Author Topic: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)  (Read 64908 times)  

Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #125 on: October 14, 2013, 08:47:46 AM »
D2D is yanked from Kobo.  A few spotty reports of authors who directly upload through Kobo have been yanked.  This might be a more manual process so I wouldn't be surprised if it takes a while if they indeed are.  It will be interesting to see if they cull Smashwords next.

Personally Kobo has been very small potatoes when it comes to selling e-books even if a few authors seem to sell well there.  I don't want to sound all Fox News here but could this be the beginning of the end?  Amazon has been going rounds with erotica writers.  Kobo has clearly caved to WHSmith's complaint and is cutting out everything that isn't from an approved short list of distributors.

How long until Apple gets on the moral/quality bandwagon?  Their farts smell like smug, but a lot of books they sell don't.
Even the Zon might close down KDP and force everything to go through their imprint houses.

Is this the over-reaction that kills the free range of self-publishing?

This is partially my fear as well. I have three pen names. Two publish erotic themed stories and one publishes paranormal and uf. Even after about three years, I'm still not independent enough to go it alone without Amazon. There are other venues out there (All Romance eBooks/Omnilit) but they have nowhere near the power of the 'Zon.

Right now I'm making plans too make the most of the current system.. but also do other things. This includes building a mailing list and setting up my own small imprint. You can still publish to Amazon as a small publisher through some other programs they have. I'm still learning about this, but it would require buying ISBN's and really getting your act together business wise. We may have to adapt.. to continue to thrive.

Offline dgaughran

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #126 on: October 14, 2013, 08:49:24 AM »
I didn't have ISBNs, David.

Are you with Draft2Digital - all their Kobo titles seem to be gone, full stop. The KWL/Smashwords ones seem to be based on whether or not you have an ISBN. I guess all the D2D ones might automatically assign a free ISBN... or Kobo just pulled all their books. I'm not sure.

Offline Zelah Meyer

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #127 on: October 14, 2013, 08:50:04 AM »
My three titles are all published via Smashwords and, when I checked a little while ago, only one was missing - The Scholar and Her Escort.  All 3 of my titles should have ISBNs via Smashwords.

All my stories are sweet romances - but that didn't stop B&N UK filtering them as erotica when they went a bit silly - so I'm not really surprised!


Offline dgaughran

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #128 on: October 14, 2013, 08:53:07 AM »
Well... there goes that theory... unless they are slowly working through the list.

Offline Andrew Ashling

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #129 on: October 14, 2013, 08:55:23 AM »
Well... there goes that theory... unless they are slowly working through the list.

I don't have ISBNs, and my books are still there (at least for me).

You just can't buy them.  ::)












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Offline Avis Black

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #130 on: October 14, 2013, 09:01:40 AM »
Since non-erotic authors have had their books yanked, it looks to me like there's an iron-clad case that will stand up in court against Jeremy Duns, Jeremy Wilson, and Milo Yiannopoulos.  If you're writing just regular, non-erotic books (which won't disturb a jury) and you've losing income or lost your livelihood in the hysteria whipped up by this attention-seeking trio, you can now sue them. 

I also suspect Yiannopoulos of an ulterior motive.  He's undoubtedly noticed that Bezos bought the Washington Post.  If he keeps on whining about smut and wrecking havoc with Amazon's business, he may be hoping that Bezos will just buy The Kernal Magazine to shut them up, and thus make Yiannopoulos a very rich man.  Yiannopoulos is so broke he almost couldn't pay his writers.  He's certainly succeeding in batting Bezos around like a ping-pong ball, so he's skilled in manipulating people to his advantage.  He's also a blazing hypocrite to be complaining about inappropriate erotica.  Yiannopoulos is a big, big Michael Jackson fan, and everyone knows what Jackson did for his extracurriculars.


Offline ElisaBlaisdell

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #131 on: October 14, 2013, 09:02:45 AM »
My three titles are all published via Smashwords and, when I checked a little while ago, only one was missing - The Scholar and Her Escort.  All 3 of my titles should have ISBNs via Smashwords.

All my stories are sweet romances - but that didn't stop B&N UK filtering them as erotica when they went a bit silly - so I'm not really surprised!


That's one thing very ironic about this. I've been planning to write some sweet romances,and have assumed that self-publishing would be the only possible avenue, considering how sex-filled trad-published romances are now.

Offline jackz4000

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #132 on: October 14, 2013, 09:15:56 AM »
I don't think most retailers really mind selling erotica, but when it's in the customers face and they complain--retailers will react.

