Digital books are often cheaper than the hardcover or paperback novels, making it easier to buy a title you want and start reading it right away on an e-reader, e-note or an e-reading app. There are numerous downfalls of the ebook format; if the book is suddenly made into a television show or movie, the classic cover will be automatically updated, and there is no way to stop it. Sometimes, a book will be edited for spelling or grammar mistakes, and the update will be pushed out automatically to everyone who purchased the book on Kindle or Kobo. Now, there is a way that publishers are pushing out updates, censorship.
Owners of Roald Dahl ebooks are having their ebooks automatically updated with the new censored versions containing hundreds of changes to language related to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race,” reports the British newspaper the Times. Readers who bought these versions, such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, now have the censored versions.
Puffin Books, the company which publishes Dahl novels, updated their ebooks, in which Augustus Gloop is no longer described as fat or Mrs. Twit as fearfully ugly. Dahl’s biographer Matthew Dennison accused the publisher of “strong-arming readers into accepting a new orthodoxy in which Dahl himself has played no part.”
The Telegraph notes that when he was alive, Dahl himself “threatened never to write another word if his publishers ever changed his language, promising to send his ‘Enormous Crocodile’ to gobble them up if they did so.” Since Dahl died in 1990, his pet will not get the dinner he rightfully deserves.
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.