Either Amazon has reversed their initial stance on keeping the book (The Pedophile’s Guide To Love And Pleasure by Philip R Greaves) in the marketplace or the author has pulled the book himself. As for 11:55PM PST November 10th the book URL returns 404 Not Found status code.
The book has apparently been on the marketplace from October 28th and it was just one of 750,000+ books on the marketplace (most of which no one will ever see). Here’s excerpt from author’s book description:
This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught.
The book slowly drew notice until inevitably all hell broke lose on October 10th in the blogosphere. Cached copy in Bing search dated 11/10 has 8 customer reviews (all negative). Posts written on the same date at a later time mention 500+ reviews (vast majority of them negative) leading me to believe that all of them were left in the second half of the day. As of now there are 1,700 blog posts on the subject that were published within last 24 hours.
Amazon’s initial stance was summarized in the following statement:
Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.
Pretty soon boycott petitions started circulating on the internet rapidly collecting hundreds of signatures despite the late hour.
Eventually either Amazon or the author got their wits together and pulled the book from the marketplace.
There were pretty much bare facts.
Now for my personal opinion…
Somebody within Amazon who reviewed the book and approved it for the Kindle marketplace exercised some very bad judgement by letting a book like this get published. While it’s hard to say if the book text technically constitutes a crime or not, there is no more moral justification for existence of such book than for hypothetical “Humane murderer’s field manual – How to kill your victims without making them suffer”. Just as Amazon leadership believes in the “the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions” I believe in the right of every company to use moral judgement and plain common sense when making their own selling decisions. Legality shouldn’t be the only criteria when deciding whether to sell something or not.
I do hope that Amazon realized that selling this kind of book is wrong not only because customers and bloggers scold you for it but just because it is just wrong regardless of freedom speech. I will be looking forward to an official press release admitting as much. If would merely be a symbolic gesture since with or without Amazon there are loads of filth in the Internet but the right gesture nonetheless.