Amazon users this weekend noticed that a wide variety of books with gay and lesbian themes -- including Heather Has Two Mommies and books on how to come out -- were reclassified as "adult" and consequently no longer given sales ranks, nor would they come up on search requests, even though what appeared to be heterosexually oriented books with similar themes were not so classified.
Discussion broke out among a variety of social media systems, most notably on Twitter, using the hashtag #amazonfail, as people checked various books and reported back. The controversy also hit major print media, including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. There is also the requisite Facebook group, amazonfail, with 2,180 members.
Amazon called it a "glitch" and said it would be repaired, and in fact as of Monday morning people were reporting that sales ranks were back on a number of the books. It was also pointed out that some authors had been reporting this "glitch" since February.
However, Amazon is not saying how the "glitch" happened, and the Internet continues to be ablaze with speculation, ranging from posts calling Amazon a Republican-oriented company to an organized plot by religious conservatives over the holiday weekend to mark gay-themed books as "adult" and so have them removed from the system. One LiveJournal poster even claimed responsibility.
Meanwhile, though, Heather Has Two Mommies is no longer ranked as an "adult" book and has its sales rank back.