As usual it is probably a few rotten apples. There are plenty of get-rich-quick-warriors out there. Last year some guy flooded the online stores with his erotic, which was xxx rated photos lifted from porn sites and magazines. He was putting up 20 titles a day.

Offline Annette_g

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #133 on: October 14, 2013, 09:19:43 AM »
All of my smashwords books are no longer on Kobo, but only 2 were erotica. One was a travel/humor book with no s** whatsoever. A book of mine that is on smashwords through a publisher is still on Kobo, it wasn't erotica either. So it looks like they're targeting self-published books and not just erotica.


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Offline Saul Tanpepper

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #134 on: October 14, 2013, 09:40:12 AM »
Well... there goes that theory... unless they are slowly working through the list.

Trying to imagine how one goes about slowly chopping willy-nilly. A slow excision would suggest some sort of method or criteria, but this doesn't appear to be the case. They may be starting with the newest accounts and working backward. Or vice versa. Or alphabetically by book title. Or publisher name. Or book price. Or color scheme...
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Offline nobody_important

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #135 on: October 14, 2013, 10:50:38 AM »
I think I've figured out which books are being removed.

It seems like all self-pubbed books with ISBNs are being removed from Kobo UK - as you need an ISBN to get into WH Smith (partner site of Kobo in the UK who have closed their store until Kobo remove the porn).

Not necessarily. I don't use ISBNs for my self-pubbed books w/ Kobo.

Offline Sam Kates

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #136 on: October 14, 2013, 10:59:22 AM »
My new novel that's being published in December was available there, the only thing I had there, for preorder. It's apocalyptic (not an erotic scene in sight) and placed there directly by my publishers. It's gone... (sigh)
    
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Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #137 on: October 14, 2013, 12:34:37 PM »
Yes, all my sweet romances are gone from Kobo. Has anyone posted the email from D2D? If not, here it is.


We have discovered that over the weekend Kobo removed all books published through our account. While we have received no official word concerning this issue, we believe this is related to recent articles in the media concerning erotica titles available at WHSmith and Kobos storefronts.

However, Kobos response to this situation 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.

Sincerely,
Kris Austin
President and CEO
Draft2Digital, LLC
https://www.draft2digital.com

Okay, so April Showers and March Madness are offending titles? How about May Flowers? Boy that sure suggests erotica. Now if it was May De-flowered, I could see it. No, actually, I can't see it. This is a witch hunt.

Disgusted.



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Offline Duane Gundrum

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #138 on: October 14, 2013, 01:15:07 PM »
Yes, all my sweet romances are gone from Kobo. Has anyone posted the email from D2D? If not, here it is.


We have discovered that over the weekend Kobo removed all books published through our account. While we have received no official word concerning this issue, we believe this is related to recent articles in the media concerning erotica titles available at WHSmith and Kobos storefronts.

However, Kobos response to this situation 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.

Sincerely,
Kris Austin
President and CEO
Draft2Digital, LLC
https://www.draft2digital.com

Okay, so April Showers and March Madness are offending titles? How about May Flowers? Boy that sure suggests erotica. Now if it was May De-flowered, I could see it. No, actually, I can't see it. This is a witch hunt.

Disgusted.



I'd wait to see what the fallout is first. It sounds like they took everything down, which means your titles may not have actually been offensive. So rather than trying to figure out which ones need to be fixed, I'd hold off and see what the ramifications are first.

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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #139 on: October 14, 2013, 01:32:44 PM »
I'd wait to see what the fallout is first. It sounds like they took everything down, which means your titles may not have actually been offensive. So rather than trying to figure out which ones need to be fixed, I'd hold off and see what the ramifications are first.

Indeed. WBSmith took a "scorched Earth" approach and took their entire site down and removed ALL Kobo titles, presumably until such time that Kobo can show them that they have put measures in place to prevent future problems. So Kobo has taken a similar scorched Earth approach. It isn't logical. It's a panic action. But I assume they will now have to go through their catalogs and do the work of figuring out what belongs where.

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Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #140 on: October 14, 2013, 03:31:31 PM »
I'd wait to see what the fallout is first. It sounds like they took everything down, which means your titles may not have actually been offensive. So rather than trying to figure out which ones need to be fixed, I'd hold off and see what the ramifications are first.

Thanks for your good advice. I was actually being sarcastic.


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Offline B. Justin Shier

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The Obscene Publications Act(UK)?
« Reply #141 on: October 14, 2013, 03:34:55 PM »
So, the last line of the guardian piece on the WH Smith fiasco caught my attention:

Quote
The Ministry of Justice said the retailers would be liable for prosecution if a judge deemed that the ebooks breached the Obscene Publications Act.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/13/whsmith-shuts-website-hardcore-pornography-ebooks

Not being a British citizen, this was the first time I'd ever heard of the act. I assume it is this one from 1959. Can someone point to a reliable source to read up on the topic?

