STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A department store chain that refuses to sell radio personality Howard Stern's autobiography, ''Private Parts,'' has eliminated the book from The New York Times Best Sellers list posted in its stores.

''We think it's a controversial book and we don't care to sell books like that,'' said Gary Vasques, senior vice president of marketing for Caldor stores. ''We would get more customer complaints by selling the book than would warrant the sales we would make off the book.''

Stern's book has held the No. 1 spot in the Times nonfiction best-seller list for the past three weeks. But in Caldor stores, the list is reprinted with the No. 2 book, comedian Jerry Seinfeld's ''Seinlanguage,'' on top, and all the other best sellers up a notch.

Vasques said Stern's book was removed from the list because it was not for sale at Caldor, a Norwalk-based discount department store chain with about 150 stores on the East Coast.

A listener faxed Stern a copy of the Caldor list on Wednesday, and the book's restricted availability joined Stern's favorite on-air topics, which include locker-room-style jokes and his hatred for various minority groups and nationalities. His show is syndicated in 15 markets.

Caldor, meanwhile, was talking with The New York Times legal department.

''We're very unhappy that Caldor's has displayed an altered version,'' said Nancy Nielsen, vice president of corporate relations for the Times. ''They've assured us that they're taking immediate action to correct the situation.''

The chain issued a statement Thursday saying it would reprint the complete list, along with a notation that Stern's book is not available at Caldor stores. It defended the decision not to carry the book, saying it catered to families and noting the book is available elsewhere.

On the air Thursday, Stern - who has been fined by the Federal Communications Commission for some of his on-air comments - said, ''I thought that the cool thing about putting out a book was that ... you at least had the right to say anything you wanted to say without fear.''

Stern also issued a statement saying he wasn't suprised that some stores would ban the book.

''But to change the New York Times best-seller list to express your critical opinion is the work of meaner minds than mine,'' the statement said.

In the book, published by Simon & Schuster, Stern tells his memoirs through explicit anecdotes. Chapter headings include: ''My Sex Life'' and ''If You're Not Like Me, I Hate You.''