More information on how Amazon came to misclassify over 50,000 books (including books about feminism, about gay and lesbian themes, etc) as "adult" and make them largely invisible to searchers. Turns out Patrick's theory was largely correct — an employee in France filled in a field incorrectly and clobbered the listings for 50,000 items.
This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.
It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon's main product search.
Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.
(via Lisa Gold)