Monday, March 7, 2016

Amazon Kills A Murderer’s Book – & Free Speech With It?

Robert Pickton, who confessed to killing 49 women to an undercover cop and who was convicted in 2007 for killing six women in British Columbia, is behind a controversial book that was yanked by Outskirts Press and Amazon.

Though it seems reprehensible that a killer could profit from his murders, British Columbia and some parts of Canada lack a Son of Sam law, which prevents criminals from making money off their crimes.  So, even if such a law was in place in this case, a book still has a right to be published and sold.  The profits just can’t go to the killer.

But Outskirts Press, a self-publisher, killed the book once it received heat from a petition on, where 50,000 people called for Amazon to stop selling the book.  Further, it was learned that the book was published under the authorship of Michael Childres, but he really didn’t write it.  He was a former cellmate and friend of the killer and he typed up Pickton’s handwritten manuscript and sold it as if Childres was the author.

Though no one is saying Pickston is a good guy, I firmly believe that we must push the boundaries of free speech in order to protect the rights of all.

Amazon and Outskirts Press should have stood firm.  Every book deserves to be published and to have the opportunity to be distributed and read.

Publishers Weekly says a similar incident took place in Canada as recently as November when another convicted killer and rapist had his book yanked while he was serving a life sentence.  But his book was a work of fiction and not legally blocked from profit-making. Still, Amazon removed the book.

Sure there are legitimate arguments against seeing a killer publish a book.  Who wants to hear what this animal has to say when his victims are silent?  Why should he have an audience when he’s hurt so many?

I get it, but I treasure our right to know, our right to publish, and our right to speak above all else. It’s not that a killer is above the law, but he’s not beneath it either.  The laws on free speech protect us, the citizens and readers, not just the writers and publishers.  We have a right, even when the writings seem wrong, dumb or worthless or come from people we hate and don’t value. We publish Mein Kampf.  We let the KKK march.  We let ISIS have a website.  This is called free speech, and it comes at a high price, but one we should gladly pay.

2016 Book Marketing & Book Publicity Toolkit

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 201

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