Amazon bookstore
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People walk past an Amazon Books retail store in New York City
Publishing and e-commerce giant Amazon is facing a wave of criticism for refusing to publish a book questioning whether the media and medical experts made the threat of Covid-19 seem much bigger than it is, before backing down.

"Your book does not comply with our guidelines," Amazon informed author Alex Berenson on Thursday about his submitted work 'Unreported Truths about Covid-19 and Lockdowns Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates'.

The company, which accounts for about 50 percent of the print book market and 75 percent of the ebook business, told Berenson it would not offer his book for sale. This ignited a firestorm on social media, where Amazon was blasted by SpaceX founder Elon Musk as a "monopoly" that needs to be "broken up."


Berenson accused the company of "outrageous censorship," pointing out that it is enjoying huge market dominance thanks to bookstores being closed amid the coronavirus lockdown.



Following the accusations of censorship and anger online in support of Berenson, Amazon has reversed their original position and decided to publish his book.

"Looks official - @amazon BACKED DOWN! Of course I don't know what anyone who doesn't have @elonmusk and so many others pushing will do, but at least this time they backed down," the author later tweeted.


Berenson has been a controversial figure in mainstream media during the coronavirus pandemic, having questioned not only the level of threat posed by Covid-19, but also the benefits politicians say come from lockdown orders.

The author, who covered the pharmaceutical industry while working at the New York Times from 1999 to 2010, has called Covid-19 a "minor risk" for all except the "most at-risk populations." He has described his book about the pandemic as "an introduction and a discussion of death coding, death counts, and who is really dying from Covid, as well as a worst-case estimate of deaths with no mitigation efforts."

'Unreported Truths' is meant to be the first in a series of short ebooks by Berenson on the coronavirus released through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program, which allows writers to self-publish their works.

"Due to the rapidly changing nature of information around the Covid-19 virus, we are referring customers to official sources for health information about the virus. Please consider removing references to Covid-19 for this book," the company originally told Berenson, who published part of 'Untold Truths' on his website prior to Amazon's reversal.

While the company claimed its "guidelines" prevented it from publishing Berenson's thoughts on the current pandemic, Amazon offers plenty of controversial books - many of which Berenson has highlighted - including 'The Anarchist's Cookbook', which contains instructions on how to build a bomb; publications connecting vaccines to autism; and 'The Unabomber Manifesto: Industrial Society and its Future', penned by the Unabomber himself Ted Kaczynski, currently imprisoned for killing three people.



In their official guidelines, Amazon says it offers books that some customers "may find objectionable," but "we reserve the right not to sell certain content" and to remove works from the website that offer a "poor customer experience."