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Social Media Outraged By Amazon's Objectionable Titles

How does a book with the heinous title, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure" make Amazon's Top 100 list for Kindle? How does Amazon accept pre-orders for the hardcover version of "I Am the Market: How to Smuggle Cocaine by the Ton, in Five Easy Lessons," or sell "RapeLay," a video game in which the protagonist stalks and rapes women?

In a statement recently released by TechCrunch, Michael Arrington noted that Amazon is standing by the first amendment right of free speech and that "Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

Amazon might have gone on to say 'we live in a capitalistic society and the almighty dollar rules' but that is solely an inference on my part. What I do know is that the rank and file from several social media networks were outraged by this type of literature being made available by one of the world's largest online book retailers.

Phillip R. Greaves II, the author also defends his work as follows:


Yes, the word "liter" is misspelled by the author - but that is a minor critique, when you weigh in the import of what he is trying to justify. Devoting an entire book in defense of pedophiles is something truly abhorrent, and while Mr. Greaves deserves the right to say and write what he wants, it is apparent that the 'wisdom of crowds' are not on the same page with him.

After countless tweets (many using the hashtag #amazonfail) and a Facebook page created demanding a boycott of Amazon, netizens did voice their opinion loud enough for Amazon to back down on their position and actually remove the book from sale.



Similar sentiment was posted by the Twitterati.



Bordering on a lynch mob mentality, some of the tweets targeted the author more so than Amazon.





In a Fox News report, Christopher Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression indicated that Amazon should not have been prohibited from selling the book. He asserted that the e-Book retailer has the right to do so under the First Amendment. According to Finan, they can sell any book that is "not child pornography" or "legally obscene." Apparently since the book did not include any illustrations, it does not fall into either category.

The Internet has long been seen as a dangerous playground for children, when pedophiles can disguise their identity and prey on the young. TV Shows like "To Catch A Predator," was the first to boldly expose this dark side of humanity. Hugh Collins in an AOL report probably summed it up best, when he noted, "Social media has become a key marketing tool for musicians, celebrities and sports stars. But for Greaves, it may not prove a happy hunting ground for prospective readers."

 UPDATE:  Shortly after I posted this blog, the following update came in. As social media attacks are mounting, other developments are occurring that could not only damage Amazon's reputation, but potentially hit them in the pocketbook, where it counts. It's been reported that Amazon is acquiring Quidsi, the parent company of Diapers.com and Soap.com, in a $540 million acquisition. This is a cash deal, and the founders of Quidsi have been reportedly signed to employment contracts by Amazon. According to a TechCrunch article, titled, "Diapers.com Wants Nothing To Do With New Parent Amazon’s Pedophilia-philia" - it appears that this saga could threaten to damage the relationships between the two companies and the eventual outcome of this acquisition. I will keep updating as more news comes in.

Your thoughts, readers? Do you vote for Freedom of Speech, or censorship?


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Ron Callari
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Comments
Nov 11, 2010
by Anonymous

Censorship is a False Defense.

We should only be concerned when the state prohibits the written word.

Amazon surely has the "right" to sell the book. But The free market has spoken and the public doesn't want to do business with a retailer who sells a book advocating the exploitation of children.

Now we know where Amazon stands and I, for one, will never buy another item from them. That's $2,000 in annual lost revenue since I buy books by the case as business gifts.

For me, it doesn't matter that they pulled the book. Let them go out of business. Screw 'em.

Ken

Nov 11, 2010
by Anonymous

That's Crap

You'll buy from Amazon again. Seriously, you were that offended where you'll NEVER EVER make a purchase from Amazon. They have the books, they have the prices, they have the simple one click ordering. You'll be back. Holidays are right around the corner.

I'm repulsed by the pedophile book as well but c'mon...

Nov 11, 2010
by Anonymous

Power of Social Media

It's getting a little bit spooky, I think. First, "the crowd" was able to kill the Gap's new logo, which I'm sure cost them a pretty penny to create. And now, just by screaming enough and empty promises of boycotting, Amazon or any corporation can change their stance or pull product (hello walmart) to cater to the loud voices.

What happened to internal decisions, fortitude. I don't agree with the book mind you but we're starting to tread on dangerous waters where any business decision can be nullified by the screaming masses.

I hope when SM gets just a bit more prevalent and understood this nonsense will die down.

Nov 11, 2010
by Anonymous

Tommy

There is not enough profit here for this to be a monetary decision. They will piss more people off then they will make from selling this crap.

I think it's abhorrent and they're seriously misguided, and by taking this principle to this extreme they have ventured into immoral territory.

But I do believe that they think they're actually being principled.

Nov 11, 2010
by Anonymous

I think Amazon has a duty to

I think Amazon has a duty to the parents who it will be heavily relying on over Christmas. Of course Amazon has the right. Just because you can doesn't mean that you should.

