Update to When Outrage & Good Intentions Backfire

Just a quick update to my previous post.  It appears Amazon has removed the how-to book that was the topic of much conversation and outrage.  While I’m glad this particular e-book is no longer easily available from a major outlet, I’m hoping Amazon removed it after finding it violated one or more of their terms of service and not just because a lot of folks were outraged by it.

There is still a lot of talk about this e-book and whether or not Amazon should have initially accepted it into the DTP program.  As I said earlier, I’m torn.  If this book does what is reported, I’d prefer it never to have seen the light of day.   Still, where is the line drawn if Amazon — or any other “store” that makes it possible for independent authors and small publishers — were to suddenly start deciding it won’t make available books that X-number of customers complain about.

So, here’s hoping there was a legal reason for taking the book down and may the discussion of the book by title — which only brings it more attention than it ever would have had — dies down soon.

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2 responses to “Update to When Outrage & Good Intentions Backfire

  1. Stephen J. Simmons

    Would the world be a better place if “Mein Kampf” had never been published, and no one had been granted that insight into the madman’s mind before the Holocaust started? As H. L. Mencken put it, “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.” I know we’re not talking about a law here, but rather about the actions of a private company, but the sentiment still seems relevant, to me.

    Demons are demons, whether they are seen by others or remain “safely” hidden away from the neighbors. I would prefer to live in a world where I didn’t find it necessary to drive my (remarkably “girl-shaped”) teenage daughter to the school less than a mile from my house. But after she got propositioned while walking home with friends when she was ten … what I would prefer became irrelevant. The world is what it is. We can hide the ugly parts behind tapestries, and try to censor anyone who shines their flashlights too close to the shadowy corners … or we can live in it as it is.

  2. Stephen, I agree that I wish this wasn’t a world where we had to worry about our kids walking to and from school or I didn’t take the long way home, bypassing closer to the police station because a car seemed to be following me. But what has bothered me about this whole thing is seeing the number of posts on the different discussion boards where people have now gone out and looked for books they don’t approve of being sold on Amazon and elsewhere, listing them and then demanding they, too, be taken down. One, I do worry about that slippery slope toward censorship. Two, they simply don’t understand that all their protests simply give the book they disapprove of more publicity than it would have garnered otherwise. There is no easy answer. Unfortunately.

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