Amazon has quietly removed Nazi-themed books from its website in an adjustment to its original vow to sell “the good, the bad and the ugly,” The New York Times reported Monday.
The retail giant that began as a bookstore reportedly removed two books by David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and a few by George Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party. The volumes “The Ruling Elite: The Zionist Seizure of World Power” and “A History of Central Banking and the Enslavement of Mankind” have also been banned from Amazon’s website, according to the Times.
Another book, “The Man in the High Castle: Creating the Alt World,” based on the retailer’s own show had its photos adjusted to digitally erase swastikas.
“Amazon reserves the right to determine whether content provides an acceptable experience,” one recent removal notice obtained by the Times read.
The pages for removed books like “My Awakening Path: A Path to Racial Understanding” direct users to pictures of Amazon employees’ dogs, in webpages the company calls “dead-end dog pages.”
Third-party booksellers told the Times that Amazon’s rules for selling books are vague or nonexistent. Some criticized the company for not releasing a list of prohibited books and why they were banned.
“If Amazon executives are so proud of their moral high ground, they should issue memos about which books they are banning instead of keeping sellers and readers in the dark,” Gregory Delzer, a secondhand store owner in Nashville, told the Times.
An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill that they value their work with authors, publishers and sellers.
“All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer, and we have policies outlining what books may be sold in our stores,” the spokesperson said. “We do not take selection decisions lightly and we are always working to better support our partners by improving how we enforce and communicate these decisions.”
Amazon does have guidelines for books, including against illegal or infringing content and poor customer experience. The offensive and controversial materials rules used elsewhere on the site do not apply to books, music, video and DVD.
But AbeBooks, a secondhand store owned by Amazon, still has copies of Duke’s books available, although Amazon declined to comment to the Times about that.
The Times report comes at a time sellers and social media platforms are wrestling with issues about freedom of speech and offensive speech.