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PayPal cracks down on erotica e-book sales | TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

Via Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

So from the last post, we know that erotica is very popular on e-readers. But slow down, there, aspiring erotica fiction writer. PayPal just made Smashwords clamp down on your id with ice tongs and put your readers’ vice in a vice.

I’m probably not going to miss books I wanted to read, but the ultimatum from PayPal is a bit ironic considering that I often write about clever serial killers and nobody will bother me about it. Also, isn’t there research that shows that transgressive fiction may provide an outlet for kinks the world says it hates so said nastiness is not acted out in reality? Also, does it bother anyone that all this stuff Paypal is censoring is, in fact, legal? A group of European scientists are going to publish a scientific paper on how to weaponize an extremely virulent bird flu and nobody’s stopping them?! Wow.
I also worry that Mark Coker states up front in his warning letter to authors that “mistakes will be made.” (Points for honesty.) But will those mistakes include my book Sex, Death & Mind Control (for fun and profit) because of the title? I’d say obviously not, except someone already assumed it was porn because of the title. (It’s creepy suspense and brilliant literature in which you discover more about yourself, I assure you.) If my book gets swept up in the censors’ purge, how long will it be off the electric shelves?

Ultimately, if they’re going to censor, I wish they’d done this on a complaint-based, case by case basis so fewer mistakes will be made and authors won’t lose income.  It’s a sticky situation and I’m sympathetic to Mark’s position. To save the whole, he had to amputate a limb. If that imagery titillates you at all, I’ll have to delete this post. Click the Scoopit! link to learn more and to figure out your feelings on this. ~ Chazz
Via www.teleread.com

Filed under: censors, censorship, Genre, publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses

  1. Instead of blaming Paypal for dubious “censorship” (after all, it is a private business that can operate the way it wants–because it has rights, too), perhaps the question is “Why in the world didn;t Smashwords develop its own payment system?”

    Anytime you are dependent on someone else’s system, you play by their rules. Without whining. because we all know rules change.

    Don;t like Paypal? Build your own system or find another pay method. Don’t like Smashwords? Build your own store or find another distributor.

    Natural evolution, that is all.


    • John Crawley says:

      Scott, i signed an agreement with Pay pal for them to be the conduit banker for MY Money. I don;t want them telling me how I can and can’t spend that money. They may have a business, but they have it because of MY Money.

  2. Chazz says:

    I can see why Smashwords didn’t construct their own payment system given the popularity and ubiquity of PayPal. They’re so popular, I’m leery of using any other payment system and, with a fledgeling start-up like Smashwords was, it sure made sense at the time. But yes, with hindsight, it seems they’re too tied to one system now.

  3. Reena Jacobs says:

    I’m not condoning or praising PayPal’s enforcing their regulations. However, I will mention the email I received from Smashwords said it wasn’t banning ALL erotica. It is banning erotica which included rape for the purpose of arousal, incest, and/or beastality. In the United States, rape and beastality are illegal, and incest is illegal in many states even between consenting adults. Some states even include step-parents/children in the incest combo.

    Again, I’m not taking sides. I’m just throwing out facts.

    Here I will take sides. 🙂 I know there are quite a few authors who making their living with the types of works listed above. I remember when Amazon started banning books with incest and what a stink it made. Honestly, I don’t like the idea of those types of books on the market. However, it’s rathe scary to think the ban won’t end with books which promote illegal activities. We all have different moral codes whether or not the issues are legal. It’s easy to sit back and be quiet when one isn’t affected. This week it’s the three topics listed above. What do I care? I don’t write it; it doesn’t affect my bottom line. But next year it might be all erotica. WHAT?!?! Stop the train. Half of what I write is erotica. Next it might be LGBT works. OMG!

    On the side of PayPal: It is their business. Just as publishers have a choice of how and where we do business, shouldn’t PayPal have the same rights? Quite a few publishers enrolled in the Kindle Select program and even removed every single work they had from other distribution channels. It’s kind of like a temporary boycott. Why can’t PayPal choose what they’d like to exclude in their business?

    I’m also with Jeff on creating one’s own payment system. Smashwords isn’t a tiny unknown company. It’s far different than someone like me creating a non-familiar payment choice on my website. The thing is, Smashwords is not as well known as say Amazon or B&N, but it’s not obscure. Amazon has it’s own payment service. It doesn’t even offer PayPal as a payment choice.

    Just as PayPal can choose who and what they’ll accept in their business, Smashwords has the same opportunity. PayPal is easy, but it’s not a necessity. Smashwords still offers credit cards as a payment option. If they don’t like the rules PayPal enforces, they can just as easily remove the PayPal payment option. It’s not PayPal or nothing.

    I’m also not criticizing Mark Coker for choosing to stick with PayPal even though he doesn’t like the rules. It’s a business decision. If he thinks PayPal is good for business despite the sacrifices, that’s his choice. Again, each company should have the option to do business with and how they want.

  4. Marion says:

    I think it’s entirely possible, and probably hinted at that Coker will find an alternative to Paypal. Paypal does offer a service. It offers it internationally and securely. It almost has a monopoly. Per his memo, this crackdown came at him suddenly and they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. I’ll bet he reboots.

  5. […] PayPal cracks down on erotica e-book sales | TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publish… (chazzwrites.com) […]

  6. […] PayPal cracks down on erotica e-book sales | TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publish… (chazzwrites.com) […]

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