Following mounting public protests, Amazon removed a self-published book advocating adult-child sex from its site.
The book, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct " by Philip R. Greaves II, includes graphic "first person" descriptions of sexual encounters with adults written from a child's point of view, as well as advice to pedophiles afraid of becoming the center of retaliation. The electronic book, which is not illustrated, was available for Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle e-reader.
Initially Amazon defended the sale of the book, issuing a public statement. "Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable," it read. "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."
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The link to the original "Pedophile's Guide" sale page now returns an error message. In an as-yet unexplained turn of events, the page was removed last night, reappeared, and then disappeared again.
This odd turn of events follows yesterday's unexplained activity in which more than 100 customer comments on the "Pedophile's Guide" page dwindled to less than 30, before quickly surging into the hundreds. Amazon has not yet responded to requests for explanation.
As a private company, Amazon has the right to sell whatever it wants as long as it's legal, and as such, offers books that cater to Holocaust deniers and other hate groups, as well as graphic dog fighting and cock fighting videos
Adult (legal) pornography, while available in book and magazine form, is not permitted in the Kindle e-reader store. This is possibly because of its iTunes partnership with the notoriously porn-free Apple which removed both "Ulysses" and the "Kama Sutra" from its own book store.
Video: Why was Amazon selling pedophilia guide? (on this page)
A customer review on the "Pedophile's Guide" Amazon page written by "Outraged Mother" read, "The line of immorality is at best a zone with ill defined boundaries. Whatever. This crosses into the unsavory and shameful side of the zone. Take it down."
"There is a point when, even though a company has a no-censorship policy, that selling certain books is simply wrong," read "Disgusting Abomination," the title of another customer review. "Not censoring is one thing, and I commend that, but choosing to sell this book on a site that accessed by millions of people (including children) daily is reprehensible. This is a disgusting choice you have made, Amazon. Whatever money you are making off this book can't be worth the ire you are receiving for selling it."
As news and outrage about the book spread, the first (presumed) Internet jokester chimed in with "A fantastic guide," the first five star review:
"I can't thank Amazon enough for keeping this great work of literature up for those of us with 'special tastes.' The instructions and images in the guide were extremely insightful and led to a wonderful experience for both myself and my partner. Thank you for protecting free speech, Amazon!"
In 2002, Amazon.com cited the First Amendment as justification for offering another book that advocates adult-child sex, "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers," by David L. Riegel. Further, the paperback book is still available on the site .
At that time, Amazon stated , "Our goal is to support freedom of expression and to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any title they might be seeking."
An Amazon employee emphasized that "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers" was "not a 'how-to' manual for molesting children. The author simply expresses his point of view about what he feels are misunderstood."
"Pedophile's Guide" also triggered mounting outrage on Twitter and beyond. A chorus of Twitter users is calling for Amazon to pull the book, and a campaign to push the hashtag #BoycottAmazon into Twitter's top trends is underway.
A keyword search for "Amazon" on the microblogging network turned growing number of retweets featuring Amazon's contact info and urges to keep calling and e-mailing "until the book is removed."