Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Whitcoulls suspends ebookstore

New Zealand bookselling chain Whitcoulls has suspended its Kobo-powered ebookstore due to ‘recent publicity surrounding ebook publishing through automated feeds provided by Kobo’.

In a statement on the Whitcoulls website, the retailer said that ‘the 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’.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, Kobo removed all self-published titles from its UK store this week, following UK retailer WH Smith’s decision to take its website offline while it removes explicit ebooks provided by Kobo. The WH Smith website went offline on 15 October after a number of explicit self-published ebooks, provided by Kobo, appeared on its website alongside children’s titles. The site has since been relaunched without ebooks.

In a statement to Digital Book World on 15 October, Kobo senior director of public relations Cerys Goodall said that Kobo has removed the ebooks in question from the global Kobo platform and that it is ‘completing a thorough review to ensure that compliance to our policies is met by authors and publishers’. ‘As a result we are quarantining and reviewing additional titles,’ said Goodall, who added that Kobo ‘expects titles that comply with our policy to be returned to the store within the week’. Goodall said that the issue is a ‘direct result of a select few authors and publishers violating Kobo’s content policies’ and said that Kobo is committed to ‘support[ing] freedom of expression’ and ‘protect[ing] the reputation of self-publishing as a whole’.

Whitcoulls has sold ebooks through the Kobo platform since mid-2010. Booksellers New Zealand member stores also sell Kobo ebooks, as do Australian retailers Bookworld, Angus & Robertson and Collins Booksellers.



Category: Local news