VENICE — A local doctor and former state lawmaker is claiming Amazon initially censored his new e-book on COVID-19.
It took some time, but Amazon, majority owner of Kindle Direct Publishing, agreed to e-publish the book after first turning down the pre-printed e-version.
“CoronaLessons” author Dr. Julio Gonzalez says the censorship continues after Amazon refused to publish a revision of the same book.
“Amazon is still working to keep alternative views regarding the Wuhan pandemic from reaching you,” Gonzalez said.
When Amazon originally turned the book down it told Gonzalez it was due to the rapidly changing nature of information around the COVID-19 virus. They were referring customers to “official sources” for health information about the virus.
They told him to consider removing references to the virus for his book.
Gonzalez, a former state legislator, contacted U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s office, who’s chief counsel made inquires. Amazon relented, and agreed to e-publish the book, Gonzalez said.
“Everybody was concerned about the speech suppressing activities at Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and others,” Gonzalez said.
“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I have been furiously studying the Wuhan pandemic, amassing data, and evaluating our responses and the effects these have had on our society and our system of laws,” he said.
His information includes novel statistical analyses and more than 650 citations into the manuscript, which he calls “the first comprehensive look at our nation’s coronavirus experience.”
He submitted it June 9.
“When I tried to make some nonsubstantive changes to the book designed to make the book more recognizable and reading easier, Amazon prohibited me from doing so, telling me that I should do it as a new book entry instead. But when we submitted the upgrade as a new book entry per their recommendations, they ruled that they would not publish the new entry because it talks about COVID-19,” Gonzalez said.
He called the book well-researched and it didn’t use divisive language. He said the e-book publisher’s behavior was “unconscionable.”
“We are still under Amazon’s censorship thumb,” Gonzales said.
Since then he’s created a GoFundMe page called Coronalesson.
“We aim to fight back, and to generate funds for the development of a messaging campaign regarding censorship and the threat it places on our nation’s safety and well-being,” Gonzalez said.