Nom du Keyboard writes: As explained here and here, Paypal has suddenly anointed themselves the new lord of censoring legal adult erotic content on the Internet. "On Saturday February 18, PayPal began threatening indie book publishers and distributors with immediate deactivation of the businesses’ accounts if they did not remove books containing certain sexual themes — namely, specific sexual fantasies that PayPal does not approve of." And while one high-minded author declares, "Most of the stuff on Smashwords is porn," it seems to be what many people like to purchase for private enjoyment. Or would like to purchase because without Paypal, it's hard to run any Internet business. Is this part of a deal Paypal is trying to cut with the feds to avoid being classified a bank?
Nom du Keyboard writes: If you're doing business on the Internet you pretty much have to deal with Paypal for payments. Other alternatives are either more expensive, more limited, generally unsuitable, unavailable worldwide, or otherwise not able to meet the requirements for accepting payments over the Internet from pretty much everybody. And dealing with Paypal means dealing with their often arbitrary and capricious enforcement of vague and unseen policies. Now Paypal has suddenly declared war on legal published erotica and is demanding that an increasing number of individuals, as well as major eBook distributors, remove all titles that Paypal alone objects to, or lose their primary means of payment processing.. The Internet has just defeated SOPA and PIPA, but can it ever defeat the 900lb gorilla of Paypal? Note: It's unlikely that Paypal initiated this action completely on their own. They have always been more reactive than proactive, so where is this sudden new pressure to act coming from now? Enquiring Slashdotters would like to know.
Nom du Keyboard writes: Back in April of 2009, with no notice or stated policy, a large swath of LGBT titles suddenly disappeared from Amazon.com. The ensuing uproar soon got them restored with Amazon claiming it was all some sort of never well described, but very selective, glitch. Then in July 2009 Amazon suddenly removed purchased books from customer's Kindles citing a copyright cock-up. Amazon's next trick earlier this year was to remove titles with suggestive covers from their All Departments default search, which is blatant censorship since that is the only search many Amazon customers know how to use. They may have been spooked by this hit piece in Slate. And while those titles seemed to still be available if you know where to drill down in your search, removing then from the most commonly used All Departments default search was blatant censorship in the digital age. You'd almost be tempted to think that Amazon didn't want to be in the book sales business. Now Amazon seems to be at it again regarding adult material – fictional incest stories among others. It is also under discussion on the Amazon forum – for now. With no warning to authors, publishers, or their customers, titles have suddenly disappeared over the weekend, including reports of yanking existing sold books from Kindle via the subterfuge of corrupting the downloaded book, offering a refund, and then refusing the ability to repurchase the title with the refund. These are titles that obviously have a market, some of them doing quite well on the bestseller lists for their genre. So just what is The World's Biggest Bookstore up to now and why are they being so quiet about it? Is it time to celebrate Google Books as the freer Amazon alternative?