The German Publishers & Booksellers Association have mandated that all e-books that aimed at adult audiences cannot be sold until after 10 PM. This includes romance, erotica and any e-book whose metadata classifies it as not being suitable for minors.
How do you classify an e-book as being exclusively for adults? There is a new data entry field for publishers or self-publishers to fill out when they are developing an e-book edition and submitting it to digital bookstores. It is presumed that a new adult only section will be established and the content will only be visible between 10 PM and 6 AM.
There has been a longstanding law since 2002 called Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag, which protects kids from buying magazines, graphic novels, hardcovers and paperbacks which are clearly aimed at adults. A few weeks ago it was augmented to include e-books and publishers who decide not to follow this new law are subject to a €500,000 fine.
Many of the top German bookstores have yet to setup systems that prevent the sale of adult e-books after 10 PM. This includes Amazon, Ciando, Kobo, Tolino and Xinxii. Maybe they are adopting a wait and see approach, to see if this will actually be enforced before they start spending some serious money on redesigning the adult section of their stores and editing thousands of books with new metadata.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.