What happened to the women’s section at Amazon’s flagship bookstore? Was it removed because of the book “Influencing Women,” by feminist journalist and Fox News commentator Juliet Lapidos? Would it be there today?
Author Gayle Smith, whose masterful new book, “The Ghost Road,” will be published this month, took to Twitter on Tuesday to share the surprising news.
“I’m sad to report that @amazon’s women’s section is no longer in my store. Is that for ‘Influencing Women’?” Smith wrote.
After Smith shared her news, she was inundated with replies to suggest readers contact Amazon about why a section dedicated to women had vanished from some cities.
“And today in fave two cities, Cambridge and Cambridge, MA, women’s section vanished,” wrote one reader.
Another user pointed out the Amazon parking garage provides a spot for both women and men. A few of Smith’s fellow authors were also concerned about how the book’s omission might diminish a woman’s experience.
Smith received some replies she believes were from Amazon employees. One user wrote that the company does not support “hate speech” and the language the Amazon Reviewers “probably should have removed.” The user provided Smith with the book’s review and tried to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt by adding that Amazon has extensive privacy protections for its reviewers.
Still, Smith was unimpressed with the “honestly inane” review, which compared the book to that of Thomas Pynchon’s “Inherent Vice.”
“Ask me again after I read ‘Inherent Vice’,” Smith wrote.
The ghost road, translated from the French by Smith, is the journey many women have made in their careers toward pursuing work they would otherwise have to give up, she writes. She traces the journey through experiences from an Alabama woman striving to achieve so-called American-type beauty standards to a writer in Los Angeles who rages against the highly restrictive presence of “authoritarian mentors” in her home life.
Smith learned of the book’s disappearance when she dropped by the Amazon store in Massachusetts to buy her book. She writes that she had purchased her copy from the online store in December, adding, “I am bummed because I ordered my book online, and it was in the Amazon store, and now it’s in a sea of armchairs, just holding out for the next real reader.”
Like the book itself, Smith said she believes the disappearance was the result of an in-person interaction.
On Wednesday, Smith posted a screenshot from when she was purchasing the book in 2017: “Every time I get a PDF copy of a new book, the book comes with a ‘free to download’ CD that is supposed to come in a boxed set but might as well have been a CD with no songs,” she wrote. “As it turns out, that CD is a CD containing the work of other authors! It’s AMAZING!”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.