I had a strange experience recently - suddenly, the sales of my books basically flatlined. I wondered what went on, and as I tried searching, I realized that my books - especially How to Domesticate a Russian Bear - no longer showed up in searches on Amazon's sites.
Of course I did what anybody would do - contacted Amazon so they could correct the error. That was the beginning of a very long and convoluted process that led to this conclusion: Amazon thinks you should be ashamed of what you read, and they'll do their best to hide the results if you still try to find inappropriately adult books.
The funny thing (which isn't funny at all) is that the definition of "inappropriate" is entirely up to Amazon. I did a search, and I am allowed to buy this Luv-Spot 8-inch Silicone Realistic (and yes, that's the entire name; it seems that if you don't actually call it a dildo, it's not inappropriate, but instead a... really badly made storage device for your glasses, perhaps?).
I also managed to find this beauty which is apparently a vintage magazine giving the reader historical insight in hygienic practices in southern California (judging from the hair color) in the late twentieth century. Because naturally it can't be porn since Amazon hasn't (yet) deemed it "adult". But my book is.
As far as I can tell, the definition of "adult" is completely random (I staunchly refuse to believe that it's because there's gay content in my books. I really do. Even though you can find plenty of straight BDSM, Fifty Shades of Grey included, in your searches). The way of circumventing the system if you haven't yet been cowed into not buying this deviant literature is equally random, unfortunately.
But, if you still think that it's your own damn business what books you choose to read and not the decision of some uptight Amazon employee, here's what you do:
Instead of choosing "All departments" when you search for an author or a title, you have to choose "Books" or even "Kindle Store" in order to find for example How to Domesticate a Russian Bear. You might get a text warning you that "Your search contains adult items which have been hidden". Click that, and THEN you can finally get to your book.
The really annoying part is that there are apparently no set rules for this; the search settings and criteria for books varies from Amazon site to Amazon site. So, what works in the UK might not work in the US and vice versa. And, as my little dildo experiment showed, the results are wildly inconsistent. I'd complain to Amazon about that, too - but I'm pretty sure they'd shut me up by putting the adult sticker on all of my books in every Amazon store, so I'm not going to do that.
What I am going to do is to encourage you to contact Amazon if you also think that what you choose to read is your own business. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for filters - if you choose to use them. If you have children or get easily offended (nothing wrong with that), by all means, put a filter on your searches. But to have someone do it for you without telling you and without you being able to change it - that's censorship. And it's censorchip of the worst insidious kind, because you don't know you're being censored. You don't have to watch The Handmaid's Tale to know how that ends. We should not let that happen to us.
All right, I'm very angry right now (also because this has a huge impact of what I'd thought should be the revival of my writing career. Now I don't know; there's not much sense in writing a book if nobody can buy it). In order to not spend the night fuming like me, here's a picture of a "KONG Safestix Dog Toy, Medium" which pops up when you search for dildos on Amazon. It's also available in green, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when society is too uptight to even admit that sex exists. Maybe I should sell my books as pet supplies in the future.
Preorder How to Domesticate a Russian Bear
I read and I write - everything from corporate to kink. My naughty fictional friends are always there to make my life interesting. And pester me, of course. Pesky creatures.