Amazon: “An embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error”

Finally, there's an official statement about the sales rank debacle!

Topics: Broadsheet, Gender, Love and Sex,

Finally, Amazon has issued a statement about the deranking debacle, and I get to write a whole new post instead of adding another update to the ridiculously long one below! This afternoon, spokesperson Drew Herdener told the Seattlepi.com:

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.

57,310! Yikes!



Also, it’s still not a real apology to all the authors and publishers affected, or the customers who had pretty good reason to wonder if Amazon had indeed instated a homophobic and misogynistic corporate policy, but “ham-fisted and embarrassing” is a surprisingly honest and accurate start. Too bad that’s about all they could say at this point, so both the folks who are convinced it was a hack and the folks who are convinced Amazon hates gay people will probably remain just as convinced as they were an hour ago. At least we can all talk about something else on Twitter now, though. So, why aren’t there more pictures of the first puppy available yet?

Kate Harding is the co-author of "Lessons From the Fatosphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce With Your Body" and has been a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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