KINDLE Yaoi Censorship Updates [UPDATED]

The past few days have been a whirlwind of posts, letters to editors, emails to KINDLE and many a forum discussion. It's been exhausting for all of us but here's what's come out of it so far. Bigger sites have picked up the story including After Elton, Publishers Weekly, Anime News Network, and Robot 6. There has been some great discussion out there and I recommend checking them out if you haven't already.
 
I've done my best to compile a list of books that have been removed based on scouring Amazon's site, publisher sites, publisher announcements of titles removed and also what some of you have been so nice to point out. As of right now, here is a list of the eBooks that have been removed and/or altered. Please feel free to add to the list in comments or point out any mistakes on the list:
Libre (KINDLE exclusive content):
 
            Delivery Cupid (This one is back up)
            Pet on Duty (This one is back up)
            Pet in Love (This one is back up)
            Kiss Ariki Episode 2 (This one is back up)
            Hyper Loving A Maniac Part 4 (This one is back up)
            Mister Mistress V1 (V2 is still available)
            Haru wo Daiteita V14 (Japanese language)
 
Aya Fujii (KINDLE exclusive content)
 
            Peach Boy MOMO & MIKAN Parts 1 & 2
 
Yaoi Press
 
            Aluria Chronicles
            Happy Yaoi Yum Yum
            Yaoi Hentai, All Volumes
            Winter Demon Zero (missing, not sure if removed by Amazon)   
            Incubus Master (Prose, select parts, they have since been altered & reuploaded)
            
Digital Manga Publishing (BOTH DIGITAL AND PRINT)
 
            The Selfish Demon King
            The Color of Love
            Weekend Lovers
            King of Debt
 
As you can see, the only titles that could be reuploaded to KINDLE were prose titles with only a few images at most that would have been removed or altered. What some people out there do not understand is that manga titles, which are all illustrations, are not so easily altered. 
 
The biggest question I think a lot of us have had is why? Why remove the titles from a digital format but still sell them in print? I've compiled some great and varied responses from the various sites that have posted about it and here they are:
 
"I wonder if this has anything to do with AMZ being fearful of violating Apple's strict iPad App policies" ~Tim King, Publishers Weekly Comment
 
"I think this is more a heterosexist thing than a homophobic thing. Amazon isn't bigoted or anti-gay, and of course they don't want to alienate a part of their customer base. It's just that most of them are straight people. And straight people, by and large, don't really question the received "wisdom" when it comes to things like gender roles or homosexuality. (They don't have to.) Our culture has a double standard when it comes to gay vs. straight sexuality, wherein basically a gay kiss with minimal tongue is equivalent to straight hardcore porn…" ~ Samwise, After Elton Comment

"I dunno with e-books because they are hosting the content and have “viewed” it, the defence that they did not know of the content of the work is unlikely to cut it if they were ever sued. By contrast they can claim they never read a paper book in question they are distributing and are absolved of any liability." ~ Thelaw, Robot 6 Comment  

As far as all of the titles having underage characters in them, I've confirmed with Yaoi Press that that is not the case with her titles. It appears the issue there was solely the explicit imagery. 
 
There was another incident with an author of m/f historical romance (prose, not a yaoi title) that I think is worth a read. To sum it up, her book includes the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl (only one part of a larger story) and Amazon keeps recategorizing it from historical romance to erotica. She went back and forth with Amazon and they changed it back to historical romance but again recategorized it to erotica. What's interesting about this is that when asked why they did this, Amazon's response was "We do not provide information about the inner workings of our company. I hope you'll understand our position." No Amazon, we don't. The reason this is a big deal is that it can greatly affect how easily the title can be found on Amazon, thus affecting the author's income. The author does a very nice job of explaining how Amazon's system works so I high recommending reading it.
 
I pointed out that story for a few reasons, one being Amazon's response. Many of you have emailed Amazon voicing your displeasure over this whole incident, yet time and time again the response back from Amazon has been the same; a boilerplate response that doesn't answer any questions. Some have been so bad as to respond with "that book is no longer available". Here are some boilerplate excerpts so people not understanding our frustrations can see for themselves:
 
"Occasionally books are removed from the Kindle Store for various reasons. We do not have any specific details about why this particular book may have been removed. The book’s publishers decide if a book is to be made available for the Kindle, and they can change this status at any time."
 
