I love my little Kobo Glo. I've been singing it's praises for the past month or so and I have been busy tweeting links for other Kobo owners to buy my books from the Kobo website but today the love affair turned sour. I went to the Kobo website and my books weren't there anymore.
All six of my books had disappeared from the Kobo website.
Heaven Knows This Time. Gone.
Another Perfect Angel. Gone.
Angel's Shadow. Gone.
Being Isobel. Gone.
The Last Bite. Gone.
The Boutique. Yup, my innocent little ghost story had gone too.
Head scratching commenced. I double checked my Smashwords account (they distribute my works to Kobo and other retailers) and I started to Google for clues. Then I came across this.
BBC - WH Smith takes website offline after porn e-book scandal
Now if you've ever visited Smashwords and turned the Adult Filter 'OFF' then you might have seen some of the unsavoury titles available in the 'erotic' genre. I'm not a big fan of porn but each to their own, I gloss over it and move on.
My husband then sent me this link. WARNING! The subject matter is pretty offensive, don't click if you have small children around.
The Kernel - An Epidemic of Filth
It all started to make sense. This extreme material had found it's way onto some eBook websites and the way they chose to deal with it was to shut them down and get rid of all the self published books.
I'm not a computer expert but surely there are better ways of dealing with the problem than shutting the whole website down? WHSmith website is still offline as I type this and the holding page states:
Our website will become live again once all self published eBooks have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available. When our website goes back online it will not display any self published material until we are completely confident that inappropriate books can never be shown again.
Now I'm glad they are trying to stop the very extreme and nasty novels from being available but did they really have to tar all self publishing authors with the same brush?
My books have been removed from the Kobo website and I've not been given a reason or explanation. There is chaos amongst self published authors on the internet. No-one seems to know what is going on and I'm sat here feeling hurt and confused.
Were my books bad? Are they too explicit? What about The Boutique? There's no sex in that! The conspiracy theorists are whispering about it being a planned attack on self publishing authors. The old school publishers don't like that we're doing a better job than they are, but I don't really subscribe to all that. I just want Kobo and WHSmith to put my books back on their websites.
I worked hard on my novels. They may not be the most deep or thought provoking books in the world but I think they are good stories and I want to share them with people so they can enjoy them too. I might be too much of a risk for the big publishers to take on but at least by self publishing I can reach people and hopefully provide a little entertainment to brighten their day. Some of my stories are even free!
So, Kobo, if you're listening. Could you put my books back, please?
If not, I'm sending everyone to Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords!