Amazon.com Inc. on Monday blamed a "cataloging error" for the removal of more than 57,000 titles from its main search function.
The disappearance of books such as "Ellen DeGeneres: A Biography," "Milk: A Pictorial History of Harvey Milk" and "Greek Homosexuality" this weekend created an uproar among consumers who wondered why works that dealt with sexual orientation were being marginalized.
"This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error," Drew Herdener, spokesman for the online retailer, wrote in a statement.
"It has been misreported that the issue was limited to gay- and lesbian-themed titles," he said. "In fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as health, mind and body, reproductive and sexual medicine, and erotica."
Herdener did not respond to requests to clarify the cause of the error, nor about why works such as the "Milk" pictorial -- which did not appear to be listed in any of the categories mentioned by Amazon -- may have been removed from the search listings.