A few stats & facts that make me think that the “war” on self-published erotica is going nowhere fast:
- First, the across-the-board removal of all self-published and small-press published titles is a major misstep. Self-published books routinely make up at minimum 20% (and sometimes more) of the top 25 bestselling e-books overall (all vendors). Readers and writers (some of whom have serious clout with vendors) are rightfully pissed off.
- Ten of the top 40 Amazon best selling books (that’s overall best sellers in the entire kindle paid store) right now are romance, several of which are certainly erotic-romance. Amazon will follow the money, and there is a lot of money in erotica, especially self-published erotica.
- Authors will be hurt. And if enough authors are hurt, readers will react. I’m not sure Amazon, Kobo, or Apple really understand how loyal and involved many readers are. Or how much people love their erotica. If they caved to pressure from one daily mail article, what will they do when readers finally complain?
- E-books are a huge moneymaker for these sites. Amazon takes 30%-65% of the list prices for self-published books yet does almost nothing to earn this cut. I have to believe it is in their best interest to keep most self-published books on their virtual-shelves.
- Authors already have the means to distribute their own books. It would be extremely easy for an author, using free file-conversion software and paypal, to offer e-books for sale on their blog. And using goodreads and similar reader-centric sites, an author could link to their blog to generate sales which would be pure profit. Or we could turn to sites like Gumroad. Or join forces and create our own “stores”. The point is, amazon and kobo are convenient, but no longer completely necessary.
- Amazon has no leg to stand on where “porn” is concerned. Want a dildo? A blow-up sex doll? A xxx rated DVD? Bondage gear? All available on amazon, with very clear photos and product descriptions. So yeah, “we don’t sell pornography” is kind of bullshit. And as many others have stated, there is no shortage of rape, gratuitous violence, and explicit sex in the traditionally published “literature” which is available on all e-bookseller’s sites.
So maybe I’m overly optimistic, or maybe I’m just learning from history (this isn’t the first “crack-down” of it’s kind, after all), but I think we’ll all be okay.
PS: A way better blog post on this whole issue can be read on David Gaughran’s blog