In a recent blog post, science-fiction author and political writer Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day, announced that online retailer Amazon had pulled the library of works published by Castalia House, the independent publisher owned and operated by Day himself:
You may have noticed that you can’t find any Castalia House ebooks on Amazon right now. That’s because Amazon shut down our KDP account on the basis of a wildly spurious claim of publishing material to which we do not have the necessary rights. We happen to have some VERY bad news for them on that subject….
The book in question? You guessed it. Corrosion: The Collapsing Empire again. This is the second attack on that book this month, as ten days ago, they pulled the book itself down for the sixth or seventh time due to claims that it was “misleading”.
Day also provided the correspondence he received from Amazon concerning their decision to take down the book:
From: Amazon.com [[email protected]]
Sent: 21 January 2019 21:59
Subject: Notification from Amazon KDP
While reviewing the following books we found the title, cover image, descriptions and/or authors of the following book(s) are misleading to our customers:
Title: Corrosion (The Corroding Empire Book 1)
As a result, the book(s) have been removed from sale from Amazon.
This review may have been due to the similarities between Corrosion’s cover and the cover of another book, The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi:
The similarity is no mistake, as Day has had a long standing feud with Scalzi dating back to 2005. In 2005, Day wrote a piece for independent news site WND titled “Why Women Can’t Think” asserting that “feminism destroys female intellects.” Scalzi responded to the piece in the comments section of an unaffiliated website, to which Day took offense and responded in defense of his beliefs. This interaction sparked the multi-year feud which saw events such as Scalzi making charitable donations whenever Day would mention him and Day accusing Scalzi of sexual assault (an accusation Scalzi unequivocally denies).
According to io9, Day intentionally made the covers near-identical in order to insult Scalzi:
When Beale announced pre-orders for The Corroding Empire, he made his mission very clear: He wanted his publishing house to do better than Tor Books and thought outperforming Scalzi with a near-identical book cover would twist the knife, adding “What would be more amusing than for The Corroding Empire to outsell and outrank The Collapsing Empire?”
The Corroding Empire has previously been found to have been in violation of Amazon’s policies regarding misleading material. The book was pulled in 2017 shortly after publication for, according to Day, being misleading. He then stated that he would be replacing the cover of The Corroding Empire with one bearing a new title, author name, and cover art in order to comply with Amazon’s policies.
Day has also stated that “This is the second attack on that book this month, as ten days ago, they pulled the book itself down for the sixth or seventh time due to claims that it was “misleading””. However, according to a cached version of the product listing page on Amazon, taken on January 8th, Day did not change the cover and the author was still listed as Johan Kalsi (it is also still listed similarly on Castalia House’s online store). This may imply that Day did not comply with Amazon’s requests and continued to publish his book with the intentionally misleading packaging despite the multiple warnings.
In response to these multiple violations, Amazon also informed Day that his Kindle Direct Publishing account would be closed and that he would receive no unpaid royalties from any of the titles published by Castalia House:
As last communicated in the message on January 21, 2019, we have identified the submission of content for which you did not have the necessary rights. Due to this and previous violations, we are terminating your account and your Agreement effective immediately.
As part of the termination process, we will close your KDP account and remove the books you have uploaded through our channels from sale on Amazon. Note that you are no longer eligible to receive unpaid royalties for sales that occurred prior to this termination.
Additionally, as per our Terms and Conditions, you are not permitted to open any new KDP accounts.
If we terminate this Agreement because you have breached your representations and warranties or our Content Guidelines, you forfeit all Royalties not yet paid to you. If after we have terminated your account you open a new account without our express permission, we will not owe you any Royalties through the new account.
In reference to their Content Guidelines, it is speculated that Day violated their guidelines on ‘illegal or infringing content’:
We take violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously. It is your responsibility to ensure that your content doesn’t violate laws or copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights. Just because content is freely available does not mean you are free to copy and sell it.
While some believe Castalia House’s removal was due to continual violations of the above policies, others believe that Day is being intentionally censored. In addition to science-fiction, Day has written and published political books such as SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police, Cuckservative: How “Conservatives” Betrayed America, and Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker through Castalia House, leading many to speculate that The Corroding Empire is a casualty in a direct attack by Amazon to censor Day’s political beliefs.
In a follow-up blog post posted 12 hours after his initial post Day confirmed that, following an appeal to Amazon, the whole of Castalia House‘s library would be reinstated, with Day once again eligible to receive royalties:
Thank you for your email concerning the status of your account.
The most recent message we sent to you regarding ASIN B06XFQ24QC was incorrect.
Based on your appeal, we are reinstating your account and you will receive any applicable royalties.