I don't like to be disappointed. There is nothing worse than finding out someone is not who you think they are.
By now you've probably heard about the fact that Amazon is selling a guide to pedophilia in their kindle store.
Don't believe me?
There has been a lot of uproar from customers on the Amazon Facebook page as well as on the actual "review" of this book. I imagine they've also gotten a lot of nasty emails and phone calls.
Amazon's response to the uproar is:
"Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable," the company said in a written statement. "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."
The beauty of living in a country with protected free speech is that Amazon can sell this item and the author can author the item (and I'm sure he's LOVING all of this free publicity, including by yours truly) and no one can do a damn thing about it. And that's a good thing.
However, I happen to think that with privilege comes responsibility.
And Amazon is wrong. This is not a freedom of speech issue. I believe that Amazon should have the right to sell this book. I believe the author has the right to write this book.
But Amazon is a STORE. They are not a library. They are not the government. They are simply a store.
Whose mission, I believe, is to serve customers and sell books. They aren't doing that very well today.
That they carry a how-to book on child rape makes them not the people I thought they were. I wonder how they look in the mirror at night? I wonder if they could look into they eyes of a sexual abuse victim and tell them how valuable it is for them to carry this book. On principal, mind you.
It doesn't make much sense to stand on principal when you have no soul.
I reiterate, they are a store. They have choices. Not offering a product because it doesn't fit in with your corporate culture isn't censorship, its business. Good business has a soul. Good business does not engage in endangering children. Good business does not disgust it's customers on principal. Barnes and Nobles does not carry this book. Is anyone out there calling them dirty censors? No. Although, I imagine they have a lot more business tonight at their online store than they usually have on a random Wednesday. And Amazon doesn't carry every book in the world which means, that yes, the do have some kind of screening going on.
I imagine that most of Amazon's clients are not pedophiles and that most of them would be turned off by the material. What brick and mortor store carries items that most of their customers don't buy? In fact, what good business carries items that most of their customers find offensive? From a business standpoint how does that even make sense?
The only statement you are making Amazon, is that you don't care what your ACTUAL customer's think.
I don't know about you but if I walked into a bookstore and there was a man crapping in front of me on the floor, I'd walk right out.
I'm not "boycotting" Amazon because I think they need to stop selling the book. That is their choice. I am simply no longer their customer because they are not the company I believed them to be. I don't support places who support pedophiles and allow them the opportunity to thrive. It's that simple. Nothing sinister or censorship about it. Hell, there are some brands of yogurt I won't buy for much lesser offenses.
Amazon.com has a man crapping on their floor and it stinks.
This is not a freedom of speech issues, this a free market issue and the market will respond. Just in time for holiday shopping too.
Merry Christmas Amazon.com.
*** Edited to add that I got an email from Amazon.com this morning. The book is no longer for sale on their site. I guess it WAS a free market issue rather than a freedom of speech issue. It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth since they only did it because it's close to holiday shopping season. Apparently their "principal" goes out the window when faced with financial loss.