Kobo in clean sweep after porn panic

Kobo has made sweeping deletions to ebooks on its website after revelations that its site and companion site WH Smith were including porn titles featuring incest.

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WH Smith took its entire website offline after the porn revelations

But the company has not only removed the offending books but all books from offending publishers and all books published through distributor Draft2Digital, regardless of their content.

Kris Austin, President and CEO of Draft2Digital, says: “Kobo’s response seems to have been removal of all books for any publishers (including distributors) that have offending titles until they find a solution.

“I deeply regret that authors who have released books that are not erotica have been affected by this situation as well.

“We are working aggressively to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and we will keep you updated as we learn more information.

The Kernel website ran a story last week on The Filth Epidemic which includes most of the major ebook sites, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook and Kobo. The story was picked up by the UK’s Mail on Sunday newspaper which focused its front-page article on WH Smith, the bricks and mortar newsagent and bookseller in the UK.

Smith sells Kobo e-readers and has a website linking in to Kobo’s ebooks. Smith took its entire website offline after the Mail on Sunday, which is sold in Smith’s branches, published the story. In a statement on its website, Smith says, “Due to the massive amount of self-publishing a number of these titles have got through the screening process.”

It raises the question of just what these screening processes entail as the offending books are very easy to spot with graphic titles and descriptions and as it takes at least a few days for an ebook to be approved by Kobo they should have been rejected during the process.

Draft2Digital launched earlier this year as a rival to Smashwords and offers a slick and fast interface with distribution to Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iBooks and Kobo. It has been growing fast with thousands of users and has won a reputation for being easy to use with clear sales data and monthly royalty payments.

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