Amazon Apologizes For 'Embarrassing And Ham-Fisted' Gay Book Blacklist

A quick 180 from Amazon (AMZN) on the gay-themed books blacklist brouhaha. And as far as apologies go, it doesn’t get much more self-effacing for a company than calling one of its decisions “embarrassing and ham-fisted.”

But that’s exactly what Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement to All LGBT-themed books will return to Amazon bestseller lists.

This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.

It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon’s main product search.

Many books have now been fixed and we’re in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.

We’re impressed with the sincerity and speed of Amazon’s apology. And credit Twitter with newfound power — had the episode not become a hot topic on Twitter on Sunday, a change in course from Amazon might have taken much longer.

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