After reading “Lost in the Amazon: Are digital booksellers suppressing self-published erotica?” by Kate Larking in Bitch Magazine’s Fall 2014 issue, I don’t know if I want to keep buying Kindle Books from Amazon.
In case you haven’t read it, Larking reveals an invisible adult-only-type label that is attached to books when Indie authors are honest and label their books as erotica. Larking said that the label is also placed on books whose covers Amazon deems explicit or inappropriate. When the label is attached to a book, it effectively hides the book and a consumer would only be able to find the book if they search for the author or title specifically. This sharply decreases sales for the writers and has led to other problems.
The writers that want to work with Amazon write in a way to avoid getting labeled as adult-content only, tweaking the stories to meet vague guidelines, but Amazon sometimes still gives them the label. Other writers try using the romance genre as a loophole. This is problematic because it could expose a reader to content they weren’t interested in (e.g. a “hardcore” sex scene, when the usual lingo in romances is more “softcore” and vague.) It’s problematic if writers are including love scenes into their erotica when it might be nonsensical to do so, like in a BDSM story. It ruins the novel for the writer and the reader.
Other writers are moving to greener pastures, a place where they don’t have to mislabel their work to sell it.
As the owner of a Kindle, I don’t know what to do. Do I stay with the e-book dictatorship or move to another e-book market? Is the future e-book market in a Kobo? What would you suggest?