The Kobo self-publishing shutdown fiasco appears to be finally drawing to a conclusion nearly a week after a panic reaction to media frenzy saw tens of thousands of self-pub titles removed from sale regardless of their content.
Self-published ebooks are starting to reappear on the Kobo website although thousands of completely non-erotica fiction and non-fiction books still remain offline.
Kobo partner WH Smith has now managed to cut its automatic ebook feed from Kobo and put its website back online after shutting down the site entirely early this week, including print books, magazines, stationery and greeting cards.
Smith’s was the main focus of the media attack from the Mail on Sunday, which was prominently on display in the store’s branches throughout the UK last week featuring a front-page story about extreme porn ebooks available on the Smith’s site via Kobo.
Ebook sales also remain suspended at Kobo partner Whitcoulls in New Zealand.
Ebook distributor Draft2Digital is one of the businesses hit hard by the self-publishing blanket ban as all titles published through the firm were removed.
D2D president and CEO Kris Austin says: “I’ve been working directly with Kobo staff to resolve the matter and have already seen dozens of Draft2Digital titles returned to sale.
“Of course, that’s just a small step toward fully reinstating all the books that meet Kobo’s content guidelines. However, we’re making progress now and we have a clear path to resolving this unfortunate matter.
“We expect all non-erotica titles to be live again by the end of this week while erotica will undergo a more extensive review process. Ultimately, we expect all works that conform to Kobo’s content guidelines to return to sale.”
He says the material that sparked this incident consisted of erotica falling into several specific categories and points to Kobo’s guidelines on acceptable content in their content policy.
Austin adds: “While we recognise there’s a proven market for the more extreme material, our sales channels are increasingly unwilling to carry those titles in their stores. If you are intent on publishing such material through Draft2Digital, we ask that you clearly mark it as such using your categories, search keywords, and product description.
“Furthermore, we encourage you to refrain from publishing it to sites that are known to reject such material. At this time, that includes three of our four available sales channels; Apple, Amazon, and Kobo have all begun an extensive campaign to remove and block these titles from their stores.”