Skip to main content

So Apparently Audible Warns You About "Diverse Content"

I signed up for my free month with, Amazon's audiobook company. I like being able to listen to a book while driving or doing chores.

Plus, there's been a book on my TBR pile for a while: A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliot. I got it and finished listening. I'll review it here in a bit, but for now I'll say it was one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to.

The thing that annoyed me was that once I got to the download screen, I noticed that contained under the book information was a little warning box. A warning about "diverse content."


A Wish After Midnight is the story of an African American girl from Brooklyn. One night, she makes a wish at a fountain and finds herself transported back in time to Civil War-era Brooklyn. There, she has to survive and get back to her own time.

Image result for a wish after midnight
Also, hooray for introverted protagonists, ordinary people, and others who don't normally make it into fantasy novels. Because they're pretty much all in this book.

It's pretty clear from the synopsis that the book contains some heavy issues, such as, I don't know...the Civil War and how black Americans are treated by society then and now. And Jenna is an African American girl, but her dad is from Panama, and her family also has Native American heritage, so the character is "diverse" in that sense. She and her boyfriend are also members of a minority religion. 

But I don't really believe that the "diverse content" sticker is supposed to warn you about all that. Anyway, are all those things we really need to be warned about? For fuck's sake, A Game of Thrones has a character eat a horse heart and ride around on dragons in fantasy-Asia -- yet we need a "diverse content" warning about a normal kid from modern-day Brooklyn? I don't fucking think so. 

I suspect "diverse content" is in place just to make sure you don't buy a "black book" by mistake. 

But if you'd looked at the cover, you'd know that A Wish After Midnight is about African American characters. If you have a problem with that, you probably haven't gotten to the stage where Audible warns you about it. (Which appears to be only after you purchase the thing, which is also weird.)

Or maybe it's a coded warning that "this book contains the n-word." But again, if you'd read the synopsis, you'd know A Wish After Midnight is about the Civil War. So even if you were offended by it, you might not necessarily be surprised. And if that's what they meant, then why not use a language advisory? "This book contains adult language and racial slurs."

This weird little content warning just seems like another gate kept by Amazon's mysterious censorship gods. Like, watch out! You might end up reading "diverse content" in books about characters different from you!

Different from you. That's the implication here that really bugs me, I think. The assumption that their audience is all the other things the characters are not (namely, white) and might need a warning so as not to be shocked. 

I know I put "Diverse Reads" tags on some of my book reviews. But, hopefully, I seem as though I'm trying to promote diversity, rather than warn about it. Doing the Diverse Reads series is an attempt on my part to read more widely and to let others know about more of these books. Looking at Audible's content warning, I really, really hope it hasn't come across in the wrong way. :P

I tried to see whether Audible puts "diverse content" tags on books with themes other than race, but the warning doesn't seem to pop up before the final stage (and I'm too broke to try and find a pattern). If I purchase Mind Games, which has a blind protagonist, a depressed protagonist, and a graphic depiction of a suicide attempt, will I get a "diverse content" warning?

Or is it really a race thing?

*squints suspiciously at Audible*

I think I'm going to try Nook Audiobooks for the time being. 


  1. What the hell? Well I don't know what that 'diverse content warning' means exactly. But I'm already offended so Boooooo! Anyway thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      On all the things to put a content warning about, that seemed wrong to me.


Post a Comment

Comments make me happy, so leave lots! :) I will usually reply to each one, so click Notify Me to read my replies.

Popular posts from this blog

What if Iago was a Woman?

For all that I'm a theatre major, I hardly ever talk about acting on this blog. But this project is so cool and fantastic and awesome and wicked that I just have to take a minute and tell you about it. What if Iago was a woman? For those of you who don't know, Iago is a villain in Shakespeare's tragedy Othello. He is considered one of the worst, most evil antagonists in all of Shakespeare.  Plot summary: Othello is a Moor, which in those days referred to someone from Africa. He, a black man, marries Desdemona, a white woman. Society flips its shit, but they can't exactly do anything because he's the General of the Venetian navy and there's a war on. Desdemona, unable to stay with her angry father, goes with Othello to Cyprus, which is in rebellion. A storm sinks the enemy navy and our good guys arrive safely. Iago, though, is not happy. Because Othello passed him over for promotion (and assorted other reasons that all amount to "I just want to fuck sh

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faïza Guène, a YA Book By A Young Author

Review time! Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow is a young adult novel by a young adult, so I was very interested to read it. There's also a #MuslimShelfSpace tag going around, and this review is a nod to that. The idea is that there's been a lot of stereotypes and anti-Muslim sentiment spread around, so buying and boosting books about and by Muslims can help educate people and break down harmful stereotypes.  The author is French with an Algerian background, and  Guène  wrote Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow when she was in her late teens. Although the novel is not autobiographical, she shares many things with its main character. Doria, like her creator, is the child of immigrants and lives in poor suburban housing projects.   Guène   wrote that she realized girls like herself weren't really represented in books, and felt that Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow was a way to tell the stories of people in the suburbs who are ignored by the elites of French literature. Plot: Life Sucks, Until It Doesn

Missing people around the holidays

This winter is highly unusual for many of us because of the pandemic. The holidays are often a trauma trigger in any case, beyond the simple stress of preparing the celebrations. For example, some people have bad memories of spending holidays with abusive people, while others have to deal with the grief of experiencing their first holiday without a deceased loved one.  This winter, so many people are spending their holidays sick or without those who have died from COVID-19. One of my friends used to make and boost threads about being kind to yourself around the holidays, geared towards those for whom the season is a grief/trauma anniversary. This year, my grandfather died. Later this year, that friend died. Every time I think of all the people who didn't survive 2020, I think of them and how fucking unfair that feels. In 2020, we weren't able to hold a funeral for my grandfather. The social rituals around death, designed to help us deal with it, have been disrupted. Distance is