I received an email from one of your bots yesterday stating my book business, the Book Hound in Amsterdam, New York, could no longer sell two titles on amazon. Your botnote said, “This product was identified as one that is prohibited for sale. Amazon reserves the right to determine whether content provides an acceptable experience for customers.” The email did not enlighten me as to the following:
- Whether a human or computer program identified the product as one that is prohibited for sale.
- Why the product is prohibited other than the implication that its content does not provide “an acceptable experience for customers.”
- What an acceptable experience for customers is.
- Who decides what an acceptable experience for customers is.
- What the process is for determining whether content provides an acceptable experience.
The two censored titles are: My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding by David Duke and Conspiracy of the Six-Pointed Star: Eye-Opening Revelations and Forbidden Knowledge About Israel, the Jews, Zionism, and the Rothschilds by Texe Marrs. I would note that I only ever had copies of these books once. I sold them so they are no longer in my inventory, which your bot should know. I did not seek these titles out to sell them. They came to me in a large lot of books I purchased.
It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, I find both of these books offensive. Nevertheless, I have sold them because of my overall commitment to free speech and will sell them again if they come my way. It is important that these books are made available for academics and others who research and keep tabs on radicalism. Furthermore, adults should have access to all books and make up their own minds about what they read. We do not need BIG GOVERNMENT or BIG LIBRO to tell us what to read.
I did a little experiment to see what other radical and/or racist titles amazon might or might not carry. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler was the first title I checked. Surprise. Surprise. Amazon sells several versions in English and German. Amazon even has a Kindle version, which means amazon has put its imprimatur on the book by allowing the use of its proprietary technology to produce a digital version of one of the most radical and racist books ever written. Hitler makes David Duke look like someone who couldn’t qualify as a guard in a Nazi concentration camp.
I then searched for 9/11: Descent into Tyranny by Alex Jones, a 9/11 conspiracy title. I found it available on every other book selling venue except amazon. However, I found all of David Ickes conspiracy titles available on amazon.
How about The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell? Amazon wouldn’t dare sell a book that gives instructions on how to carry out acts of terrorism, would it? But amazon does dare. If you want to commit a terrorist act tomorrow and you have amazon prime, amazon even guarantees you will get the book tomorrow.
I searched for The Klansman, a famous 1902 racist novel by Thomas Dixon. Amazon does not carry it, while other bookselling venues do. But amazon does carry the film version of the book, The Birth of a Nation, a film that glorified the Klan and made black people weep when they saw it in the theater. You can get the dvd or amazon will stream it to your house where you can watch it at your local Klan meeting.
After searching for the Klansman, I stopped searching. It is obvious that amazon’s censorial program is neither logical or consistent. Generally, when a person or organization starts censoring or prohibiting the sale of certain books, they cannot help but become inconsistent. That is just one reason why its best to let the public decide what it does or does not want to purchase.
Jeff, you might not realize it, but you have become the Anthony Comstock of the 21st Century. That is an appellation I am sure you do not want, but it is a name you cannot avoid now that you, the richest man in the world, have made yourself chief censor of the entire globe. The Catholic Church ceased publishing its Index Librorum Prohibitorum, (Latin: “Index of Forbidden Books”) in 1966. Fifty years later, amazon has started publishing it again.
One more thing. The email said if my business was part of the Fulfillment by Amazon program that “If you fail to initiate a removal request within 30 days of this notification, we may dispose of it in accordance with the Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement and FBA policies.” Those policies do not make it clear what disposal means, but I can only assume it means you will throw the books away. If so, then amazon has not only become a censor, it has become a book burner.
Finally, you threaten me if I do not comply. Your bot states, “What happens if I fail to follow the above instructions? Failure to properly close or delete all restricted product listings from your inventory may result in the deactivation of your selling account, and funds may be permanently held.”
So, you censor books. You burn books. And you confiscate the funds of those booksellers who do not follow your instructions. If this does not sound familiar to you, I would suggest you read any of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s works, George Orwell’s 1984 or Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
That is if you haven’t already removed them from your inventory.
P.S. Are the names Amazon Kindle and Kindle Fire meant to reflect amazon’s book burning practices?
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