*Amazon’s glitch

AMAZON’S GLITCH…. Over the weekend, several authors began noticing an odd problem at Amazon.com: LGBT books were not only stripped of their sales rank, but they were also no longer available in on-site searches. The online retailer told some writers that “adult” materials are excluded from “some searches and best seller lists.”

The problem, of course, is that there’s nothing necessarily “adult” about gay-themed books, and to assume otherwise is absurd. Amanda Terkel noted, “[T]he LGBT books excluded include Nathan Frank’s ‘well-reviewed empirical analysis of military policy,’ ‘Unfriendly Fire,’ and a biography of Ellen DeGeneres. Books remaining include the biography of straight porn star Ron Jeremy and ‘A Parent’s Guide To Preventing Homosexuality.'”

Amazon has never had a reputation for being a conservative retailer or having an anti-gay agenda, so all of this came as quite a surprise. To the company’s credit, Amazon seems to be addressing the matter quickly, and chalking it up to a “glitch.”

A “glitch” on Amazon.com has caused the sales rank to be removed from gay- and/or lesbian-themed books by James Baldwin, Gore Vidal and others.

“There was a glitch in our systems and it’s being fixed,” Amazon’s director of corporate communications, Patty Smith, said in an e-mail Sunday.

I’m inclined to think this wasn’t a deliberate move on the company’s part, since Amazon has nothing to gain from doing this.

Still, an explanation as to how this happened in the first place would be helpful.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.