On Saturday February 18, PayPal began threatening indie book publishers and distributors with immediate deactivation of the businesses’ accounts if they did not remove books containing certain sexual themes.
PayPal has told indie e-book publishers and retailers such as AllRomance, Smashwords, Excessica and Bookstrand that if they don’t remove the offending literature from their catalogs within a few days of notification, PayPal would close their accounts.
Of course, the immediate termination of payment processing would devastate these businesses and all of their authors (not just the erotic writers) overnight.
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All of the Smashwords authors were told in an email that if they want to see their work published and distributed through the popular alternative e-book e-tailer, they will need to make sure their works of fiction conform to PayPal’s acceptable use definitions of sexual fantasies.Back in 2003, when PayPal was bought by ebay many sex bloggers were similarly treated.
Bookstrand went nuclear, and completely eliminated most of the indie titles from their catalog.
AllRomance has decided to stop publishing books that focus more on sex than romance - they are effectively purging all titles that are primarily sexually explicit storytelling “where sex [not romance] drives the story” from their catalog.
It’s a curious thing for PayPal to begin policing content in erotic books. Though they have a mighty hammer with which to enforce their morality.
PayPal would ban works by Anaïs Nin, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry Miller, Marquis de Sade and books like Caligula, The Sookie Stackhouse Novels (True Blood), The Story of O, Venus in Furs, Lolita…
Let's also remember that Amazon also removed various kinds of erotica from its store.
PayPal may not even be the root cause in and of itself. .. credit card companies charge higher premiums for taking payments for services where there is a high risk of chargebacks—such as erotica and porn. Paypal doesn’t want to have to pay Visa and MC for carrying “high risk” accounts on their books. You have to remember that Paypal is a middleman. Sites that carry high-risk material have to pay the high-risk costs of doing business. If you’re going through Paypal, you don’t have to pay that. Until Paypal catches you. And then they insist you take down your high-risk content or lose your account.I suppose PayPal is free to run its services whichever it sees fit, and that opens the door for some competing services to sweep in, but frankly, I find this whole obsession with what people read or not read, and how we should punish them for it, and of course the sheer illogicality of it (is TEEN WOLF bestiality?) revolting. Nauseating even.
Especially coming from a bunch of bankers.