Nov 11, 2010
by Anonymous

Your words sounds fake as a

Your words sounds fake as a three dollar bill with Kim Jong Il face on it, dear mr. "Buyin' by the case".

Nov 11, 2010
by Anonymous

A simple solution?

Perhaps purveyors of information - not just Amazon, but B&N, bloggers who value their reputations as good neighbors, etc. - could come up with a Best Business Practices code that outlines subjects that precludes this kind of thing (getting on the best seller's list) from happening. The code could include such things as "snuff films," X-rated materials, anti-social blueprints, etc. from getting on any "good neighbor" lists.

This would have the effect of honoring the letter and the spirit of the 1st Amendment (everyone who wants to say something gets to do so) without honoring the barbarians in our midst. And any organization that honors the Good Neighbors Guidelines could display a copyright protected seal on their site and thus be known as good neighbors.

Good neighbors would not let pro-pedophile materials on their best sellers list.

Would there be difficulties? Some. There would be mischief makers who look for the bright-line boundaries of good and bad neighborism, but by and large, common sense would act as a very powerful filter.

Nov 11, 2010
by Anonymous

Who cares...

As if pedophiles needed a book to know how to molest children. This book isn't going to do anything but give idiots a reason to talk about how they need to protect us all from our own freedom. If you don't like the premise of the book don't read it, if you don't want to shop at amazon anymore because of this DON'T but stop acting like some savior of children because you disagree with the book morally because you are not and more than likely are only annoying people like myself who could care less about what anyone is writing about and is more concerned that we have people in a supposedly free country who want to try to strip of our fundimental rights to free speech.

Nov 13, 2010
by Anonymous

Free Speech vs Moral Responsibility

Censorship is a slippery road, always has been. Who decides what to censor? Companies like Amazon make a decision about what to sell or not to sell, that's what they do.

What is at stake here is what does society think and how do they react to the sale of questionable reads?

These titles made top seller status, however that is determined. Does that say anything about the appetites of people?

Censorship imposed by an autocratic dictatorship over an entire nation is different from the decision of the marketplace to voice its opposition to a product or service especially with its money. To say that the buying public cannot express itself in this manner to change a Company's behavior is also censorship.

If Amazon made a business decision and reacted to public opinion regardless of their reasoning, whether it was bottom line, company image or sober reflection on a business decision, they reversed themselves. That was a business decision, not censorship, self or otherwise. The law did not dictate removing it from the shelves, the marketplace did.

Just my opinion and, opinions are like noses, everyone has one!

Dec 3, 2010
by Anonymous

I don't understand

I don't understand boycotting Amazon. Boycott the book. Amazon isn't happy about these books, nor are they promoting and advertising them, Amazon is just offering them for sale. Additionally, Amazon does not have a duty to you or anyone, especially not a duty to keep you "safe", nor to determine what is right and wrong in the world, they just sell stuff. Buy it or don't. You have a right to boycott, but this is Amazon we are talking about, even a one million person boycott would represent only a 0.25% decrease in sales. If it makes you feel better not buying products from them because of a select few of the millions of products they sell, then you are silly, but it is your right to be silly.
If you REALLY want to change this, then get your government involved. Not for the censorship, but for keeping businesses from getting this big. If your local book shop carried it, then they would listen when you asked them to take it off the shelves because you as a citizen or citizen group can still make an economic impact. It is America's fault that invincble retailers like Amazon exist. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Amazon is a representation of the free-capitalist system that Americans contiue to vote for and support.
This wouldn't happen in a communist state.

Dec 3, 2010
by Anonymous

Amazon has been selling CDs

Amazon has been selling CDs that advocate killing police officers for YEARS, and now a book written be a pedophile to help keep other pedophiles from sexually assaulting kids and another book written by a criminal justice expert that is just an expose on the international cocaine trade gets people wanting to boycott? I think telling kids to murder cops is a lot worse than some print books by adults for adults.

Dec 22, 2010
by Anonymous

eww..just..eww

discusting perverts make me sick. Shame on amazon but more so shame on the author.

Dec 22, 2010
by Anonymous

eww..just..eww

discusting perverts make me sick. Shame on amazon but more so shame on the author.

Aug 6, 2011
by Anonymous

Really?

First off let me say that I am appalled at the book. We should be mad at the author and the publishers for publishing it, not at the distributors. Seconly, I am glad that I live in a country where I can buy whatever I want, such as lude, crude, books if I choose to. I actually applaud Amazon.com for selling the book. It let's me know that if I ever write a crappy book, that I will have somewhere to sell it.
I don't think people should boycott Amazon.com because of this because they hav been doing us all a favor by selling books and other merch cheaply. Also, i doubt that the few "true" boycotters out there will come close to making a dent in their revenue.