Porn books on Amazon? You’re searching wrong

“I don’t think anyone I was corresponding with actually went and did this search to see what I was finding,” Welter says. She eventually wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and a few days later she got a reply from a representative in Amazon’s Executive Customer Relations department.

“She told me I was searching wrong,” Welter says.



  • John

    Americans are so funny. “Oh my god, I found a pornographic book, oh, the agony of seeing this book’s cover in my search results, I demand that Amazon TAKE IT DOWN FROM ITS WEBSITE! Won’t somebody think of the children!”

  • DaintyDan

    Perhaps if she had searched in Children’s Books, Teen department, she wouldn’t have had this horrible experience.

  • EVula

    Hah, I followed the directions and found the titles. Not only is the “look inside” graphic that get automatically applied amusing, but as a Prime member, I can apparently get them all for free.

    I do like the original article’s slant of “oh no, kids could find this stuff!” Um, lady, it’s the internet. If they’re going to Amazon to find pictures of scantily-clad women, they are doing it wrong.

  • Will

    Self-publishers pick two categories when they upload their books to Amazon. The fact that people are choosing the Teen Fiction section when uploading pornographic books is something that Amazon should address.

    Jokes about prudishness aside, it’s a discoverability issue and a customer service problem. If Borders had stocked porn in the Young Adults section, people would be understandably angry.

    • John

      I don’t think that’s what’s happening. Apparently, the woman accidentally clicked out of the Teen section. It sounds like a UI issue, if it’s an issue at all.

  • Boo

    “What concerns me about this is that young people can go on Amazon.com – you don’t have to prove that you’re 18,” says Welter. “They can’t go in an adult book store. They should not be able to find this stuff so easily online.”

    Is she new to the internet or something? It is waaaay easier to find stuff far more explicit online. You actually have to go out of your way to avoid finding it and even then it might not. Hell, the stuff I’ve seen on face book has been outright illegal and horrifying. It took them more than 12 hours to remove it after hundreds if not thousands of people reported it.

    Amazon is a kindergarten class compared to the rest of the internet. I’d hate to see her reaction when she finds out how easy it is for unsupervised kids to find even the most depraved things on the internet.

  • lucascott

    Regardless of the whole ‘they post worse on their own Facebook’ issue, the attitude from Amazon was not cool. They are responsible for their site and they need to at least pretend like they care about some customer concerns before they lose customers over such things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.pulrang Sean Pulrang

    I don’t know how difficult it would be to implement, but it seems like this would be solved if Amazon had a safe search filter similar to google. “You’re searching wrong” feels like an answer given by someone who’s spent too much time in their own system, and doesn’t have enough perspective about how others are using their product.

    Maybe it gets too far into data mining, or what have you, but if Amazon has access to this lady’s shopping records, and can see that she’s been buying kids books already, then maybe their default of sort of “relevance” could take that into account.

    There’s definitely a line where people need to be free to get their fingers burned, but expecting someone to know that doing a default search on Amazon could turn up adult picture books on the same page as the “Little Princess Address Book” seems seems ridiculous.