Monday, March 12, 2012

My Book Was Censored!

My book "Purr" is an erotic retelling of the fairy tale "Puss In Boots". It has sold reasonably well on AllRomanceEbooks and other distributors. I was surprised until I realized how popular fairy tales are right now, what with "Grimm" and "Once Upon A Time" catching on in popularity on American TV. "Tangled" and "Puss In Boots" were hits in movie theaters. I understand a new version of "Beauty and the Beast" and (possibly) "Red Riding Hood" are coming to American TV in the fall.

So imagine my chagrin when I went to check my ranking for "Purr" at AllRomanceEbooks only to find the book had disappeared! I wondered, WTF?? Must be a glitch at ARe.

No, it wasn't.

It turned out my publisher's entire catalogue had been removed by ARe. The same thing happened at Bookstrand, another location where "Purr" was being sold. The publisher's catalogue was gone.

Paypal has made a co-ordinated attack on all major ebook vendors who use Paypal. Erotic books are targeted, especially books with taboo or extreme subject matter such as incest, pseudo-incest, bestiality, rape, and pedophilia. There were rumors that Visa pressured Paypal into censoring erotic books but it turns out Visa had nothing to do with it. Credit card companies are banks and they don't have a moral bone in their bodies. This is Paypal, pure and simple.

At first some indie publishers published books with such subject matter, especially incest stories, twincest, and pseudo-incest (step siblings, stepdaugher-stepdad, cousins, etc.). This was a minority of the  erotic books out there but they had their own following. When all the vendors including Amazon and Barnes and Noble allowed indie authors to publish with them, many more of these kinds of books were published. Whilst there were some good self-published stories in the mix, most were untalented, untrained, rough, and poorly edited. There were titles about doing it with Daddy or identical twins getting involved in a threesome. These were short stories intended to shock and they took off like gangbusters. They turned into an infestation. Apparently Amazon  had unsuccessfully tried to get some control over that kind of content but it wasn't successful.

So Paypal started censoring fiction. The problem with censorship is that it's a slippery slope. Who gets to decide what is obscene? What kind of content will be targeted next? I've heard rumors that BDSM stories are next on the slag heap. What constitutes consensual sex v. non-consensual? Who gets to decide?

So, in the midst of all this turmoil, erotica and erotic romance writers have seen their fiction censored.  I am one of those writers. This includes fiction that does not fall under those taboo categories. Besides, if Paypal is going to target books with such content, when will it censor "Lolita", "The Story Of O", or even the Bible? I seriously doubt those books will be affected.

Below are pertinent links about Visa and Forbes (reporting that Visa had nothing to do with this) and a petition to sign to protest the censorship.

Here are the links:
Visa’s letter to Banned Writers. petition
Although my book "Purr" has been censored on ARe and Bookstrand, you may purchase it at Amazon Kindle. Here's information for you if you wish to read my banned book.

Muca was a kitty with a little something extra. Not your ordinary Puss In Boots, she shifted into human form to entice all she met. She aspired for her master to become the richest and most respected man in the land, but her job was cut out for her. He was but a lowly cobbler whom she tried to pass off as the Marquis of Carabas in order to convince the local farmers to trust her against a cruel ogre who tormented them. Would the farmers believe her, and would they find her charms as alluring as she found theirs?


  1. Very well stated Lizzie. Finger pointing has been going on since this all came to light a few weeks ago- it wasn't until this past week that the credit card companies came forward with their side. Sad that many authors are affected by this... a situation of what and see

  2. Yeah, it's all on Paypal's shoulders. MasterCard just piped in and said it wasn't involved either. Plus Smashwords indicates Paypal may be backing off. That's good news.

    I think "Purr" being censored might have given me that uptick in sales at Amazon Kindle. Plus it was free right before it was censored. Just goes to show that when you stick a "censored" sticker on something it makes people want to buy it more.