Keeping track of the details of Amazon’s many waves of crackdown on the self-published erotica that supported the Kindle’s early success is too complicated and “inside baseball” for me to keep up with; however, it does appear that another one of those corporate censorship waves is cresting just now. For details, I’ll turn you over to subject-matter expert Selena Kitt, who reports that Amazon is targeting dark erotic romance and BDSM now:

Heads up authors: Amazon is targeting erotica again. This time, it’s “Dark Erotic Romance” (read: DubCon and NonCon) and BDSM. I hate to say I told you so — but I told you so.

Now Amazon has started filtering and banning BDSM simply for being BDSM. For some books, it’s all about perception. Titles with obvious references to abduction, kidnapping and reluctance are being culled. Descriptions with those identifiers are also being removed. And of course, covers are being targeted, now including things specific to domination and submission—chains, ropes, handcuffs, all the markers of the genre, may get a book banned.

There’s also a new level of search filtering to make double-triple sure that adult books don’t appear anywhere in searches on Amazon; basically you have to search, fail, and then click a fine-print link to reveal what you were searching for in the first place:

But there’s another feature that’s popped up in the past few weeks that is a little alarming for erotica authors under the ADULT filter. Now, when your book is filtered, not only does it not appear under an “All Department Search,” as well as showing up very last in any search results in the Kindle store, regardless of title or keywords — it now doesn’t even show up in the Kindle Store initial search results. Now a reader has to click the “excluding adult items” link in order to see an ADULT filtered book.

In related news, this excerpt (or possibly, summary; it’s unclear) of an email Amazon sent to some authors about cover guidelines got posted to twitter:


No side-boob, people! Auntie Amazon does not approve of side-boob!

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