Rebecca Day

Something I didn’t know

Posted by rwday on April 12, 2009

When I wrote my last post, I did not realize that Amazon’s search function was tied to rankings.  So when you search for a book, the ‘selected titles’ they show you apparently correlate with the highest ranked titles that meet your search criteria.  Apparently the recommendation features also use sales rankings.

One of the negative consequences of Amazonfail is that when you search for a book, if there is a GLBT book that would fit your search criteria.  It will NOT appear in your results.  This is true even if you search by title.  Seriously.  I did a title search for my own book from Amazon’s home page, results here.  As you can see, the top hit is Haunted Hearts (which is NOT by me, btw), second is Ginn Hale’s Wicked Gentleman, 3rd is The God Eaters by Hajicek.  Not until the 5th hit do you get actual results, and that’s the out of print Iris edition.  The Lethe edition’s Kindle version comes next and in order to get the print edition, you have to go to the left navigation and select ‘books.’

Now call me old fashioned, but I think that when you do a search for a specific string of words, your top results ought to be titles that actually contain that string.  

Bottom line is that this is going to affect some writers’ bottom lines.  If people can’t find our books, they can’t buy them.  If someone who likes historical romances searches for ‘historical romances,’ Transgressions and False Colours will not show up no matter how well they’re selling because the characters in these novels are (OMG) gay, so their sales ranks don’t count.  And yet, every crap het romance with Duke Biff de Biceps raping the beauteous Bella Bigboobs, who then comes to love him (because women always fall for their rapists), that’ll show up.

This isn’t just putting the GLBT materials in a pink ghetto.  This is putting them in a pink ghetto and then locking the ghetto in the bookstore cellar, and even if customers ask for the titles BY NAME, they can’t have them without asking several times.

All in the name of what?  Protecting kids?  Um, Amazon, I hate to break it to you, but there is no Internet porn shortage. If kids want to be titillated online, they’re not likely to go to Amazon.com and place an order for Forster’s Maurice.  

I hope the next thing I post on this is a link to Amazon’s apology and retraction.  One thing this has accomplished is galvanized me into posting here, which should lead me to get back to my editing and get the damn book done.  So that it too can be an invisible non-person on Amazon.

And thank you, Smartbitches, for setting up the Google Bomb!

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