Clearly they misunderstood or didn't bother to read the email. We aren't complaining about why a title isn't on KINDLE, we're complaining about why it was REMOVED from KINDLE. Contacting the publisher isn't going to help if they don't know why either.
 
"The items you referenced are not available for sale. Thank you for contacting us."
 
Another response that shows they are not reading the emails sent. We KNOW it's not available for sale, Amazon! That's why we're writing!
 
And in case you think the publishers are fully aware of why this is happening, here is a quote from Fred Liu posted over at Publisher's Weekly:
 
Fred Lui, v-p of production at DMP, said that Amazon had not given him any rationale for the rejections and removals.
 
"I asked them why, and they said take a look at their content policy and directed me to what I had read a couple times before," he said. Lui said that he is not aware of any recent changes in the policy, and that DMP has been putting books rated for ages16+ and 18+ on the Kindle for the past few years with no problem. Digital does not publish any stories involving characters under 18, he added.
 
Clearly DMP is aware of the problem and they have made their titles available on the NOOK as well as at eBook retailer tlagay.com. Yaoi Press has chosen to alter a few of the images in their prose books so they can be uploaded again. However, manga titles like Happy Yaoi Yum Yum and the Yaoi Hentai volumes are not so easy to change. Yaoi Press has confirmed they too are looking into the NOOK.
 
There is also the issue of exclusive to KINDLE titles like those from Libre or from Japanese mangaka Aya Fujii. I personally have sent an email to Animate regarding the Libre titles that were removed and have asked them to consider publishing to the Barnes and Noble NOOK in the future. They did respond with the following:
 
 
Dear Jennifer,

Yes, we already noticed that some our titles have been removed by Amazon.
Regarding Nook, it could be worth doing, so we begin investigating.
Thank you for your concern!

Animate USA

 
I have tried twice to get a comment out of KINDLE exclusive author Aya Fujii without a response. I am not sure how good her English is so it is possible she was not able to read what I wrote since it was in English. Another author appears to have had the same issue and posted the following over at Robot 6:
 
Hello,
I’ve submitted YAOI comic in KINDLE store. But they told me my book is in violation.
B004W82RAM Passion of Moon Phase(in a spread dysplay)
 
During our review process, we found that your title contains content that is in violation of our content guidelines. As a result, we will not be offering this title for sale.
 
OK, my comic is not a porn comic, but describes the love between two boys. It’s in violation. I’ll fight against AMAZON.
 
There is some interesting news that has come out of this. @Zerochan on twitter pointed out this Japanese article that discusses the pulling of the yaoi titles so it appears those interested in digital publishing in Japan are aware of our plight. It is very possible they too are concerned about KINDLE pulling the same thing in Japan.

 
In the mean time, all I can ask is to continue emailing Amazon about our unhappiness with their choices and to also take your money to other yaoi digital outlets. One way or another, they WILL hear us!
 
~Jennifer LeBlanc

33 Comments

  • Thanks for the update and all of the links. All of this evasion from Amazon is so frustrating.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Mister Mistress by Rize Shinba Vol 1 was also removed. Volume 2 is still available.

    And we still don’t know why those titles were targeted why others who have similar content remain /rage

    At least the publishers know what’s going on.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    Thank you! I saw only V2 when I went through them but I didn’t want to assume they had actually put out V1. I will update the list!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Myka Reply:

    I’m 100% sure it used to be there.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • They have also removed Animate’s vol 14 of Haru wo Dateite, which was in Japanese.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    I’m “sure” they had a Japanese employee read it to confirm it broke their policies. *shakes head*

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Thank you for keeping us up to date on this!!!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    I’m exhausted. ~_~ It’s literally changing minute by minute!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • I do not know if DMP knew something was going to happen at Amazon but as mentioned they started adding more titles for the Nook. I guess what is going on at Amazon has decided that I will be buying a Nook instead of the Kindle now.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Ug, the worst part is how they’re refusing to explain themselves. How can these publishers get the books back up if they don’t know why they were removed?

