Whitcoulls is one of the largest bookstore chains in New Zealand and has been running a Kobo powered eBook store since 2010. Today, the company has announced that it has completely shut down their bookstore, leaving customers unable to buy content.
The New Zealand bookstore released a terse statement today that said “Due to recent publicity surrounding eBook publishing through automated feeds provided by our eBook partner, Kobo, Whitcoulls has suspended the sale of eBooks through our website. This suspension will remain in place until we can guarantee that any inappropriate material, that has been available through self published eBooks, has been removed from the Kobo eBook catalog.”
Indie Authors are currently abusing the system and having hardcore erotica placed in the kids section of many popular bookstores. This is mainly attributed to self-published content not having its own category and all of the titles are intermixed with everything else. This results in innocent searches for Daddy’s little girl, to be books about incest and rape, while in the kids section, somewhere once thought safe.
Many of the leading online bookstores all offer self-publishing programs and allow other traditional bookstores to tap into their feed. The problem is when you have so much self-published content being added every single day, there is no quality and control. There is no way to curate the content and make sure there is not graphic depictions of sex on the cover. Digital bookstores MUST take a page out of the traditional bookstore, where that type of content is sequestrated in a small section, away from everything else.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.