Thursday, November 11, 2010


A recent controversy has surfaced concerning and censorship.  Amazon, for a time was carrying an ebook on their kindle platform, the title of which was "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct."  Now, I have not read the book, have no desire to read the book, but what is interesting to me is the whole issue of censorship.  The question, should Amazon carry this book? 

After an initial outcry, Amazon refused to pull the title, claiming, " believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable."  Therefore, Amazon was setting itself up as the defender of free speech.  Since then, Amazon has relinquished this role under pressure of boycott and has pulled the title from their digital shelves.

So, has Amazon transgressed a moral code and caved in to pressure, now playing the role of a censor?  I don't think so.  Amazon is a business with the goal of making money.  Should they carry a product that may hurt their business?  Probably not.  I suppose it depends on what they think their ultimate goal is.  Is it to be the defender of free speech?  If so, perhaps they should continue to carry the title, and every other title for that matter, and run the risk of losing business.  If not, then pulling the title was the proper move. 

Yet, even so, I do not see this as Amazon crushing free speech.  The author has a right to his views, no matter how reprehensible.  The author has a right to commit these views to print, to self publish the work, and to try and find buyers.  That is free speech.  Yet the author has no right to require that his work be published by a press.  The author has no right to demand that his book be carried by any given bookseller.

What I find perhaps most interesting and ironic in this whole matter is the fact that the few people who actually raised objections to the book probably gave the book more publicity and readership than it ever would have had if it were just left quietly on the roles at  Had they not threatened boycott and got the press all worked up, the book would have been doomed to obscurity, as so many books are.  Yet, with their vehement protests, the book now has a national audience, and probably enough curious readers who will purchase the book elsewhere. 


  1. holy moly. First of all, who just stumbles upon this book. "Oh, I'm going to browse books, hm a pedophile's guide to love? maybe.." What? I completely agree with your last paragraph. The author of this book is both loving and hating this right now, because this is probably the most publicity he or she has ever gotten in his career...and probably ever will. I wasn't so sure, but I think there's not really any big deal if Amazon carries the book or not because no one is forcing you to look at that book. It's not even like a bookstore where you might have to avoid a particular section of the bookstore to avoid the book, just don't click on the link.
    Now, if Amazon is experiencing major boycotting issues, that is another issue that deals with the business side of a company worried of failing. But the company is not demeaning the author or the work by taking it off of the website.
    People are so odd. Some bored middle aged woman with nothing to do was probably browsing through amazon and found the book so she decided to create a huge hubbub, the author will probably be mentioned on Oprah, the book will climb on ratings (well, maybe), unnecessary consequences will occur. Amazon doesn't need to carry the book, but carrying it before snoopy nosy drama queen revealed it to the world was not a drastically awful moral issue. (although when i read the title I gasped)

  2. I agree with your statement that is merely just a business that is trying to make a profit, so once there was threats of boycotting they had no other choice but to remove the book. I think that the profits they would lose from taking off that book would be minimal in comparison to if people started boycotting their website. is not making a stand for or against freedom of speech in this situation. Also, this book seems to give another perspective of the mind and motives of a pedophile so it could be an educational tool in understanding the actions and thoughts of a pedophile. Freedom of speech allows people to give their opinions and insight in to different aspects of society, so a book like this is acceptable in society.

    Christopher Maurer
    REL 1310-37