Last week, WH Smith and Kobo in the UK removed all self-published books from their sites after tabloid journalists pointed out that people could find pornograpic books depicting abuse, incest, rape or bestiality on their websites. Instead of removing the offending books, they removed ALL self-published titles: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, children's books as well as erotica. I won't link to the particular articles, but I'm sure a search will find them.
Now, it seemed to be that their stance was they didn't want all this horrible erotica cluttering up their pristine servers. But wait, erotica isn't gone, just self-published erotica. They are still selling Fifty Shades of Grey, The Story of O and lots of stuff from Marquis de Sade for example. WH Smith also sells explicit top-shelf porn magazines and they haven't been removed from their stores. Not to mention Flowers in the Attic, rape and incest in that one.
This is not so much a cull of erotica as it is a cull of self-published books no matter what genre. All my books are gone from there, only 2 of which were erotica and 1 was with a small press publisher.
Have the big 6 suddenly woken up one day and realised that their margins are being eaten away by authors who have cut out the middle-man and are finally able to make a reasonable income from their work rather then the 10 per cent a publisher could offer? What to do? Let's get rid of the competition, that will help!
I don't know if Kobo and WH Smith realise that most writers are also readers. I spend a lot of money on books, a lot, but WH Smith or Kobo won't be seeing one penny of my money any time soon. I will be buying my books from book websites or shops that are friendly to independent authors.
The sites are also worried that children might see these erotica books which begs the question - what is a child doing unsupervised on the Internet? Shouldn't the parents be parenting? And if Smashwords can have an adult filter, why can't every other book site? It can't be that difficult to implement, surely? Oh, but wait, if they had an adult filter things like 50 Shades won't show up in a general search. They don't want to lose out on the money.
So if you're a reader who wants to support independent authors, give Kobo and WH Smith a miss.
Try All Romance, Omnilit and Smashwords instead.