Apple is Now Banning eBooks Over Links

apple-rottenApple has a long history of censoring the more risque content from ebooks sold in iBooks and iTunes, even going so far as to threaten developers like Izneo with banishment, but today they have taken it to a new level. Several newspapers including De Standaard are reporting that Apple has rejected De Hartsvriendin, Heleen van Royen's latest book, because of 2 links found in chapter 22.Yes, links.Update: Apple has backed down and is allowing the ebook.

Apparently Apple has moved beyond censoring content they don't approve of. Now they are blocking the sale of ebooks that merely link to content that Apple doesn't approve of. Admittedly, the links lead to a couple porn sites , but that doesn't change the fact that Apple is once again banning an ebook because of links.

Edit: I was reminded on Twitter that Apple had previously blocked an ebook because it linked to and mentioned Amazon. Apple had backed down from that position, and it had slipped my mind.

The author initially reported the news on Facebook, and she also tweeted a screenshot of the email she received:

De hartsvriendin wordt door App Store geweigerd. Een tekst op pagina 282 moet worden verwijderd, anders komt De hartsvriendin de App Store niet in. Vergeet het maar, Apple, ik laat me niet censureren. Sterker nog, ik heb mijn advocaat al gebeld en overweeg juridische stappen.

And the screenshot:BKZ-YKZCIAIZDTp

Do you want to know what makes this truly ridiculous? It's not just that Apple is banning links; that is merely absurd. This incident achieves a new standard of ridiculousness because Apple is also selling ebooks like 50 Shades of Grey, a book which is arguably the next best thing to text-based porn.

I think this could be taken as a sign that Apple is trying to penalize not the porn so much as the images of porn. This would also explain why Izneo was threatened last month and forced to remove 40% of their catalog.

Perhaps Apple is merely trying to pursue a higher class of readers?

This would explain why Apple accepts porno podcasts and audiobooks; they only want to sell ebook erotica to people who can use their imagination. There's also a chance that Apple is hoping to segregate porn viewers in the Video section of iTunes where you can find content like Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Shameless, or many other explicit shows.

What do you think?

About Nate Hoffelder (11581 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Apple is Now Banning eBooks Over Links

  1. I find Apple’s taste a bit too restrictive for my liking but IT IS THEIR SHOP.

    Also putting links to porn sites inside eBooks is totally unnecessary and tasteless.

  2. Would you prefer Apple do what search engines do? Give users the choice to opt-in/out? Generally, I’m against content censorship but it is their shop and I do respect what they choose to accept and/or reject within their own store.

    For the love of god, if anyone is looking for porn…you have a gazillion choices, why must anyone and in this case an ebook to include such content/link? It’s like a kid insisting on bring a weapon to school just to see if he/she gets caught and then cries about lack of freedom to arms…WTH?!

  3. Please, people: De Hartsvriendin is a novel by a (female) Dutch author, using this link as a part of her story.
    It isn’t written as an ebook, originally, either. So, it’s not about ‘looking for porn’ or guncontrol (really, you must be American to combine those two…), it’s about a book.

    The conclusion about Apple banning visual porn, but allowing the textual form, confirms my idea that Apple makes female fashion products: nice design, and it’s not the real quality, but the trendy image that counts.

    I’m not a fan of Van Rooijens work, but I’m not a critic, either. She’s considering legal actions and I think she’s right. Don’t think she stands a chance, but this is on principle.

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