W H Smith explicit e-book row continues

W H Smith explicit e-book row continues

Kobo has removed all self-published titles from its UK store following the furore over explicit e-books provided by the e-tailer to the W H Smith website.

Meanwhile WHS' website remains down for a second day of trading today (Tuesday 15th October).
Canada-based Kobo released an updated statement this morning (15th October) saying it is removing the offensive titles from the Kobo global platform, conducting a thorough review to ensure that authors and publishers are complying with its policies, and “quarantining and reviewing" some additional titles to be certain they are suitable.  

During the process it has removed all self-published titles from the UK store, saying it expected the titles that comply with its rules to be put back up "within a week". The company said it is also reviewing its policies and procedures to implement safeguards that will ensure the situation “does not happen in the future".

Cerys Goodall, director of public relations for Kobo, said: “We are working hard to get back to business as usual, as quickly as possible. Our goal at Kobo is not to censor material; we support freedom of expression. Further, we want to protect the reputation of self-publishing as a whole. While some may find our measures extreme, we are confident that we are taking the necessary measures to  ensure the exceptions that have caused this current situation will not have a lasting effect on what is an exciting new channel that connects readers to a wealth of books.”

Alliance of Independent Authors founder Orna Ross told The Bookseller:  "Of course we understand the need to remove illegal content but to remove all self-published books is not only knee-jerk but misguided. The category to remove while you sort this problem is not author-published books but all 'erotica', whether trade or self-published.

"Many of our members' livelihoods are being affected while we wait for W H Smith to solve a problem of their own making. This disproportionately affects UK members as many of the questionable titles seem to be still for sale in other territories."

Yesterday, WHS said it was “disgusted” by the pornographic titles, saying: “(We) find this unacceptable and we in no way whatsoever condone them.” The retailer has yet to respond to a request for comment on when it expects its website to be open for business again.