Did you think this sort of thing had been settled back in 1966 or so, when Naked Lunch was finally declared protected speech? Nope:
Self-published author Selena Kitt was first notified that the print version of one of her fiction books violated Amazon’s content guidelines last week, followed by the unceremonious removal of two more offerings from the Kindle store. After noticing that the three books that Amazon singled out were all “erotic incest fantasy fiction,” she found at least three other authors whose incest-themed erotica had been removed from Amazon, followed by a Kindle support thread full of even more names.
“I want to be clear that while the subject of incest may not appeal to some, there is no underage contact in any of my work, and I make that either explicitly clear in all my stories or I state it up front in the book’s disclaimer,” Kitt wrote in a blog post. “I don’t condone or support actual incest, just as someone who writes mysteries about serial killers wouldn’t condone killing.”
As Amazon is actually the publisher of the eBook, their decision to not publish certain works flies in their claims of abhorring censorship, but it’s still within their rights.
But wait, there’s more:
On top of the book removal from Amazon’s store, Kitt’s readers reportedly found that her books had disappeared from their Kindles as well. “When one reader called to get a refund for the book she no longer had access to, she was chastised by the Amazon customer service representative about the ‘severity’ of the book she’d chosen to purchase,” Kitt wrote.
This is a little bit further down the road than just saying we don’t want to sell your trashy erotica, and intend to marginalize works based on incestuous content (like Oedipus Rex and The Bible are also going to be removed from their store, of course), and turns into we are going to remove all traces of your work ever existing.
Which is, of course, exactly what Moral Puritans of all stripes try to do with Book Burning.
Amazon is not the government, but when one company dominates the entire publishing marketplace the way they do, they have become, in essence, a Public Information Utility. When public services become monoliths is the time when Trust Busters need to get to work.