TORONTO — An e-book penned by notorious serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo has risen to the top of Amazon Canada’s list of its biggest gainers in sales in the Kindle Store.
Bernardo’s lawyer Tony Bryant confirmed to Global News Thursday that his client released the political spy thriller titled A MAD World Order on the popular e-commerce website on June 25.
As of Friday afternoon, the 631 page e-book, which includes violent, gory descriptions of death and terrorist plots, had risen to number one on Amazon Canada’s “Movers and Shakers” list — edging out Janet Zimmerman’s The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook. The book was also number three on the website’s list of best sellers.
Amazon’s Guide to Kindle Content Quality says e-books published on its website are “held to the high standards customers have come to expect from Amazon,” which does not allow “content that disappoints our customers,” including “content that does not provide an enjoyable reading experience.”
Its content guidelines also state that it will not publish “offensive content” but provide no specific examples of what that refers to aside from “what we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.”
“We don’t accept books that provide a poor customer experience,” the website stated.
“We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience.”
Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years in 1995 for the rape and murder of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.
He was incarcerated in the Kingston Penitentiary in Kingston, Ont. until 2013, when he was transferred to the Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ont.
He was also given dangerous offender status for admitting to raping 14 other women and other charges related to Mahaffy and French. Dangerous offenders can be imprisoned indefinitely.
The book follows a Russian plot to launch a “catastrophic strike” against the United States involving al-Qaeda in an attempt to return itself to a world power.
An excerpt from the book details what Bernardo described as two al Qaeda “martyrs” committing suicide after a terrorist attack.
“Flattened on impact the bullet tips tore through the interiors pushing their brains along with it … a large gaping circular exit wound marked each departure,” it reads.
“Both bodies slumped forward revealing the blood droplets, hair and chunks of grey matter oozing down the sheet from the two impact stains.”
Comments posted on the e-book’s page condemned Amazon for selling Bernardo’s works; one commenter said they would “do no further business with Amazon while it allows this scum to profit.”
Many others asked the site to remove the e-book out of respect for the victims and their families.
Tim Danson, the lawyer for both the French and Mahaffy families, told Global News Thursday he was “very surprised” to hear the book had been published.
“Where is Amazon in all of this? Are they even aware of who he is?” Danson said.
“You wonder what their thinking process was in light of what its content may be. But I would say this, hypothetically, if the book is as violent as some people say it is, and they’re kind of aware of the fact that he’s been declared a dangerous offender and that he’s a psychopath, why would you want to give this person that platform?”
According to Amazon’s website, anyone can independently post a book for sale on its Kindle store platform “worldwide within 24-48 hours.”
The e-publisher indicates it charges a flat fee for any e-book published depending on how the author sets the price.
An e-book sold between $2.99 and $9.99 earns 70 per cent royalties while anything below $2.99 earns only 35 per cent royalties. A MAD World Order is currently listed at $7.77.
Amazon did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
With files from David Shum and Tania Kohut