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Amazon’s worrying new puritanism

Sep 02, 2016

the men cover for websiteIn the Spring, we were very excited to publish Fanny Calder’s unique novel The Men, and it is attracted quite a lot of interest and some excellent reviews on Amazon.

I took the decision to test out the new advertising service on Amazon too, and was pleased with the result. After a lot of thought, we decided on the following, very simple strapline:

13 men. 10 parties. 1 woman.’

It was not just simple, it summed up the story pretty clearly. There was a hint of excess about it, a whiff of suggestion, but no more than that. The book itself describes a series of affairs, but there is no gratuitous sex. It is definitely not an ‘adult’ novel in that sense.

But when I came to repeat the advert, Amazon rejected it. There had been a change in their rules, I was told. When I appealed, I eventually got this reply:

“We have rejected both the ads for ‘Erotic content’. As per our policy we do not approve books which contain erotic words as it is not appropriate for general audience. Hence the Ads will remain rejected.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Have a nice day.

Please let us know how we did.
Were you satisfied with the support provided?”

There then appear a number of links if I was not satisfied, none of which worked. Such is the way the new monopolies treat their customers.

But I was disturbed about the new puritanism. I asked them which the ‘erotic words’ were I had used so that I could delete them. There was no reply – or maybe some committee in the Magisterium is still considering their answer.

The problem is that Amazon is, to all intents and purposes, a monopoly. I have no choice but abide by their new puritanism. I can’t go elsewhere. I can appeal to some machine that, for all I know, cranks out their rejections. But that’s all.

Now I ask you – what should I do? And what can we all do with a behemoth in control which doesn’t understand subtlety. And how long before they reject subtle books altogether?

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