Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Apple removes erotica from the iBookstore

by Chasya

You all know I get more than squirmish when I hear the word censorship, so when I came across news in the Telegraph that Apple was removing erotic books (bestsellers, no less) from their store, I winced. The company’s chaste stance has created a flurry of backlash among bloggers, and I think with good reason.

Though I’m not a fan of that category myself, it seems simply strange and outmoded that the company would elect to ban these titles. There is quite a lot happening now on the digital publishing front, much of it evidenced by the most recent controversy over the formation of literary agent Andrew Wylie’s new e-book company Odyssey Editions. There are new skirmishes every day in what is mostly unchartered territory, but I hope that this is not a trend that lasts. What about you? Any dissenters amongst us?

11 comments:

  1. I am so sick of their censorship. I do not read erotica, but people can choose to read what they want. If kids are getting things from the iPhones and iPads, it is up to their parents to censor what they can read/see. Adults should be able to make their own decisions.

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  2. I can't say I'm a huge fan of erotica, but sex is, and always has been here to stay, and I don't think Apple's prudish action is something to be admired. However, the company may be actually doing the industry some good by opening the doors to competitors which may not be so squeamish.

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  3. Where do they draw the line? Who decides? Many books not labeled as "erotica" have numerous explicit sex scenes. Do they remove those as well? Or is the label all that matters?

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  4. I'll dissent. I like that Apple is limiting the sexual/porn content on their devices on a personal level. However to jump back to an impersonal level, agents and editors all have their preferences in what they will or won't sell. Why shouldn't a bookstore be allowed the same prerogative to not sell something they disagree with?

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  5. While I do not read Erotica, I am upset that a major book distributor would feel the need to sensor what one reads by completely removing them. Perhaps a better plan would be to rate books like movies, and those who would be purchasing such books must first proove that they are of age to do so. I find the situation very dissapointing.

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  6. I think that somebody at Apple has too much time on his or her hands. But really, I don't think that censorship would be the best recourse for this. It just shows how limited the istore is in protecting our children, or putting in measures to protect them.

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  7. Who's the target market of the iBookstore and iPad? Who has the money to buy them? Who is actually going to use them? Could it simply be a temporary measure as Apple figures out a system to make parents happy. I don't know all the answers, but I'll bet this is a strategic decision, not an ethical one.

    In any case, I think Wendy's right, saying that it's really up to Apple what they choose to sell, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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  8. Maggie Mae27/7/10 2:56 PM

    They can choose what they want to sell but we can choose not to buy from them. Hit them in the pocketbook and support vendors who WILL sell a wider selection of materials. That's the only way they'll get the picture. I'm not a huge erotica reader but I enjoy a wide variety of book genres. This is a stupid move on Apple's part. I also agree with the fact it's hypocritical when a lot of the paranormal romance books I buy have plenty of erotic elements in them. They just aren't labeled as such. What about books that contain graphic violence or otherwise "disturbing" scenes? Who decides what's appropriate? If the problem is kids downloading...here's a thought....expect the parents to police what their kids buy. They're the ones that chose to have the "innocent darlings" after all so it should be THEIR problem. I respect Apple's right to make this choice but I'll certainly give a lot of thought to giving them any more of my hard earned dollars. Because after all, that's MY choice. ;)

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  9. Ooh yikes. As a private company, they can sell whatever they choose, but they will likely lose a number of readers, especially if Amazon or other competitors continue to stock those titles. I read an article yesterday about them not approving an app because the promo pictures showed a girl with bare shoulders (and they only showed the shoulders up), so they labeled it obscene/offensive because she looked naked. (She could have been wearing a tube top or a wedding dress for all we know.) Consumers will start getting sick of it...actually, judging by many of the comments I've read, they already have.

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  10. I work in a sex shop by night, so I'm certainly biased in this regard, but I'll join in on the bandwagon of booing those that ban the risqué, the erotic, and the pornographic.

    Unless the publisher or vendor is emphasizing family values, or is in a children's or Christian market, I just don't understand what's to be gained from self-censorship.

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