Going through the primary interest post and related relevant list, I picked out a children's book title Heather Has Two Mommies, which was identified as one of the titles that was stripped of its Amazon Sales Ranking. Searching for the title on amazon.com resulted in a number of other books well before the book with that exact title. (Go figure.) Searching on amazon.ca, I at least get the title at the top of the search list, but it too has no sales rank listing. So what do I get on amazon.jp...?
It's a warning stating that this store contains items or items containing material inappropriate for those under 18 years of age. Absolutely no one under the age of 18 is permitted. It then asks if you are over the age of 18.
Going through to the actual book shows that this book is an adult item, cannot be shipped outside the country, and cannot be sold to those under 18 (<-- I guess that makes sense since you had to confirm you were over 18 in order to view the item in the first place...). But what's really interesting is further down the page where it mentions the book's meant for children 4-8 years old. Granted I'd be very worried if a 4-8 yr old had ready access to online shopping unsupervised, but... putting it in an adults only section seems to be going a bit far, isn't it? Especially if you consider all the boys love titles that can be found normally over there. ^^;
Mind you, I don't doubt that much of this (sic on amazon.jp) is simply because it's an import, so no one over there would even be familiar with the material let alone the author. From what I've seen, there's one title listed under J books for that author, but it looks like it'll be the upcoming 20th anniversary version (in English) for the book that I saw listed while poking around.
English books aside (I am looking on amazon.jp after all), I decided to look at things that are a little closer to heart: boys love manga and novels. Novels are a bit more difficult because, as I mentioned earlier, I'm no longer into that area for reading normally. The titles I'd read before may no longer be in print or the original publishers may no longer be around. (People more into this area should take a look around and see how heavily they're affected by this Amazon Sales Rank removal. Most likely you'll be able to see the effects more clearly than I can.)
I had to wrack my brain for titles that I'd read before, let alone authors, and the only ones I could think of readily were Matoh Sanami (Fake), Kodaka Kazuma (Kizuna), and Tateno Makoto (Tama Yori Hayaku, Aoi Hitsuji no Yume). Using Fake, I found it was recently re-released in bunko format and does indeed have a J Amazon sales ranking of #185,835 in books. On amazon.ca it's an adult book with no ranking but is available and can be found in a search from the main page. The ringer though is amazon.com. There, a regular search brings up the German version (which has a sales ranking) and a couple of weirdly titled out of stock volumes of the English version with no known time for re-stocking. Doing a search under Books gives me the appropriate list of TokyoPop volumes which are all in stock, but again, they have no sales ranking.
Quite frankly, I'd want to see what sort of results would come of searching for different books (sic novels), but there might not be much that's been brought over and translated on that front. Likewise, there's the distinct possibility that anything that's been licensed and translated will be out of print in Japan. >.> That said, Ai no Kusabi is readily searchable on all fronts and does have its Amazon Sales ranking. Never having read the book, I don't know how explicit (if at all) it might be. It's also readily searchable on amazon.jp (where it seems to have gone through a re-release?) and is ranked at #4508.
Quite frankly, I don't use amazon.com period. My (English) books pretty much come from either amazon.ca or Chapters/Indigo, and since I don't read much pure (English) smut (homosexual, heterosexual, or otherwise), this issue might not affect me currently. Still, it's rather disconcerting to consider if this were to be affecting me *now*. Being unable to find books readily or having to jump through Amazon's hoops in order to find things? No thanks.
But for those people who are thinking that it doesn't affect them, if you're into yaoi and use Amazon, it very well *may* affect you. To what extent, though, is something only you can determine.
Oh, and the requisite post of relevant links to the fun.