Amazon.com pulls one pedophilia book -- but not all
After 3,000 comments, customer outrage and threats of boycotts, Amazon.com removed "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure" from its Kindle eBook listings Thursday.
But the decision, which came after Amazon defended selling the book Wednesday, affected just the one book. At least one other publication offering guidance on pedophilia, "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers," remains for sale on Amazon.
The controversy has raised questions about Amazon's book vetting process and about whether companies such as Amazon -- which traditionally have been thought of simply as tech companies -- should exclude the sale of such books.
Only about 45 reviews, many of them negative, appeared on the Amazon listing for "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers," but the title of a thread on the website's Customer Discussion section claims that more than 100 negative reviews of the book have been deleted.
Amazon officials were unavailable Thursday afternoon to comment on the book's sale and the allegations of deleted comments. But according to customer reviews on the book's listing, complaints about the book's sale have been lobbed at Amazon for years.
A customer review by Ada E. Brown, posted in 2006, says: "You can forget my ever buying another book from your store. Have you no soul? How can you sleep at night when you sell a how-to-molest-children manual? You have pimped American children and their safety out for the almighty dollar and I for one am OUTRAGED."
David L. Riegel, the author of "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers," defends his book in a written description on Amazon, stating that his work has been "misidentified as being a 'how-to-molest-children' manual targeted at those who are attracted to boys, which it most definitely is not."
Riegel writes that the book "is a plea for reasonableness and understanding" and that pedophiles "are sincere, concerned, loving human beings who simply have -- and were probably born with -- a sexual orientation that is neither understood nor accepted by most others."
The Amazon review of the book offers at least one employee's take:
Is there such a thing as a legitimate sexual relationship between an adult male and an underage boy? Most civilized people would answer emphatically "no," and Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers won't convince them otherwise. Defensive in tone and amateurishly produced, this monograph uses both pseudo-scholarship and anecdotes in its attempt to justify its target audience's actions and feelings.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Image: A screenshot of "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers" on Amazon.com. Credit: Nathan Olivarez-Giles / Los Angeles Times