Remember before Christmas I was a bit p***ed off that Amazon were selling a book which encourages beating children with sticks? Well, I wrote to their UK PR Manager about this.
What follows is my letter to Amazon and their detailed and lengthy response. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Please take a look and let me know what you think, and what you think I should do next.
Also, please RT and share this post if you still think Amazon should withdraw this book from sale. I’m not giving up on this, despite the fact their response is… well. You be the judge.
I’m writing as we met briefly at Maggie and Rose at the Kindle event, and I’m hoping you might be able to help with something I’m involved in.
I, and many others, are appalled that Amazon are selling the book To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl. If you take a look at the comments section concerning the book you’ll be able to see just what people think about this book.
I know this issue has been raised with Amazon in the past, and despite numerous emails I’ve not received a response on this matter. I understand the office of Nadine Dorries MP has, along with NSPCC, and the email received states;
I would like to clarify that Amazon does not endorse the content of any book that it offers. This book has been widely debated in the media, and on Amazon, for many years, and anyone who wishes to express their views about this title is free to do so on its product page on our website.
And many people have commented, and many people have expressed shock that Amazon sell this and want it withdrawn from sale. The groundswell of opinion here is that Amazon are profiting from a book which encourages child abuse and a book which has been linked to the death of three children.
The NSPCC’s stance on this is as follows.
This week the BBC in Washington featured a piece about this book and last week I was able to speak to the journalist about this matter. I understand he was going to contact Amazon, but I’m not sure if he did.
If you’re in any doubt as to how the authors feel about this matter then…
And on a BBC World Service interview, one of the authors backtracked on the above but the evidence is there. He has in the past said that people want the booked banned. This is impossible and not what we are asking for. All we are asking is for retailers to take responsibility for what they sell.
The World Service interview is here and begins at about 27m 10s and I hope you take the time to listen to this.
I also hope you can take the time to respond to this email.
Simply put, a lot of Amazon’s customers are upset that Amazon sells and stocks a book which encourages child abuse and there is no doubt that this book does. I have read it and it cites beating babies with sticks, it suggests putting tempting items in children’s reach and hitting them when they touch these items, to train them up, like one would train up a stubborn mule. This activity is, surely, entrapment, as the outcome will be that a child will be beaten, and to sell a book which encourages such behaviour, or suggests parents beat children with sticks, rulers, belts or tree branches is what so many people are upset about.
Many have said they will boycott Amazon. Over 200,000 names on petitions have called for Amazon to stop selling this book. Over 400 customer comments ask the same.
And despite the email mentioned above, we know that Amazon have removed books from sale in the past when people feel that it is inappropriate. When people have complained. And many many people feel that this book should also be removed from sale. So I would ask you to do all you can to help in this matter. Please remove this book from sale.
Waterstones, Foyles, Wesley Owen, Hive Stores have all stopped stocking and supplying this book after we contacted them and we would ask Amazon to do the same.
I have blogged about this on numerous occasions. My most recent post which links to all of the previous ones is here.
I know of people who have written to their MP’s on this matter, and all have expressed their shock that this item is for sale. The attached letter is from someone who contacted their Welsh MP on this matter and I hope gives you some indication of how far this could go.
And by ignoring customers requests to remove this book from sale, which Amazon have done with similar items on previous occasions after similar requests, Amazon are showing terrible disrespect for their customers, and many feel that Amazon are profiting from a book which encourages child abuse, and has been linked with the deaths of children. This, as you probably know, does not look good on a PR level.
I look forward to hearing what Amazon are going to do
Have a great weekend and a wonderful Christmas, if we are not in contact beforehand.
Hope you are well.
Amazon does not endorse the content of any book that it offers. This book has been widely debated in the media, and on Amazon, for many years, and anyone who wishes to express their views about this title is free to do so on its product page on our website.
Ruth Attridge | Amazon.co.uk Ltd | UK PR Manager
*Checks email again*
Is that it? Is that their response? Merely cutting and pasting the answer I’ve already received and quoting it back to me?
Next step… well please let me know what you think I should do next. Short of chaining myself naked to some railings and writing to The Times I’m not sure what to do next.
And please make your feelings about their response known here, if you can, so I can send them all back to Amazon. So Amazon know just what people think.