In the face of enormous pressure, Amazon.com appeared to reverse itself early this morning and pulled a how-to guide to pedophilia from its Kindle e-book store. There was no official word from Amazon at this posting, but the book’s sales page had been removed. The pressure on Amazon to back down on its unequivocal free speech stance was especially acute in view of its announced purchase last week of Diapers.com for $545 million.
EARLIER (12:15 AM):
Amazon stands firm as ‘Pedophile’s Guide’ sales soar 232,264 percent in less than 1 day … boycott threats spread
Amazon.com stood its ground tonight, with boycott fever spreading through the blogosphere as sales were soaring for a Kindle e-book on how to be a pedophile.
Amazon responded to the uproar with a written statement:
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.
The statement is similar to the one Amazon has been using to defend its sale of “The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion.”
“The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure,” a $4.79 self-published Kindle download, sold at a quickening pace throughout the evening. By midnight, sales had jumped 232,264 percent for the day, closing at number 65 on Amazon’s list of all-time best-selling e-books (President Bush’s memoir, “Decision Points,” was at number 284).
The screed’s author, 47-year-old Phillip Greaves, told The Smoking Gun that when TechCrunch first wrote about his book and attacked Amazon on Wednesday afternoon, he had only sold one copy — and the book stood at number 158,221 on the all-time hit list.
“Even as Mommy bloggers, tech bloggers and Twitter users call for an Amazon boycott over the title [it] is selling like it was just announced as an Oprah Book Club selection,” Gawker reported.
“People want to know what the fuss is about. (Or a surprisingly large portion of Kindle owners are pedophiles.)”
Gawker assures that the book, subtitled “A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct,” “will not convince a single regular person to become a child predator. Nor does it include a pull-out map of secret shops where already-existing pedophiles can buy underage sex-slaves or anything.”
The Smoking Gun tracked Greaves down at his Colorado home and posted an interview in which he said he was first introduced to sex at age seven by a 10-year-old girl, and that he was involuntarily hospitalized about three years ago when he suffered a “mental collapse.”
Asked if he had engaged in sexual acts with children as an adult, Greaves first answered “could have,” before stating flatly that he had not engaged in such illegal conduct.
CNN quotes Greaves: “True pedophiles love children and would never hurt them.”
In describing his book on the Amazon website, Greaves wrote:
This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught. [sic]
Further comment from Amazon was not forthcoming during the evening.
Attached to the book’s page on Amazon.com are (as of midnight) approximately 2,500 comments — almost all of them negative. The lead comment, by “onegoldplanner,” states:
This is my SECOND review for this book … my first one was deleted by Amazon. I have contacted NUMEROUS news agencies, as well as the FBI. I have contacted Oprah, John Walsh and Diane sawyer. I will be on this until it is taken down. And As a customer of Amazon I will no longer be one, as soon as this is taken down I will delete my account. And I am going to make sure NONE of my family and friends will buy from you either! SHAME ON YOU for listing SUCH FILTH!!
Greaves via The Smoking Gun