Skip to main content

Kobo’s Purge of Self-Pub eBooks has Spread to New Zealand, Australia

If4675544897_fcea884956[1] you’ve been following ebook news over the past few days then you probably know that Amazon, B&N, and Kobo have been scrambling to respond to the news that they were selling questionable content.

While this story had originally focused on the UK ebook market, the fracas later grew to include the international Kindle and Kobo ebookstores, and I have just learned that Kobo’s local ebookstores in Australia and New Zealand have been affected as well.

Dear Author tipped me to the news that Whitcoulls, Kobo’s bookseller partner in New Zealand, has temporarily shut down their ebookstore. They haven’t gone as far as WH Smith and turned off their website completely, but they did remove the ebook section and replace it with this notice:

Due to recent publicity surrounding eBook publishing through automated feeds provided by our eBook partner, Kobo, Whitcoulls has suspended the sale of eBooks through our website.  This suspension will remain in place until we can guarantee that any inappropriate material, that has been available through self published eBooks, has been removed from the Kobo eBook catalogue.

Whitcoulls is joining in the general overreaction to the news last week that Kobo and other ebookstores sell adult content. All of the major ebookstores and Kobo are scrambling to remove the more questionable titles, with Kobo even going so far as to purge their ebookstore of self-published ebooks. Kobo’s UK partner WH Smith has also shut down their website as a result.

According to David Gaughran, Kobo removed around half of the self-published titles available in the Kobo UK ebookstore, including titles from a variety of genres other than erotica:

FYI: If you are not in the UK, you can’t see the Kobo UK store, and won’t know if your books have been removed. My tests show 50% of SP gone

— David Gaughran (@DavidGaughran) October 16, 2013

They also removed those titles from their Australian ebookstore.

I can confirm today that those titles are gone from the ebookstore on BookWorld, one of Kobo’s Australian partners. That ebookstore is still operational but it is missing an unknown number of self-published titles, including SF and nonfiction works by David Gaughran. He uploaded his own titles through Kobo Writing Life so they should be available.

Kobo promised yesterday that they would eventually restore most of the titles they purged, but they have not explained why they felt it necessary to remove inoffensive ebooks like David’s guides for self-published authors.

I have queried Kobo on this but have not received a response. But I assume that they are awfully busy at the moment coping with the mess they have created, which is understandable.


image by eliduke

Similar Articles


David Gaughran October 16, 2013 um 9:45 am

It looks like my books were returned to sale on Kobo UK some time in the last couple of hours. However, out of the other authors I checked yesterday, only one has been returned, and many more are still missing from the UK store.

Can’t believe this nonsense is spreading to other countries.

Ben October 16, 2013 um 11:40 am

UK censorship is getting interesting…they contradict themselves and then spreads this stuff outward to the world like a plague until it comes full circle. With every new technology that enables people to communicate there is always someone trying to censor content. You can have good arguments about why and why nots, and to do it without warning, other than pulling the plug is just dumb.

Becki October 16, 2013 um 11:48 am

Out of curiosity, I checked the BookWorld site for my husband’s novels. His four books appear briefly when I searched his last name (Pytak — rather unusual, so easy to search on just that), but then the results come up zero. So, obviously his ebooks are still there, but no one can purchase them. And no, he does not write erotica!

Quill & Quire » National Book Awards shortlists revealed,, and more October 16, 2013 um 12:00 pm

[…] Kobo ebook debacle spreads to Australia, New Zealand […]

M T McGuire October 16, 2013 um 4:06 pm

I don’t get it. Fifty Shades of Grey is still on Kobo… oh but no wait, that’s not porn because it’s no longer self published.

Mwah ha haharhg!

Oh and Ben, we don’t have censorship in the UK but our press are intrusive, unprincipled and generally gits so people like WH Smith fear them.

Kaz Augustin October 17, 2013 um 12:27 am

My UK editor checked last night, and ALL Sandal Press books were gone…including a travel book on Poland! Yep, borderline erotica alright. ::facepalm::

Glad to hear David’s books are back up. Here’s hoping the same thing happens to mine (fingers crossed).

The need for a Christian ebook distributor for self-publishers » Reality Calling October 17, 2013 um 2:37 pm

[…] Kobo’s Purge of Self-Pub eBooks has Spread to New Zealand, Australia ( […]

Thoughts on the Great Erotica Panic of 2013 | SFWA October 17, 2013 um 7:26 pm

[…] suspended the sale of all self-published ebooks on its UK website–a shutdown that has since spread to Australia and New Zealand–in order to inventory its catalog and purge ebooks that violate its content guidelines. As the […]

Paper Droids Art & Lit News – Christian Gray Has Bailed and McDonald's is Becoming a Children's Book Publisher (?!) – Paper Droids October 20, 2013 um 10:00 am

[…] has been dealing with accusations of pandering adult material by purging over half of self-published titles from its online ebookstore – even books that have nothing to do with […]

Kobo Loses NZ Partner Whitcoulls, Restores Self-Published eBooks to UK Partner WH Smith – The Digital Reader November 24, 2014 um 6:49 am

[…] their UK partner’s site, including all genres and even nonfiction. This purge later spread to New Zealand. (I see that a couple weeks later Kobo claimed to have restored the indie titles, but I have not […]

Confirmed: B&N Terminating Nook Press Accounts for Publishing Erotica | The Digital Reader August 23, 2017 um 10:40 am

[…] 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 […]

Write a Comment