PayPal Tells E-Book Distributor To Remove Sexually Taboo Titles

The nice thing about cash is that it doesn’t care what you use it to buy. But the folks at PayPal apparently don’t want their service to be used for the purpose of buying e-books that reference certain sexual acts or behavior.

According to e-book distributor Smashwords.com, PayPal has told the company to remove all titles that contain bestiality, rape and incest, or PayPal will no longer be available as a payment option to customers.

Smashwords has given authors whose content falls under that umbrella until today to remove their titles from the platform.

Company founder Mark Coker explains Smashwords’ decision to go along with the PayPal order:

We do not want to see PayPal clamp down further against erotica. 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. Please, act responsibly, don’t try to game the system or publish content that pushes the limits of legality. Help us continue to help indie authors around the world to continue to publish and distribute with freedom…

You might wonder if Smashwords should simply switch to a different payment provider. It’s not so easy. PayPal is designed into the wiring of the Smashwords platform. They run the credit card processing for our retail store, and they’re how we pay our authors and publishers. PayPal is also an extremely popular, trusted payment option for our customers. It is not feasible for us to simply switch to another provider, should such a suitable provider even exist, especially with so few days notice.

PayPal As Moral Police? Forces E-Book Sellers To Remove Certain Erotica Content [TechCrunch.com]