Amazon has removed a deeply controversial e-book about paedophilia from its Kindle store following media frenzy, customer anger, boycotting threats and even a shaky attempt from the retailer defending the inclusion of the book in its online store.
The nauseating book, called ‘The Paedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct' was on sale in Amazon's US Kindle Store for $4.79 but has now been pulled, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The author of the ‘how-to' guide reportedly claims paedophiles are misunderstood and offers tips on the abuse of children as well as how to get away with it.
Unsurprisingly, the availability of such nasty reading material provoked public outrage and sparked media frenzy, with lots of Amazon customers threatening never to shop on the website again until the book was removed.
According to The los Angeles Times, the book attracted over 800 ‘reviews' while it was on sale.
One visitor reportedly wrote: "There is no excuse for Amazon to be offering this product," while another said:"I've removed my Amazon shop from my website and won't be doing any Christmas or household shopping through Amazon.com until this product is GONE."
Despite such a strong reaction of revulsion from the general public, Amazon originally refused to remove the book from its Kindle store and told Tech Crunch: "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."
While it could be perceived as admirable that a website wants to uphold freedom of speech per se, Amazon's own policies ban content containing ‘offensive material' as well as anything that may lead to ‘illegal activity,' according to Tech Crunch. It seems most people seem to agree these two ingredients are included in the controversial e-book.
Amazon has given no reason for the U-turn, but the incident will probably throw its ‘self-publishing' practices into the limelight. Currently, authors can publish their own work via Amazon's Kindle Store to reap a share of the revenue, with new rates released recently. While it says it will not host offensive material, it has no tight guidelines of what is deemed too much.
Amazon has reportedly not said whether it will tighten its submission rules or clarified whether the e-books it sells are read and approved before going on sale to its customers. But it is not the first time Amazon has put content that could be deemed to be offensive in the public domain.
According to The Telegraph, the etailer was threatened with a lawsuit for selling a book called ‘Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers' and pulled a dubiously-named videogame entitled RapeLay in 2009.