There's a story breaking this morning which - if confirmed as true - would mark a troubling return to a period where erotica was removed from ebook retailers simply for being risque.
Edit: it's really happening.
Author Bobbi Holmes reported on her blog yesterday that she had received the following email from Nook Press:
We have determined that many of your titles available for sale are in violation of our Content Policy. Accordingly, the offending titles have been removed from sale and your account is being terminated. We will pay out any and all outstanding royalties during the next payment period. If you attempt to publish similar content under a different account, we will terminate that account as well and withhold royalties from those sales.
The NOOK Press Team
Holmes's publisher, Roberth, has posted a similar noticed on its site while at the same time denying that it currently published erotica in the Nook Store.
At first glance this reminds me of 2013, when Amazon and other ebook retailers pulled self-published erotica as a response to negative news coverage. (Kobo went even further, pulling all self-published titles of all genres and categories from all of its ebook retail partner sites).
But one key difference between that story and this one is that we have no confirmation that this was an intentional act by Nook Press and not some fool making a mistake. This might be the start of a purge, but I have not found any sign that is the case. There are no other first-hand reports on KBoards, Twitter, or in Google search results from authors whose titles have been pulled. (I have a second-hand report, but that is not the same thing.)
I can confirm that nearly all Bobbi Holmes titles have been removed from the Nook section of the B&N website. (The print editions remain, however, rendering the ban pointless.) Nothing in the print titles suggest erotica, and I don't see any erotica titles from Bobbi Holmes in the Kindle Store.
If you find out something new, please let us know in the comments.
Edit: The story has been confirmed by Georgette St Clair, who wrote on her blog that her Nook Press account was closed:
About 5 years ago I had published a few erotic romance books with a higher heat level than my shifter books, and B&N was one of the places that I published those books. These were published under a different pen name. I have never gotten a single warning or complaint from B&N about any of these titles; if I had, I would have taken it down immediately.
All of a sudden I get a notice yesterday that my account is suspended, and none of my books are on sale. I emailed B&N; no response. I started checking author forums and find that this has happened to NUMEROUS other authors of erotic romance, and most of them are getting follow up letters saying their accounts are suspended, forever.
Third Edit: St Clair now says that her account was restored.
PW has a second confirmation from erotica author Selena Kitt:
Selena Kitt, another author who complained publicly about the situation, said B&N acted "without warning" in canceling her account, and the accounts of other authors. She added that B&N's claims that she and others had violated Nook's content guidelines rung hollow as those guidelines were "non-existent until August 16 or so. We've had the same content published on their site for years."
So yes, B&N is apparently now purging erotica titles that they were happy to publish last month.
The only real change that I can see is that a few words were added here:
but not limited to works portraying or encouraging incest, rape, bestiality, necrophilia, paedophilia or content that encourages hate or violence.
That's all the new stuff, which is kinda weird. I was under the impression that content was already banned from most bookstores. Also, it doesn't explain why Bobbi Holmes's account was terminated when she wasn't selling any erotica.
image by paparutz