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Was tempted to stay one small step for fujoshi’s everywhere, but that is pushing it. It is a small ongoing victory though. Thanks for notifying about the status… ^_^

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Wow, I didn’t know they were removing print manga. wtf.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Not sure if you knew, but Delivery Cupid was gone for a while as well. It’s back up. As wells as Hyper Loving A Maniac 4. Mister Mistress v1 is back as well. The hentai that had been pointed out to Amazon, Christmas Creampie, is still gone. But the real porn is still there. Yep, No Holes Barred and other “erotic photos” are still on there. Double standard much?
    Perhaps, in some small part, Amazon is listening and considering the fall out of removing titles. We can only hope……

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    I think I accidentally removed Delivery Cupid with my last update but Hyper Loving A Maniac 4 is already in the list and I don’t see Mister Mistress V1 in the KINDLE store still.

    As far as listening, I doubt it since they removed all of DMP’s print titles for the same digital ones that were removed. The only ones that returned are Animates and I think they just reloaded them.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • DOH! I missed Hyper 4. I went to Animate’s website and clicked their link from the title to Amazon. It’s interesting to note that they do appear to be in the store now but the ones that had been removed that I bought no longer show in the “instant update” that I bought them. I also find it interesting that since my emails to them and comments on their forum, I haven’t received any of the daily emails that I used to get.
    I do wonder about the DMP titles. Unfortunately they are notorious for being out of stock a lot Granted, they still appear in the store if they’re out of stock…Hopefully all will be back to the way it was soon. I’ll miss not getting new chaps of Momo and Mikan (not DP) because I suspect they won’t put that one back up. But that’s stupid given the fact that there are plenty of other youngish boy BL manga on their site. It’s all just very frustrating! Just as frustrating as it is to see all of the Blu/Tokyopop stuff I had saved that was supposed to come out later now changing to “unavailable”……So sad on so many fronts…

    [Reply to this comment]

  • There is now a Facebook protest page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amazon-Removes-Gay-Romance-titles-Amazonfail/100911356667397

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    Cool. I tweeted it and added it on my Facebook page. I’ll try and get it into some of the posts as well.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Hi Jennifer: Thank you for mentioning my historical novel that Amazon keeps reclassifying as erotica. After another round of emails, they have removed the erotica tag. For how long, I don’t know. But I do wonder now if Amazon has a bot that automatically and periodically returns “suspect” books based on product descriptions. I can’t think of anything else that might trigger such haphazard classification or removal of titles.

    You’re likely doing this already, but what helped most, I think, was including links to books with more graphic content than mine or with more graphic covers than mine that did not carry the erotica tag when I made my complaints to Amazon.

    I’m heading over the Facebook protest page. Wishing you a speedy — and permanent! — resolution.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    No prob! We have been diligently pointing out similar hetero titles to Amazon and they have responded by pulling those down, too. Not really the response we wanted but it’s something. I just feel bad because then that author is affected as well, which is definitely not our intention. Anyway, keep us updated because the more we see Amazon’s actions, the more we can try and make sense of it. I wouldn’t discount your ‘bot’ theory at all. I could definitely see that happening. Animate got some of their titles back up so I’ll be curious to see if they yank them again.

    [Reply to this comment]

    lore Reply:

    Here are 4 titles I’ve reported to Amazon that haven’t been pulled down. I believe you led me to one of them. I’m shocked these titles remain while books with actual plots get yanked.

    NOT SAFE FOR WORK, PPL!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amazon-Removes-Gay-Romance-titles-Amazonfail/100911356667397?sk=wall

    http://www.amazon.com/Busty-American-Girls-Boobs-ebook/dp/B004RYVSZG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1304583841&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/No-Holes-Barred-ebook/dp/B004IARV9Q/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

    http://www.amazon.com/Au-Naturel-Pixie-ebook/dp/B004GXB4CA/ref=pd_sim_kinc_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2#suggestion-box

    Oh, man, I downloaded a sample of the schoolgirl one. It’s prose, but pure porn. Nice.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Interesting. Thanks for the update. I emailed Amazon, told them I wouldn’t be shopping there any more. I never got any response. Don’t you need a credit or debit card to purchase ebooks? Which means ppl have to be 18, an adult? I just don’t see the rationale. Which means it’s some stupid reason like the ipad thing. Hopefully publishers will now see the wisdom in offering these titles on other platforms (Nook, Kubo etc.).

