This weeks big writing news lies with Smashwords. Apparently, Smashy is forcing its authors to remove questionable erotica, primarily any works containing bestiality, rape or incest. The big guy putting the pressure on Smashy like a thug-for-hire is Paypal. Everything you need to know about this quickly developing saga is over here.
This isn’t new. About two years ago PayPal made a token effort to crack down on publishers who sold books they deemed “obscene”—the definition of which was entirely up to them, but essentially meant any work which featured nudity on the cover. This caused something of a ripple at the time as many of us publishers had published books that could conceivably be pushed into that category, in one form or another. The interesting thing about this, however, is that nothing came of it (that I’m aware of). If it was enforced, I didn’t see it. If publishers lost their Paypal accounts, I didn’t hear of it. Paypal basically swung its wussy fists around for a while, but I don’t think anyone noticed, sort of like a geek that thinks he’s a bully.
Anyway, I digress. My point is, Paypal is apparently at it again, and because I can’t figure what their agenda is (unless it’s like some ethnic cleansing of all things in the more controversial erotica sub-genres) I’ll just call them prohibitionists, and be done with it. The real kicker here is why Smashwords hasn’t already set up its own separate payment system, a la Amazon and Barnes & Noble—and just about every other large corporate venue for books on the Internet.
I mean, Mr. Mark Coker, would it really be so difficult to set up, say, a 2checkout.com gateway system of payment, which is cheap, reliable and just as effective as Paypal? It’s a system we’ve used here at KHP for close to ten years. It works, and it’ll keep you out of the grasps of the prohibitionists. It’s just a though, but one worth ruminating over, don’t you think?
In any event, assuming Smashy goes down, I don’t think too many tears will be shed. After all, we have Amazon and Barnes & Noble (aka, the Big Two), and I don’t see Smashy evolving past the hideous Meatgrinder anyway. I do think it’s high-time they revamped their site, their system and get their caboose into gear, but that’s just me, the dirty capitalist American.
In any event, visit Jerrod Balzer’s blog for more on the delicious irony involved in all this. I’m sure the drama, witch-hunts and overall insanity has only just begun.