There are things in this world I just don’t like. I don’t like onions, but I’m not going to tell my husband he can’t put them on his pizza. I don’t like horror movies, but I’m not going to tell my friends they can’t watch them. I don’t like all sub-genres of erotica, but I’m not going to tell anyone they can’t express their artistic ideas.
But that’s exactly what PayPal is doing.
Three major booksellers: Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, and Bookstrand, are revising their erotica guidelines to exclude rape, bestiality, necrophilia, and incest because PayPal is forcing them to. These are deplorable act and while this may sound like a good thing, but the definitions PayPal is using are vague enough to exclude things like BDSM, some paranormal and erotic horror genres, and ‘daddy’ stories. My books haven’t been banned yet, but they have elements of BDSM that so far escape the new guidelines.
I don’t write in those genres, but I know authors who do, and while I may not like the ideas they choose to express, I will defend their right to do so. If this censorship trend continues, it may affect me. It may affect you.
Who made PayPal God? What gives a commercial entity the right to police artistic expression? Why are the booksellers giving in?
Money. That’s all there is to it. PayPal is the vendor of choice for many online retailers. Without their services, businesses would lose customers. I don’t like losing customers/readers. But I hate being told what I can’t buy, can’t think, or can’t write by a faceless corporate giant.
It’s censorship—pure and simple—banning books. And I don’t like it. I will fight it.
Additional note: I am not–in any way–defending rape, incest, bestiality, or necrophilia. This post is not a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve been aware of PayPal’s actions all week, but since it didn’t affect me directly, I didn’t address it. But when I saw my friends’ books being banned, I decided to make my feelings known. I cannot stand by and watch while my friends’ livelihoods are threatened.
Have your books or books you want to read been banned?
For more on this controversy, see:
Femmedia – weekly blog roundup – lots of links here
And here’s a petition you can sign: