Following on from our TIPM Weekly Brief this morning, Kobo, an e-book distributor, has taken the decision to suspend the distribution of all self-published titles from its catalogue. It is understood that this decision only involves its UK online bookstore, and the decision follows a previous move to remove books loaded from the Digital2Draft e-book content supplier over the weekend.
Last week UK retailer WH Smith began receiving complains about the ‘unacceptable content’ of books on sale, which were provided to the WH Smith online store by the Kobo, itself a distribution and self-publishing platform. Kobo has identified some of the offending content as originating from supplier, Digital2Draft. WH Smith has taken the extraordinary move of shutting down its online webstore and replace it with a holding page while they address the issue.
A Kobo spokesperson, speaking to the BBC this morning, confirmed the suspension of all self-published titles in its catalogue. The spokesperson was keen to stress that the move was not intended as a form of censorship, but an effort to “protect the reputation of self-publishing” and titles not in violation of its policies would be back on sale in a week’s time. Kobo stated that it is currently undertaking a ‘thorough review’ of policies and systems to ensure a repeat of this will not occur again. WH Smith is also carrying an investigation has said in a statement on its website holding page that its store will not come back online until ‘we are confident that completely robust screening processes are in place to filter out inappropriate content.’
This follows news last week that other online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble were also selling pornographic and inappropriate e-books.