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Ever since the news broke last week that Amazon had removed some yaoi manga from the Kindle store, people, myself included, have been bombarding them with questions. No answers have been forthcoming, however. Amazon is like a huge black box with a screen in the side that sells books. What goes on inside it is anybody’s guess; their PR people don’t return emails or calls, and their customer service department spits out bland, automated responses like
“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.”
In the Case of the Missing Manga, Amazon fails the Turing Test. It is obviously a robot.
That said, somewhere inside its complex machinery is some sort of a sensor that responds to exterior stimuli. I emailed Animate U.S.A. to confirm that some of their books had been removed, and the answer was surprising: They told me that Delivery Cupid and Pet in Love had been removed but were now back, and that vol. 1 of Mister Mistress was removed and “doesn’t get approved again,” which apparently means it won’t be back. The Yaoi Review has a very comprehensive list that covers several publishers, and they also show Pet on Duty, Kiss Ariki Episode 2, and Hyper Loving a Maniac, part 4, as having been removed and then restored.
Digital Manga, on the other hand, suffered a double whack: Not only are their manga still missing from the Kindle Store, but the print volumes have been removed as well. The Yaoi Press titles that were removed from Kindle, including Happy Yaoi Yum Yum and The Aluria Chronicles, do seem to still be available in print. Meanwhile, the Kindle Store continues to offer such classy photo books as Nude & Naked Hot Pants (Hot & Seductive Girl) and No Holes Barred. It’s hard not to think of this as sexist, as yaoi appeals primarily to women and the photo books obviously cater to a male audience.
Also, as was inevitable, there is now a Facebook page for this issue.