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Has anybody commented on the fact that ebooks/self-publishing allows for a lot more creative freedom and pushing the envelope? For example, The Sopranos and Sex And The City never could have launched on traditional broadcast television. Yet on cable, the old rules were tossed out, people can curse, go to strip clubs, talk about sex...and great shows were born.

Isn't it the same with Kindle books?

Have there been any books that have hit it big on Kindle that never would have passed the traditional publishing house censors?
 

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Yes it could. But remember that Amazon has been deleting books that contain certain topics like incest and Barnes and Noble.
 

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Yeah, I assume the OP is refering to fiction with a heavy, a REALLY heavy, erotic or violent bent. I've seen this stuff on newnet forums for decades and all over the internet (heck, fanfic anyone?) so I'm not sure the kindle will usher in anything new. Now whether or not Amazon will want Kirk/Picard/Janeway BDSM novels listed on the main page under the new Stephen King book is highly debateable, I favor the "not wanted" guess :) Since the kindle can read file formats from outside amazon, I don't see why amazon would want to court the fringe extreme fiction community. While I think they will ultimately publish stuff more aggressive than what you might see coming from Random House, I don't think they will go hang out in the seedy backwaters of the niche communities.

Plus amazon has to worry about copyright infringement. The short stories I wrote back in college set in the Cyberpunk 2020 world were fine when dumped for free on to chatsubo, but probably are not cool when sold on amazon (not that they WOULD sell, mind you :p since I never even contacted R. Talsorian to get permission to use their IP. So I think they will probably try to distance themselves from the indie stuff a bit and we have already seen how they react to stuff that has a strong negative public reaction.

But I do think that the kindle will help spread niche enthusiast fiction like novels with such a strong car mechanic bent, or slavish attention on guns, or deep medical terminology that wouldn't appeal to any type of mass audience but could be quite popular in a specific market segment. Once you remove the sexual element that most americans get squishy about you can have targetted works with a small distribution but potentially wide exposure by word of mouth across amazons "you may like..." and "others who bought this bought..." cross-promotion service.
 

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Just by looking at the number of writers on the Kindleboards who seem to be writers of erotica and adult fiction, I would say yes.  Of course, you run into controversies such as Amazon did about a year ago.  At the same time, I fear Amazon putting limits on what people can publish.  I basically see myself as running my own publishing company.  I have taken it much more seriously than I did when I was doing Print on Demand publishing.  I have editors to help me these days and a publishing schedule.  The freedom offered to me via digital publishing has been amazing.
 
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