Kobo update: Most ebooks back on shelves now

Quick follow-up to the Great Erotica Panic of 2013:

As you may remember from last week, in response to an uproar over imperfect filtering which made certain rape and incest porn titles available to readers who searched using relatively innocuous terms like “daddy,” Kobo pulled all self-published ebooks from its UK catalog indefinitely.

This week, I’m happy to report that Kobo UK has returned most of those self-published catalog to its virtual shelves, with the exception of the rape and incest porn titles that triggered the firestorm in the first place.

Michael Tamblyn, Kobo’s chief content officer, has also issued a clear statement of policy for writers who wish to use Kobo’s Writing Life self-publishing service in the future:

“For those few titles that remain unavailable, some feel that we chose a path of censorship. All I can say is that if your dream is to publish ‘barely legal’ erotica or exploitative rape fantasies, distribution is probably going to be a struggle for you. We aren’t saying you can’t write them. But we don’t feel compelled to sell them. And yes, many titles live in a grey zone with far more shades than the fifty that sold so well in the past year, but that is what makes this all so challenging and so interesting. Many of our readers have no problem with an erotic title in their library next to their romance, literary fiction, investing or high-energy physics books. And we are here for the readers, so erotica stays, a small but interesting part of a multi-million-title catalogue, in all of its grey-shaded glory.”

In short: Kobo will not distribute taboo-breaking erotica titles any more. Writers who wish to publish them will have to look elsewhere to get them released into the wild.

Thanks, Victoria, for bringing this to my attention.

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