Earlier this week Barnes & Noble stunned many when it started spontaneously terminating the Nook Press accounts of indie authors. B&N claimed that the accounts had been terminated for violating its content policies concerning erotica, but many of the authors disputed the allegation, insisting that they hadn't broken any rules.
It was impossible to say exactly what was going on when this story first broke (my suspicion was that B&N was clearing erotica authors out of Nook Press in anticipation of selling Nook to Kobo) but as Wednesday wore on it became clear that the termination were simply a misguided overreaction to perceived policy violations.
Many of the authors have since had their accounts restored after the negative press coverage forced B&N to rein in it puritanical impulses. Several authors, including Georgette St Clair and Bobbi Holmes, have confirmed the restoration.
The accounts had been terminated under a part of the content policy which had technically banned all erotica:
Please be advised that submitting or posting any of the following content in your eBook file, cover image or product data may, in the exercise of Barnes & Noble's sole and unfettered discretion, result in the removal of said content and/or termination of your account. ...
- Obscene or Pornographic material: This may include content that graphically portrays sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.
A problem with enforcing this rule is that B&N has had this rule and ignored it for years. Also, a number of authors, including Bobbi Holmes, had said they had stopped publishing erotica years back and so could not possibly be in violation.
And let's not forget that B&N was and is still selling 50 Shades, Lolita and the works of VC Andrews, all of which would clearly have violated this or other parts of the content policy.
In any case, this incident has been revealed to be an aberration.
Any author who finds their account still frozen should complain to Nook Press, and on social media.
This assumes, of course, that they want to continue selling ebooks through Nook Press. Now that Barnes & Noble has begun playing Russian roulette with author accounts Nook Press might no longer be worth the headache.
image by aeroix