SAN FRANCISCO-Amazon quietly banned Adolf Hitler's manifesto "Mein Kampf" late last week as part of its efforts to speed up the removal of Nazi and other hateful materials from its bookstore, then quickly set itself back.
The retailer, which controls most of the US book market, is caught between two uncoordinated needs. At a time when extremist forces seem to be increasing, Amazon is under pressure to shut out hate literature. But the company doesn't want to be seen as an arbiter of what people are allowed to read, which has traditionally been a sign of repressive regimes.
Booksellers selling on Amazon Say retailers don't have a consistent philosophy Regarding what it decided to ban, it seemed to be guided largely by public complaints. Over the past 18 months, the book has published books by David Duke and George Lincoln Rockwell of the Nazis, Islamic States, and the neo-Nazis of the United States. But this has allowed many equally offensive books to continue to be sold.
An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday that the platform provided "customers with access to a variety of perspectives" and noted that "all retailers will decide which product to choose."
"Mein Kampf" was first issued in Germany in 1925 and is the basis of Nazism. Houghton Mifflin's Mein Kampf has been in the U.S. since 1943 and was abandoned by Amazon on Friday.
According to an email reviewed by The New York Times, the retailer told booksellers who have been selling the title, "We cannot sell this book."
After disappearing for a few days, "Mein Kampf" is Once again sold directly by Amazon. But second-hand copies and copies from third-party merchants are still banned, and the sellers say the distinction is meaningless.
However, hundreds and thousands of old and new copies of "Mein Kampf" are available on the largely independent Amazon subsidiary AbeBooks.
"It's ridiculous how the world's greatest e-commerce company controls its platform so badly," said California bookseller Scott Brown. "They can't stop it in some way. Price fraud They can't stop people from selling counterfeit And they cannot or do not want to effectively implement Nazi bans. "
For years, Amazon has thought that even the most offensive books are sold. Nazi books have gained followers and received rave reviews. This has led to an increase in sales and visibility on the platform, which in turn has prompted the Holocaust Memorial Association and other groups to demand the removal of these books.
Amazon is also under pressure to portray the Nazis. In February, Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum criticizes "Hunter" The Amazon series showcases a deadly human chess game taking place in a concentration camp. The memorial says the fictional scene "welcomes the people of the future." David Weil, the creator of the play, responded that he was engaged in fiction because he didn't want trivial reality.
Amazon also banned all versions of International Jews last week, anti-Semitic propaganda released by automaker Henry Ford in the early 1920s, and the infamous Zion Elder Protocol in varying versions. In the early 20th century, the Jewish rule was described.
Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Education Trust, which works with students, schools and communities in the UK, says Amazon should go further. She welcomed the deletion of "Mein Kampf", but Tweeted "for sure @AmazonUK Should the books of Himmler, Goebbels and Rosenberg also be deleted? "
On the Amazon Seller Forum Work on this topicMany businesses are skeptical of the retailer's latest move.
One wrote: "When a company decides what you can and cannot read, there is always trouble."
Another said that the book was misplaced.
"I really want to see books that they have banned. These books are really hurting people, such as‘ stop seeing a doctor and cure cancer in a natural way. ’”
Maybe it's people's attention, or maybe "Mein Kampf" is something people want to read as they wander around the country, but its sales ranking on Amazon rose from about 50,000 a few weeks ago to 3,115 on Tuesday.