I see in today’s news that Amazon, Waterstones, and B&N are all going through their catalogues to root out porn / otherwise offensive titles, as it has been found that many self-pub books and ebooks are ignoring the rules. WH Smith has even closed down its website totally until they have sorted out the problem.
As usual, there is always a minority element that abuses systems that work well for the majority, causing problems and reputation damage for the innocent. One hopes that there will be some kind of penalty meted out, to drive home the point that what one does on one’s own website is different to what should happen in public.
The above online bookshops have reacted pretty strongly, even going to the extent of searching for all ero*tic (in case WordPress also does a keyword hunt, I’m trying to keep these keyword comments clean!) keywords and removing such titles wholesale. I guess, with millions of books around, that’s the only way to be sure. It does impact on those authors and publishers that are operating legally, but the fact remains that ero*tica is a grey area that has its risks as well as rewards.
Rest assured that no books or ebooks published by us (both Stellium and Zampub), or our personal publishing titles, ever have such content – we check every manuscript pretty thoroughly, as it’s easy to lose credibility, but very hard to rebuild. We probably wouldn’t have taken on eleventy-seven shades of whatever either, along with many other publishers. Would have kicked ourselves later? Who knows. Where do you draw the line? Reminds one of the old joke where the youngster asks his Dad about the difference between fact and potential – the thing is, I can’t repeat the rest, albeit mild, else you might not see this blog! Have to see how far this issue goes.
Trouble is, lines keep moving, so we each have to decide: set our own limits, or go with the flow. Even David Cameron has recently commented that the line is moving so far that there’s a danger of porn becoming the norm.
Also, remember that most of the world’s bankers over the past decade or so, decided to go with the flow…