Oh, and would this affair be considered a case of government censorship, now?

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #142 on: October 14, 2013, 03:38:41 PM »
Hi, B--

your post directly relates to this thread, so I've merged it.  Thanks for understanding.

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #143 on: October 14, 2013, 03:46:45 PM »
Quote
So Kobo has taken a similar scorched Earth approach. It isn't logical. It's a panic action. But I assume they will now have to go through their catalogs and do the work of figuring out what belongs where.

The logic might depend on the imminent risk WHSmith faces. Justin notes a reference to a law that might be relevant. There may be civil or criminal liability risk.
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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #144 on: October 14, 2013, 03:50:39 PM »
Now we have public outrage generated by one writer who is far more notable for his attacks on other writers than the four books he's written. This media storm started with tweets on his twitter account, followed by a blogpost on a no-name site (that thinks revenge porn is a-OK as is having sex while wearing animal costumes -- yet reviles shifter romances/erotica as bestiality) that was then repubbed by a British tabloid. Three years of reasonable people doing reasonable searches finding results they weren't looking for with no audible complaints versus tabloid generated hysteria that wipes out the books of even cookbook writers if they unfortunately published through D2D.

It's ridiculous.

I actually supported the writer in question when he went after plagiarists, but now he's pretty high on my "Will never buy or read anything ever again" list. Just a nasty little person whose outrage becomes even more ridiculous if you take a look at what he writes.

Offline Vivienne Mathews

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #145 on: October 14, 2013, 03:51:41 PM »
Whew, it looks like I've ducked the broom in the Kobo sweep, at least. All of my titles seem to be intact -- though they're all middle grade fiction, so I'm not sure how that plays into things. Maybe they're leaving the younger categories alone?  :-\  I'm so sorry to anyone who's been wrongly affected by this. What a nightmare.

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Offline Sam Kates

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Re: The Obscene Publications Act(UK)?
« Reply #146 on: October 14, 2013, 03:54:02 PM »
So, the last line of the guardian piece on the WH Smith fiasco caught my attention:

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/13/whsmith-shuts-website-hardcore-pornography-ebooks

Not being a British citizen, this was the first time I'd ever heard of the act. I assume it is this one from 1959. Can someone point to a reliable source to read up on the topic?

Oh, and would this affair be considered a case of government censorship, now?

B.

Lady Chatterley anyone?
    
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Offline David Thayer

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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #147 on: October 14, 2013, 03:54:49 PM »
Ryan, you're asking the right questions.
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Re: WHSmith removing all self-published titles; Offline Statement (MERGED)
« Reply #148 on: October 14, 2013, 03:55:19 PM »
Yes, all my sweet romances are gone from Kobo. Has anyone posted the email from D2D? If not, here it is.

I'm still seeing you up in Canada, in chapters/indigo
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/ring-out-the-old-twelve/9990006328561-item.html?ikwid=Ring+Out+the+Old&ikwsec=Home
Isn't that part of Smithbooks?  And don't they distribute via Kobo?

I think I've confused myself now.
My title is still up on kobo.com but NOT at chapters/indigo

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Re: The Obscene Publications Act(UK)?
« Reply #149 on: October 14, 2013, 04:00:10 PM »
Lady Chatterley anyone?
Later Chatterley was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959. In fact, it was a major test of that legislation. It was a fairly major trial with a lengthy and illustrious line up of witnesses, and the verdict was "not guilty".

Here is a bit from Britannica on the UK's obscenity laws to clarify the issue:

Quote
In 1954 an effort was begun in Parliament to amend Lord Campbells Act, resulting in 1959 in a new Obscene Publications Act, whose most important provisions are (1) that a person shall not be convicted if publication was in the interests of science, literature, art or learning, (2) that the opinion of experts as to the literary, artistic, scientific, or other merits of the publication may be admitted as evidence, (3) that the work is to be read as a whole, and (4) that authors and book publishers may speak in defense of the work though they have not been summoned in the case. It was amended in 1964 to affect the wholesaler or anyone merely having an obscene article for publication for gain, unless he can prove that he had not examined the article and had no reasonable cause to suspect that it was such that his having it could make him liable to be convicted of an offence.

The Obscene Publications Act was further broadened in 1977 to include the distribution of pornographic films.

I would bet rather a lot that most of the novels removed were in no way obscene or even erotica. It is one of the worst over-reactions I have ever seen.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 04:02:50 PM by JRTomlin »

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