Another Big Tech ban: this time, it is books cancelled by Amazon

Unlike the Facebook news ban in Australia, Amazon’s move to ban books was not announced. It first came to light when author Ryan T Anderson discovered that his When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, had disappeared from Amazon and its sub-brands Kindle and Audible.

The controversial book, a conservative critique of the transgender movement, had been on the site for three year and was a best seller.

“The people who did read the book discovered that it is an accurate and accessible presentation of the scientific, medical, philosophical, and legal debates surrounding the trans phenomenon,” Anderson wrote in the opinion journal First Things. “Yes, it advances an argument against transgender ideology from a viewpoint. But it doesn’t get any facts wrong, and it doesn’t engage in heated rhetoric.

“Moreover, it was praised by experts: the former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a longtime psychology professor at NYU, a professor of medical ethics at Columbia Medical School, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Utah, a distinguished professor at Harvard Law School, an eminent legal philosopher at Oxford, and a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton.”

The book contains stories of people who regret their gender transition.

Amazon’s publishing guidelines include: “We don’t sell certain content including content that we determine is hate speech, promotes the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, contains pornography, glorifies rape or pedophilia, advocates terrorism, or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.”

But the company has given no reason to Anderson why his book has been considered to be in any of these categories after three years. However, a few months ago Amazon added “hate speech” to its bookselling guidelines, which previously did not contain that criterion. (Hat tip: Free Beacon)

Amazon has the right to set its policy of what it wishes to sell. The application of that right by the tech giant, rather than the merits of this particular book, will concern many readers.

Those who want to read more broadly should note that no longer applying is Amazon’s old policy that “as a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable”.

As a result Amazon should not be regarded as  the broad seller of books (outside of pornography and Holocaust denial) that it used to be.

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, can be found at Christian book stores.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler was banned by Amazon in 2020 but brought back a few days later. It’s on sale there now. So too is Lolita, for example, and the Marquis de Sade’s Justine. You won’t find them at your local Christian book store.

Maintaining a variety of outlets rather than simply relying on Amazon would appear to be wise for many Eternity readers.