    [Reply to this comment]

  • [...] of some yaoi manga, without notification or explanation, from the Kindle Store is another problem. (The Yaoi Review has a posted a list of the removed manga, some of which have been restored.) Of course, your brick-and-mortar bookstores do this all the [...]

  • LOL @ akadotreatail (DMP’s store) for this one:
    http://www.akadot.com/not-on-kindle-yaoi-gn-bundle-p-34128.html
    I suspect Amazon will feel the pain in the not too distant future over their stupidity.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • What’s bothering me the most about this is that they’re trying to censor what people read BY THEMSELVES in their OWN HOMES.

    This isn’t the radio where something is delivered to a mass audience this is INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL enjoyment.

    It’s like taking someones telephone and bleeping out every curse word said in a conversation every time you talk to a friend or something.

    And if they’re going to make an argument about how it’s “inappropriate’ then they should be removing ALL erotic titles from the kindle,not just the yaoi ones.

    That just makes it look not only obvious,but singular as if there deliberately going after the yaoi titles rather than just explicit content in general.

    [Reply to this comment]

    akuma_river Reply:

    Did you hear last year about the 1984 and Animal Farm book fiasco?

    It turned that in one country, Australia, where this publisher was at it the copywrong had expired and the book entered public domain. So they decided to republish the books in e-book form. But in the US it was still active.

    So the US company sent a C&D to Amazon. And Amazon replied by not only removing the books from the Kindle store but they also ‘physically’ deleted them from every single customer who bought the books when the Kindle device went through it’s daily update process.

    They thought it wouldn’t be missed as they planned to reimburse the customers. But they were more pissed about the invasion of privacy of them removing a book they had bought.

    Seems that unlike with physical books, if the publisher wants it removed from circulation they can do that.

    It’s why I hate e-book devices. There is the multiple competing formats that the books are written in and then there is the DRM that the majority of publishers are attaching to books. So if your device decides to no longer support either the DRM or the format the book is written in. Then you can’t read that book anymore. That’s already happened a few times with lesser known formats.

    There also the issue about the device and what will happen if it is no longer supported. Like if one of the other smaller e-book reader devices company goes out of business and will no longer make or support that device…then there is a possibility that the device itself will no longer work and the e-books on it cannot be moved to another device. Unless you hack the device.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • [...] Information on the Yaoi Kindle Purge (Original Source: The Yaoi Review and Robot [...]

  • [...] Information on the Yaoi Kindle Purge (Original Source: The Yaoi Review and Robot [...]

  • I’m not surprised.

    Kindle had a big issue with a kiddie porn book being sold on there a few weeks back. And got whacked in the press for that. It was basically a how-to manual on how to ‘seduce’ kids. Definitely pushing the envelope of 1st amendment free speech.

    It was yanked.

    Not to mention, Apple with it’s anti-gay bullshit censorship that they are covertly doing. Numerous issues come up with Apple and their app store and the way they unfairly ban certain apps that have a gay theme while others that border on porn of a heterosexual nature are left alone.

    I’ve been boycotting them forever. I have never bought a single Apple device and don’t ever plan to.

    You should also read up on how due to the highly stress induced environment in a factory in China that builds Apple devices dozens of workers have committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the building in ONE YEAR! So now they have a net covering the dormitory building.

    The reason is because of Apple Leak issues and the multi million dollar lawsuits that they carry. Some tech workers have caused issues by being sloppy and to save the company one guy jumped from the dorm to prevent his family from being sued and the factory closed. He wrote that in his suicide note I believe.

    Apple is worse than the NSA in how they treat their employees who work in R&D and build the new secret tech they have.

    Btw, I’ve been boycotting Amazon since WikiLeaks was blacklisted by them in December. So while I’m pissed at the censorship…due to my unemployed ass being broke and my hatred for DRM and the bullshit Amazon pulled on erasing books from Kindles over the iffy copyright issue of 1984 and Animal Farm last year…it doesn’t effect me.

    It pisses me off. But Amazon won’t do anything to change it.

