Thursday, 17 October 2013

I'm not on Kobo any more!

There has been a bit of a do in the papers when WH Smith found a very racy novel in the ebooks section - self published.  Apparently it was very, very near the knuckle, a bit strong, not what you would expect a young person to read.

This caused something of a stir at WH Smith who closed down all of their ebooks.  Kobo just closed down all the self published ebooks.  To be honest, I can understand.  They have brands to protect and do you want your teenager to browse books containing rape and incest as erotica.  If they are not seen as family friendly then they could lose a lot of business.

The Forgotten Village is one of the casualties.  It has been withdrawn from Kobo, pending the review of all their self published ebooks.  It is really aimed at adults, I suppose, but it is a bit tame compared to a lot of the stuff out there.  I do hope I get back on Kobo soon.

I sort of can see their point.  Every now and then I used to do an ego thing, and went onto the sony ebook store.  I used to cut the list in modern fantasy down to see only books at 99 cents or less and ranked in popularity.  Apparently I was as high as number four out of about 400 at one point, though I haven't had any royalties yet (this is normal, there is often a lag, I have stopped stressing).  While I was doing this I saw a lot of very racy covers, lots of young men with no vests, and a lot of ladies with no vest and not much knicker, and some of the synopses made me blink.  Some of the stories seemed a bit specialised if you see what I mean.  They were not family friendly, but they were not pretending to be family friendly.  I wouldn't like bear to look through them and ask questions.  Apart from anything else, I'm not sure I'd know the answers.

We live in a world where sex sells, where more extreme is better, and where sexualised images are everywhere.  It is not surprising to find all sorts of kinks in unregulated, self published ebooks.  I wouldn't be surprised if the kinky stories added to the profit margin.  It reminds me a little of the Victorians who covered the legs of the tables, though areas like Whitechapel harbored horrific vice.  It's the feeling of 'being seen to be respectable'.

I wish I knew what the answer was, how the line between personal responsibility and protection of the vulnerable should be drawn.  I wish I knew how to draw the line between freedom of expression and expression that could encourage violent attacks.  As it is, Cats in the Bible has been cut as well.  I hope that makes it back as well.

I take comfort that The Forgotten Village is still available at Amazon and Smashwords.  If I ever get a chance to write again I am confident that I will be able to get Digging up the Past out there as well.  I don't think I will take to writing erotica.  It seems far too stressful.

No comments: