Did Amazon Fix the Porn Problem in the Kindle Store?

NBC News reported earlier this week that Amazon is pitching porn to teen girls:

It has been nearly four months since Martha Welter first alerted Amazon.com that a search for “teen books for girls” yielded scores of pornographic books on its website.  Not only are the books still there, but dozens more have been added, many of them more graphic than before. 

...Welter, a frequent Amazon shopper, began her search by typing the word "teen" into Amazon’s search box. A drop-down menu suggested a search for "Teen Books for Girls," so she clicked on it, and then looked for the newest books available.

"I go through the first page, and that’s fine," she said. "And I go to the second page, and there I find adult picture books -- adult, pornographic picture books."

And not just a few:  NBC5 Investigates replicated Welter’s search at the time, and found that 91 out of a total of 140 books featured as Amazon’s newest "teen books for girls," were, in fact, adult picture books, most with graphic covers that were impossible to avoid while paging through the search results.

As shocking as this news story may be, I have to say that I am puzzled. I tried to duplicate the search results and I cannot see any pornographic ebooks.

kindle porn amazon teen books for girls

All of the Kindle ebooks that I can see look like the usual YA fiction. Did I miss something, or has Amazon fixed the problem?

I wonder if perhaps the problem was due to Amazon showing customized search results, and their suggestion algorithm was on the fritz? That would explain why I can't see them but the reporter could.

Could everyone try the search for themselves and see if the the porn shows up?

Amazon (Teen Books for Girls)

About Nate Hoffelder (11372 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

8 Comments on Did Amazon Fix the Porn Problem in the Kindle Store?

  1. No porn here. I looked at the results on the first two pages and it was all YA books except for one which was on being the parent of a teen girl.

  2. I tried the search and found nothing pornographic after several pages. Actually, there were a number of them that were religious in nature. I wonder if this individual has an axe to grind. She was shocked to receive a canned response to an email sent to a large corporation…really? Sounds suspicious to me.

  3. Amazon may have removed the titles completely after the NBC story broke.

  4. I went to Page 6, and the only thing I found was a Female Orgasm Sex Voice in MP3. Eeew, but that’s about the worst I can say about it.

  5. Nope, no erotica, though, in some countries, hodling hands is considered illegal – I’ve seen some “offending” titles searching for “teen books for girls”.

  6. ^ Correction: I meant “indecent” not “illegal”.

  7. Hmmm… is it “porn?”

    Page one of my one word search, “teen,” contains no adult erotica. It does, in my opinion, contain erotica targeted for American teens. These books, these vampire/fantasy stories, and “young love” romances DO get the juices flowing, so to speak, for kids. I emphasize for the kids; NOT for this middle-aged momma. I am not a sociopath. Most of the lit-candy targeted for the young adolescent mind is written to do, in part, exactly that. Sex sells, and I’ll go so far as to posit that books without “bite” don’t sell nearly as well as them what do.

    No, most do not appear contain explicit language or scenes, but speaking from a 40-something woman’s experience after reading novels in the same genre as “The Popularity Plan” and the “Sweet Valley High” series that, back in the day, some of those stories made for some very steamy windows in my boyfriend’s 1978 Thunderbird.

    Porn is one of those subjective words, it seems everyone has an opinion about what it is. Books of the type that came up in the search I ran today are the sort that I refused to buy for any of my three kids.(23, 19 and 15.) I encouraged other interests and when I found books like these in my home I asked if anyone had read them and engaged in discussion about them in order to get a temperature reading from my child and to discuss the adult topics which the stories explored, and my opinions about those topics. I fear becoming a grandmother this early in life.

    In other words; “Porn” is in the limbic response of the reader.

  8. I can’t reproduce either…
    Either Amazon adjusted their algorithm or pulled hundresds of books.
    I tried it with and without a log on and the results were not quiet the same, although I have never (to my knowledge) bought any YA, still the search results were slightly different as of page 5 or 6.
    Maybe the reporter got personalized recommendations based on past purchases maybe when logged on? Most likely he has just a grudge against Amazon… didn’t they want to buy NBC and replace reportes by an algorythm? Just kidding!
    That would be a bummer … for the reporter, LOL!

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