Author and blogger Kristen Welch tweets, “Dear Lord, @amazon Do you really want the force (a.k.a MOM BLOGGERS) boycotting you? Remove this book,” linking to this book’s page on Amazon: “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct.”
Initial reaction from Amazon was no reaction, but breaking news followed by heated responses among throngs of individuals across various social platforms like Twitter and Facebook prompted Amazon to pull the book and underplay their own association with its publication through their CreateSpace branch.
According to CNN, Amazon’s website provides content guidelines for titles sold through its Digital Text Platform Program. The guidelines say publishers are expected to conduct proper research to ensure that titles are in compliance with all local, state, national and international laws.
Interestingly though, the book was published through Amazon’s own self-publishing arm, CreateSpace. Are more CreateSpace complaints in store for authors in the future? Does Amazon have a history of these CreateSpace complaints? It appears so according to the LA Times. It would also seem that no human being in Amazon’s largely automated self-publishing organization actually has much to do with the submission and acceptance process.
While the access to free availability of information gathering and dissemination on the web has created a dramatic democratizing effect, it remains important that content be monitored. In this case it appeared that no monitoring took place by Amazon or CreateSpace before or following the October 28 release of the pedophila book. Instead, it was the public outcry. Just two hours after Techcrunch posted news of the ebook on its site, the $4.95 ebook went from a sales ranking of 158,221 in the Kindle store to 5,668, with a stream of commentary following. Public perception ranged from outrage, to free speech support to “FBI conspiracy”.
Other books written by the same author and also published by CreateSpace remain for sale on Amazon, although the reviews for said books are taking a hit due to association alone. Are other CreateSpace authors poised to be judged by the company they keep?
Regardless of what may be true of the book, it is important we hold integrity among the publishing community and that manuscripts be vetted through a thorough manuscript review process. Ultimately this is one facet that separates the “free” do-it-yourself companies in the industry from the higher-quality professional, full-service self-publishing providers. It is in the best interest of authors, publishers, and the public.