Open Letter to Amazon.com

Dear Amazon.com , recently you created a huge public outcry because you chose to sell and distribute the ebook “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct.” Apparently, due to immense online pressure from commenters on your site, as well as on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, you chose to remove the book. Yet you clearly were not repentant. CNN.com quotes a representantive of your company as saying,

Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. 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 (http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/11/11/pedophile.guide/ Accessed: 11 Nov 2010).

Along with many others, I twittered frequently last night when I heard about your behavior. I am angry. As a long-time customer of Amazon.com I expect better from you. I have spent hundreds of dollars buying books from you for three different graduate degrees, as well as books and other items for my own personal interests. I was preparing to take advantage of your normally great service and prices to do a little Christmas shopping. I have often referred people to purchase from your site.

Think again, Amazon. You lost my business when you entered the pedophile guidebook publishing  business. Your behavior is unconscionable. Your explanation of it is cowardly and lame. I am all for freedom of speech. However, pedophiles and those who teach others how to engage in such behavior in ways that purport to evade public and criminal justice scrutiny do not qualify for such freedom. You may think you have dodged the bullet by pulling the book from your online store. But discerning people know better.

I agree with the final sentence of your statement above concerning “the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.” You made a decision to enable a pedophile to distribute his literature. I am making a decision to take my business elsewhere. The safety of children around the world is more important than saving a few dollars. My conscience offers me no other choice. I will never consider using your site again unless you publicly repent of your behavior and defense of same. That is, unless you admit the wrong you have done and promise never to do it again. Until then, goodbye. I am watching your next move carefully. I suspect thousands of other consumers are doing the same.

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15 thoughts on “Open Letter to Amazon.com

  1. Wow. I am with you 100%. Please keep us updated via comments to this post, as I have subscribed to comments here. Loss of money is the only was they will hear. May they feel it this holiday season.

  2. wow, I am shocked that amazon would sell a book promoting pedophilia and call it freedom of speech, while the actions of pedophiles violate those that don’t have a voice of their own

  3. J Doss, I agree. This is why I am taking this approach, hoping to raise awareness and get the attention of Amazon representatives who might take notice.

  4. The only place you’ll be able to buy books is the “Christian” book store I’m afraid. B and N, Boarders, and others sell all sorts of books in their stores that promote all sorts of things that we would consider “evil.”

    I am 100% against this book (based on what I heard in the news, though I’ve never read it, so am only going by what others say the content is), but I’m also 100% against censorship. We have to be careful when we start asking companies that aren’t promoting a Christian message to pick and choose what they sell, regardless of how horrible it is. We can pray for the author, for the people who bought the book, but it is a very thin line when we start demanding a ‘secular’ company starts censoring their products. (No matter how evil).

    I hate when someone rejects God. It breaks my heart. Rejecting God, and suppressing His existence, is the most evil thing a person can do. It is out right wicked. Steve Jobs rejects the One True God (based on the reports of His [lack of] “faith.” If we really feel as we do about those who reject the Triune God; we should be just as upset about those who reject Him. (However, I am typing this on my MacBook Pro, and I never leave home without my iPhone. – And I was in an Apple store tonight.) I can’t (and don’t) expect Steve Jobs to do things ‘Christian”, it’s not a “Christian” store (whatever that is). Again, please don’t think I’m “supporting” anything like this book. I hate it, and it’s content. However, if we start censoring things that are ‘evil’ what happens if one day someone starts censoring The Bible because they fell it is “evil?”

    I could go on, and on, but you really do not want to live in a place where we start censoring what people can write, publish, sell, etc; I could go on, and on, regarding this subject, but I won’t.

    You have a right not to shop at Amazon (but you’ll miss out on some great sales), but I’m surprised this is the one that did it for you. Have you any idea the thousands of other products they sale that are just as wicked? I’m not suggesting you do so, but a quick search would give you tons of results of products that are just as wicked.

    Again, B and N, Boarders, etc sale other crazy, wicked books, where the writer is endorsing horrible things, but I still shop there. (And Apple too).

    Think of what God could do if all of us would commit to pray for the writers and publishers and networks every time we came across something wicked! Wow….

    Just a few thoughts.

  5. Rick, thank you for your opinion. As I said in the post, I am all for free speech. However, it crosses a number of very important lines when a company distributes literature which promotes behavior aimed at the sexual exploitation of children. You say that you are “surprised that this is the one that did it for” me. I do not know you, just as you do not know me. However, based on my years of experience in communicating with people, your response does not surprise me. I have no interest in being politically correct with this issue. We will just have to agree to disagree and leave it at that. I stand by my words and actions. Time will tell whether Amazon.com will have the backbone to do the right thing and stand by it.

  6. Maybe I am missing something, but I keep wondering how “free speech” and “censorship” apply to this situation? Doesn’t a distributor, in this case Amazon, have the right to choose which books they will distribute? Most corporations will do so based on expectation of cost/profits, etc. How many authors get rejection slips from publishers everyday? If Amazon refuses to distribute a title, then the author must find other ways to get his/her message to the public. So, unless I am missing some key fact, Amazon’s decision had nothing to do with censorship of free speech. Which makes all the more necessary, that we the consumer vote with our dollars!

  7. Jeanie, exactly. For example, Amazon reportedly refuses to sell pornography. This is censorship. Yet, they sold this guidebook and supposedly have other similar pedophile literature on their site.

    Also Rick, I meant to let you know that it is not only Christians who are outraged by this book. A simple twitter search on #amazonfail or #amazonboycott will reveal a wide range of people across the spectrum of belief (or lack of belief) who object to Amazon’s behavior. Indeed I am reading more objections from those outside the church, than from those within.

  8. Wow! It is amazing to me what actions/publications are defended with the tagline “freedom of speech.” The very idea of publishing and selling this book sickens me and certainly should offend anyone with a heart for children.

  9. I think you guys may have missed the point I was trying to make. This isn’t a good venue to go into back and forth debates, however; so I digress.

    I apologize if my comment in any way, shape, or form seemed to endorse the gross wickedness of the topic at hand.

    -RS

  10. It is a slippery slope. It is information that has a right to exist, even if we find it morally wrong. I think Amazon should have stuck to their policy to not censor e-books. The internet is full of information that plenty of people might find morally wrong, I’m sure if you did a search you could find numerous sites about pedophila, I don’t use theses, I would prefer that they didn’t exist, but I would bet there are people out there that wish your blog didn’t exist because “christianity” offends them.

  11. B. Kendrick,

    My issue with Amazon has to do with the manufacture and distribution of criminal material which specifically helps pedophile sexual predators victimize children. Simple as that. This is not a slippery slope. It is a gaping maw of moral depravity.

  12. Rick, I understand what you wrote and I know you are not endorsing the content of the book. However, you are correct in that it is possible that I and others might not have understood the point you were trying to make. Yet, you chose to comment and it is reasonable to expect feedback on your content. Perhaps shorter comments which get to the point without raising ancillary issues will aid your arguments in the future if you choose to offer your opinions on this or other blogs.

  13. I agree with you totally, Glen. We must do all we can to protect children from any kind of harm, including moving our business elsewhere if a company is so unwise as to publish a book like the one mentioned. The right of free speech, like every other right, comes with responsibilities and one of these vital responsibilities is the protection of the innocent. With all that is going on in the world with abuse and the sex trade, the owners/operators of publishing businesses should have the common sense to avoid that type of book like the plague. You can add my name to the list of people who will NOT be shopping at Amazon or any other company who sells *dangerous* books such as that one.

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