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Author: Subject: Self-Published Erotica is Being Singled Out For Sweeping Deletions From Major eBookstores
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[*] posted on 10/14/2013 at 09:10 PM
Self-Published Erotica is Being Singled Out For Sweeping Deletions From Major eBookstores

Excerpt from the article:

Curiously enough, B&N and Amazon have yet to remove The Bible, V.C. Andrews’ Flowers In The Attic, Alyssa Nutting’s Tampa, Judy Blume’s Forever, or Lolita. No, they’re just removing self-published erotica. And that brings me to what I see as the more important story.

This story has already gotten a lot of press, but so far as I can tell everyone from the journalists to the ebookstore staff has made the same assumption that only the self-published titles are an issue. As you can see from that list of titles above, that is simply not true.

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[*] posted on 10/25/2013 at 03:47 AM

THIS is a HUGE deal right now. Smith took all their website offline... they are removing all 'self-published books' they said, not just erotica.

There's a big censorship issue going on with this, and it's a tough call as to what the right action is right now.

Of course, the businesses selling books have a right to decide what they will and won't sell--I'm not talking about that at all.... but they also have a responsibility to ensure that the books don't show up next to children's books too, just 'cause the word 'daddy' was in the keywords.

At first, these 'stories' (if you can call some of them that), were hidden and no one knew about them... then the writers started promoting them and adding the weird words in the title and using keywords to get them SEOed, so they showed up more frequently in searches--it's a few bad apples doing bad acts that are hurting it for all the other erotic writers who aren't.

But it's still a question of censorship and morality--when you start censoring things, where does it stop?

Yes, child pornography is illegal. But that's because real people show up in the videos. Imitation child pornography is not illegal, and it's common in the porn industry for filmmakers to use 18 year old girls (legal age) but dress them up to look really young, in school girl uniforms, in piggy tails and give the porn names like 'daughter' or 'daddy's girl' or 'innocent virgins' or something like that. But the actors are all over 18.

So if that's legal, then putting it in a book where there is no real person, where it's all written and all fiction--no pictures, no images, no film... is it illegal, even if the ages are under 18 or the people are related (incest and underage pornographic writing is what is mostly being talked about right now). It's fiction.... so is it illegal?

If you say yes, then what about VC Andrews's book, Flowers in the Attic? They were both underage and were brother and sister and they had sex and at the end of the series, sort of ran off together and lived as husband and wife without anyone knowing, because they simply couldn't live without the other. There's a whole story leading up to it. What's the difference? well, the story wasn't written for titillation--but how do you determine what is and what isn't? Yes, sometimes, it's obvious, but many times, it's not.

So where do you draw the line? Legality? Well, if that's the case, Flowers in the Attic would be banned. It's illegal in all states for a brother and sister to be in a relationship of a sexual nature and live as husband and wife. It's illegal in all states for people under a certain age to have sexual relations, and they do in this book. Just because it's not an erotic book doesn't mean it doesn't have illegal activity in it.

But then, a thriller or a spy novel has illegal activity in it. A crime and suspense novel has illegal activity in it--they wouldn't exist without it. So legality can't be the line.

Is it where something turns your stomach?

Well, I like to do X when I have sex. You like to do Y when you have sex. Neither is wrong--but I think Y is gross... I don't want to read about it, see it or do it....

Hell, in a non-sexual way, Dean Koontz turned my stomach with a scene in a novel where someone was dismembered and the guy was painting with the blood from a person's belly and then pulling out their intestines and doing weird things with them.... it made me sick to read it and I had to skip over the scene, it was so graphic. I found it repugnant--but the book shouldn't be banned for it. It's illegal to do that to someone everywhere in the world, but the book was on the best sellers list and he's not an obscure artist... sometimes, gross and repugnant sell--and that's true of sex or any other 'moral' issue.

I mean, where do you draw the line? And that's the problem... no one can agree where to draw the line.

Sure, you might say, "Oh, it's common sense... everyone knows that bestiality is wrong!" But, like it or agree with it or not, everyone does not know that. There are some people out there who say, if it's not hurting the animal and they are a willing participant and they enjoy it and you enjoy it, who's to say it's wrong? They might be sick in your mind, but they don't believe they are in theirs.

BDSM is something that is increasing in popularity--a lot of people find it repugnant, but a lot of people find it intriguing--which is right? And since it's not illegal, if there are books about it, people who want to read those books should be allowed to, even if you don't like the subject matter.

There will always be books we don't like, books that push boundaries, books that aren't really books at all.... but when we start drawing lines, we start banning books, we end up in a dangerous, dangerous place. Banning these repugnant titles, making them illegal, sanctioning the authors, this is scary dangerous.

Freedom of speech, freedom in general, means that sometimes you have to support someone's freedom to be absolutely repugnant and gross... because if you don't, you lose your freedom too, and that's scarier and worse than any of the nasty things in these repugnant books.

All that said, I think every retailer has the right to decide what to sell in their stores. If they want to sell only Christian books, they have that right. If they want to sell only children's books, they have that right. If they want to sell all mainstream books except erotic titles, they have that right. They even have the right to refuse to sell self-published books if they want.

And the public has the right to make their voices heard by writing to these companies with their opinions and voting with their pocketbook by buying or not buying from the companies who they agree with in their actions.

I will keep reading and watching this as it develops, because, as the marketplace changes, this is going to end up being a very important turning point for indie authors, I think.

Love and stuff,
~~Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations~~

Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." James R. Cook


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