I received an email today from Bookstrand telling me that they have suspended the indie author section of their site and are demanding all titles that violate their Terms of Service be removed. Their apparently recently updated TOS. Suddenly, any title that contains pseudo incest (step relations having sex) or barely legal teens (18 and 19 year old girls) are now against the rules over there.
You may not care. Maybe you prefer lesbian romance, transgender erotica or gay smut. Well, you should care. Pseudo incest and barely legal girls are legal forms of sex. It may offend some people's sensibilities, but its legal. More than that, it sells. Both subjects are popular among erotica reader probably outsell any other single subject.
By way of providing cover, BookStrand blamed PayPal and their unnamed credit card company. PayPal does have a seriously vague TOS with things like "items that are considered obscene" and "certain sexually oriented materials or services." That could mean anything. A book on pregnancy could fall under either of those.
You may think I'm being alarmist. Well, these fascists always start small. They target the fringe that have little support or little vocal support, like erotica readers. Then the dominoes fall. Next it's what you read or watch. Next it's what I write. Censorship is ugly no matter what is being censored.
BookStrand and PayPal don't have to do business with anyone they don't want. That is their right. However, I don't have to do business with them and neither do you. I have pulled all my books from BookStrand and will no longer use PayPal for payments if at all possible. I suggest you do the same. Just because they have a right to do something doesn't make it right.
I would rather not have businesses and corporations decide what is obscene. If they want to sell erotica, they should sell all legal erotica, not just the forms they consider acceptable and then hold their authors hostage until they comply. If you enjoy erotica, you should keep an eye out. Things are changing and your favorite subject might soon be censored.