Sexual content in self-published books much higher than in traditional titles


Analytical computer-based tools such as BookLamp can be used to help correctly classify eBooks in an automated fashion. This could be useful to retailers given the recent “panic” regarding self-published erotica titles.

Interestingly, the tools suggest that nearly 30% of self-published content could be classified as erotica (although the survey was conducted on a relatively small sample, and may not be completely representative).

The psychology of ‘why’ this might be the case is not explored and would make a fascinating study.

Make sure you read your distributors’ T’s & C’s


Sensible advice from Victoria Strauss about the moral panic affecting the self-publishing industry:

“if you’re going to self-publish, it’s absolutely vital that you read and understand the Terms and Conditions of any platform you decide to use (a step that authors often gloss over), so you’ll know right from the start the degree to which you’re subject to your platform’s power to make you disappear. It’s also a good reason to avoid exclusivity and publish to as many platforms as possible, so that if one decides to torpedo your account, your books won’t completely disappear.”

Do book retailers need to set up a ghetto for self-published works?


In the wake of the recent moral panic surrounding the “questionable” content of some self-published works, Michael Kozlowski of Goodereader argues that the leading e-tailers should set up dedicated self-publishing sections.

The “solution” is perhaps not as simple as all that. The book publishing industry is going through a major upheaval (some call it evolution; others evolution), but ultimately book e-tailers are dependent on being able to offer and sell what people are looking for, and this is not going to be accomplished by hiding a significant proportion of their potential revenue in the digital equivalent of a dark and dusty corner.

Controversy as ebook retailers remove self-published erotica titles from their sites


eBook retailers (Amazon, B&N, WH Smith) are seemingly overreacting to a few news reports and are unilaterally removing explicit, though perfectly legal, content from their sites. There’s no obvious coherent approach being taken, with self-published material targeted over “established” titles.

The fuss will either die down eventually, or alternatively niche e-tailers will spring up to fill the gap, as there is clearly a demand for this type of material. To reiterate, the “clean-up” is about “protecting” the public’s sensitivities (or, more accurately, protecting e-tailers from bad publicity), rather than removing illegal material from bookstores.