read them. As primarily a Kindle-app user on my iPhone I'd have preferred to buy them from Amazon.

I went to barnes and noble and got them for my Nook instead.

Just thought you'd like to know Amazon lost a sale and their policy didn't some how save me from your deviant books ;-)

Anonymous said...

meh

Elf said...

"we found that your titles contain content that is in violation of our content guidelines."...

Tell them you read the content guidelines, and are not sure which section of them your titles violate. Ask for a set of content guidelines that will let you retitle the books so you know you're in compliance.

The key issue isn't Amazon's puritan censorship (their business; they can be as prudish as they like); it's their refusal to tell people what the actual rules are.

If the rule is "no fiction books with 'rape' in the title," they just need to tell publishers that.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know the Miller test is not for pornography, but for obscenity. Pornography is protected by the First Amendment whereas obscenity can be prohibited by a state actor. You might also do well to ask your publisher as to why they did not consult you about the removal.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Can you come to:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113849

and give your view on the censorship topic as an author? You might also want to go to slashdot.org, they are also talking about the topic.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JamTheCat said...

Normally I will not post anonymous comments. My feeling is, if you're going to say something, own it. And if you won't, then I'm not interested in what you have to say. But I'm making an exception on this thread simply because censorship infuriates me and also to show how inane and uninvolved so many Americans are when it comes to their freedom -- re: the "meh" comment. "If it don't affect me, then *shrug*." But they'll be the loudest to howl when something they want is taken away from them.

I greatly appreciate all the comments and leads to others going through the same thing as me. I've also been informed since the Fox reporter labeled my book as porn, I may have a slander suit against her. It's harmed my books sales and reputation. Hmmm...something to look into after I get home.

In the meantime, the hell with Amazon!!!

JamTheCat said...

For the edification of one and all -- here are Amazon's "guidelines" for what they will carry.

Content Guidelines

Items sold on Amazon.com must follow our content policy and guidelines, detailed below. Producers or sellers of items are expected to conduct proper research to ensure that the items created to be sold on Amazon.com are in compliance with all local, state, national, and international laws. If Amazon.com determines that the content of an item is prohibited, we may summarily remove or alter it without returning any fees the listing has incurred. Amazon.com reserves the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with some examples of prohibited content:

* Pornography. Pornography; X-rated movies; home porn; hard-core material, including magazines, that depict graphic sexual acts, amateur porn and soiled undergarments. Unrated erotic videos and DVDs and properly censored erotic artwork and magazines of the type you'd find at a typical bookstore are permitted. Nudity, graphic titles, and descriptions must be sufficiently concealed with censor strips on all items containing such content.

* Offensive material. What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect. This includes items such as crime-scene photos or human organs and body parts. Amazon.com reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of items sold on our site. Also, be aware of cultural differences and sensitivities. Some items may be acceptable in one country, but unacceptable in another. Please keep in mind our global community of customers.

My books do not violate these guidelines, and Amazon had no problem with any of my titles until that KCPQ reporter labeled them as porn. And to anyone who says, "So what? Amazon can do what they want." I respond, "So can I, and I'm gonna bitch like a mo'fo'."

JamTheCat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
missfancypants said...

ive checked for both of your books on borders and barnes and noble.com; borders doesnt have them at all, but b&n does; unfortunately they only have them in paperback or for nook, no kindle yet. im going to continue watching this thread with interest.

its both interesting and incongruous that amazon offers books with salacious sex, torture, and wholesale murder (including the bible and biographies of serial killers and the crimes they committed), and yet wont offer your books. as adults isnt it up to us what we want to read? if its that objectionable, couldnt they just set up a restricted section of books of people over 18 where you need to enter you credit card or state id info before you would be allowed to browse? makes much more sense to me than simply banning "adult" books for everyone.

JamTheCat said...

My thoughts exactly, MissFancyPants. And yet, groups and various leaders keep trying to do that very thing. I'm waiting for some idiot to try and ban "The Rape Of Nanking", not realizing it's a book of historical significance. It's happened, before, because nine times out of ten these doing the censoring are not the brightest of thinkers.

jesscscott said...

Sorry to read about your books being banned/deleted/blocked -- I too, am waiting for "The _Rape_ of Nanking" and "The _Vagina_ Monologues" and Nirvana's "Incesticide" and Anais Nin's "House of _Incest_" to be removed.

I shall go leave a comment on the (laughable) LA times article now ^^.

@ http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-amazon-kindle-qanda-20101229,0,3286073.story

Serenity said...

@JamTheCat : I read you last comment which you had made about the "Rape of Nanking'. I had to watch that movie in one of my college classes and I have to say that it was hard to watch.

What gets me is that they delete titles by authors just because someone is complaining about how "Immoral" it is to read them, therefore they should not be placed up there. Um and that reporter, well I would make a fuss about how your books are being called porn (When their not) and how amazon actually sells everything porn. So how is it that porn mags and movies can make it okay, but books with extreme sex it in can't be up there.

It doesn't make any sense!

I bet they will lose a bunch of money off of this controversy. It's not right to ban something because someone doesn't like it. They have the choice whether or not to read it. They don't have to click the button that says purchase or send sample.

I Like the idea that missfancypants said about the over 18 ID confirmation area. If they make a section of amazon that requires someone to put the Driver's License as part of the signup, but would be private, it would make everything easier. If children find the site because parents left their login in, then that's their own fault.

~Ashley