Inktera announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that it was bowing to pressure from authors and publishers, and was yanking its ebookstore out of the Clean Reader app.
— Inktera (@Inktera) March 26, 2015
Inktera is a subsidiary of PageFoundry, the ebook company which had developed and is supporting the app on behalf of Jared and Kirsten Maughan, Clean Reader’s owners.
PageFoundry is an otherwise ordinary ebook company which had developed an ebook platform (apps, ebookstore, backend). PageFoundry’s apps were combined with a custom content filter to create Clean Reader, and aside from the filter PageFoundry’s ebook apps are just your typical ebook apps.
While Inktera’s announcement doesn’t quite kill the app (I checked, and you can still sideload ebooks), it does effectively neuter the app. What’s more, this act suggests that the death of Clean Reader will probably happen as soon as PageFoundry can find a reason to get out of its contract with the Maughans.
Update: Or maybe not. Clean Reader posted an update to their FB page which acknowledges the removal and says “there will be several changes made to the app and an update will be released in the near future”. So they don’t see the app going away.
This news arrives in the midst of a storm of protests from authors who object to readers choosing to filter the content in the books they read. Over the past week many authors have protested the app with arguments ranging from moral rights and religious bias to objections to its poorly designed filter.
I’ve covered the highlights of the protests before, so I won’t repeat myself here. But I do want to point out that the listing for the Clean Reader app shows that the app has an install base between 500 and 1,000. (Hat tip to Felix Torres for spotting that detail.)
The thing is, folks, this app probably had more protesters than actual users, making this whole series of events a tempest in a thimble. There’s the principle involved, sure, but as I see it far too much energy was invested in protesting an app which no one was using anyway.