    They want the Kindle app on the iPad because of the money that can be made. And Apple is bigots who say they are anti-porn anti-erotica but Playboy has an app with them.

    If DMP was BIG in money they would let it slide. But for now they don’t give a damn.

    It doesn’t even matter that Amazon is selling the books in print.

    Bottom line is that they will not change because they have more to lose in terms of money via the iPad than they do by the ‘middle age women who buy gay comic books’. That is where they are thinking.

    [Reply to this comment]

    akuma_river Reply:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1282481/iPad-factory-suicides-China.html

    That’s one article on the suicides in the factory. But that’s the one that addresses the iPad suicides in the Foxconn factory. I know of a few others from years past that had issues with the iPhone and iPod.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Here is a letter I sent them, waiting for a reply. But reading through comments and stuff I believe I will no longer turn to amazon for my ebook purchases. I do not wish for my ebooks to removed from me, as I purchased them fair and square. This starts bordering on censorship in extreme, and reminds me of books that write about business overstepping their selves and banning what we can and can’t read because they believe “its for our benefit”.

    To whom this may concern,

    I have been a pretty good subscriber to your kindle app on my phone as well as computer, finding it easy and convenient to use. However, just as I was planning to start investing in manga on your app you remove many of the titles I wanted to purchase. I find it appalling since most of the titles removed are all yaoi (or gay relationships) yet I can still go purchase explicit hentai (straight) manga. So are you doing this because you find it objectionable to have male x male relationships? Also, as I am over 18 how dare you censor what I can and can’t read? If you are doing this to guard the eyes of younger children I don’t see why you don’t do what ebay does and have an adult section.

    I see that in response to your removal of the manga others ebook sources are picking them up, such as borders and a few others. I may start going to them as of now for all my ebook purchases as a result. Because how long will it be before you start banning ebook novels with gay characters in it because you find it not suitable?

    Respectfully voicing my opinion,
    N. Elske Midstokke

    [Reply to this comment]

  • So, I read this and was like “Say what?!” I just recently picked up the Kindle app on my Galaxy Tab and have already purchased a few books. When I read this, I became very unhappy and so I called the company.

    They are to be sending me an email with the information on my phone call however, I asked that she report the pornographic picture books to which she claims she will be doing.

    I told her, “The books are disgusting explicit and there just for the sole purpose of arousing the male (and in some cases female) customer pool, serving no real creative incentive whatsoever. There is no beautiful love tale, angst relationships or lover’s quarrels to hurdle. There are no hidden lessons and underlying morals, no social topics analyzed and the questions of what if. There is no real (in my opinion) thought put into these books, no long hours of effort and struggle. I’m currently writing my own manga, and I do mine digitally. Let me tell you, it is no walk in the park and depending on the quality, my final page can take up to 12 hours! That is not including all the plotting, sketching, editing of the script and the heart and soul put into these works.

    Manga is a work of art and it is NOT read by just a bunch of underage kids. I informed her that what I read when I read their policy is them saying “We understand that Yaoi is another form of homosexuality in the media and if we cannot get a grip on the literature, we shall attack the graphic novels where we think we will lose the least customer revenue.” Did they do their research? Yaoi isn’t just for straight crazy fan girls, bisexuals and homosexuals. Even my husband tends to find some solace in the love stories.

    I admit, some of the stories seem to make no sense and I think that the more “Smut” of yaoi are just that… but Smut is Smut regardless of sexual orientation and it’s bound to happen.

    Amazon is being hypocritical and deceitful. They are attempting to compile some heterosexual control over their media and will either fix this issue or lose what could be MILLIONS of customers.

    I hope they fix this, honestly.

    Now, I await their emailed report and hope they get a clue.

    I love my country, but it’s a world of political hypocrites, and for this I too am a hypocrite, for I hate them the most.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • So basically:
    Straight porn = Totally fine, here, have some!
    Gay romance = YOU WILL BURN IN HELL FOR READING!!!

    This is the vibe I’m getting from the whole situation. I do think it’s an Apple thing. If they don’t like, you are not getting it. Apple is trying to take over the world as we speak.

    Sad.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • IN THE long run it really doesn’t matter..because borders still carries it…fuck amazon

    [Reply to this comment]

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