I guess we knew it was bound to happen. Mark Coker of Smashwords just dropped the bomb, not minutes ago. PayPal has censored Smashwords. First off let me hand it to Mark. He handled this ten times better than All Romance eBooks and infinitely better than BookStrand who basically threw us indies under the bus, insinuating we took over their store and were uploading nothing but rape, underage and incest books while they are desperately trying to defend their own titles that violate their new TOS.
Mark was honest, supported erotica and called his decision "imperfect." From Marks email:
"We think our authors should be allowed to publish erotica. Erotica, despite the attacks it faces from moralists, is a category worthy of protection. Erotica allows readers to safely explore aspects of sexuality that they might never want to explore in the real world.
The moralists forget that we humans are all sexual creatures, and the biggest sex organ is the brain. If it were not the case, none of us would be here. Erotica authors are facing discrimination, plain and simple. Topics that are perfectly acceptable in mainstream fiction are verboten in erotica. That’s not fair. Our decisions today are imperfect."
See the whole thing here.
PayPal is the culprit here and unfortunately retailers have little choice. PayPal plays hard ball and if things aren't done the way they like, they can close their account and freeze funds for up to 180 days. PayPal is a virtual monopoly and they manage to remain largely unregulated. Smashwords was built around PayPal's payment processing engine. Imagine if your bank closed your account and seized your money if you bought a sex toy or a Playboy with your ATM? I am not a big fan of government regulation, but what PayPal is doing borders on blackmail.
Call your Senator or Representative? They are unlikely to stand up for step-cest. PayPal knows that while many people find their behavior reprehensible few are willing to take a stand to defend fictional accounts of sex between step relations or "barely legal" sex. This is why PayPal is dangerous. I've heard they may consider consensual BDSM rape. When will they insist retailers remove BDSM titles? Or gay and lesbian titles? When will they insist retailers pull down all erotica?
Take a stand. Cancel your PayPal account and send them an email and tell them why. Urge your friends to do the same. Let them know what PayPal is doing. Expose this not as an attack on certain kinds of erotica, but as an attack on free speech and personal liberties. PayPal wants to be your moral conscience. Are you going to let them get away with it?
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