Kobo Writing Life

As a self-published author on Kobo, I just received this email:

To our Kobo Writing Life and self-publishing partners:

As you may be aware, there has been a significant amount of negative media attention in the UK regarding offensive material that became available across a number of eBook platforms. Kobo was included in the reports from media and we are taking immediate action to resolve an issue that is the direct result of a select few authors and publishers violating Kobo’s content policies.

In order to address the situation Kobo is taking the following steps:

1.       We are removing titles in question from the Kobo platform.

2.       We are quarantining and reviewing titles to ensure that compliance to our policies is met by all authors and publishers. We will ensure that content meeting the policy is made available online as soon as possible.

3.       We are reviewing our policies and procedures to implement safeguards that will ensure this situation does not happen in the future.

We are working hard to get back to business as usual, as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.

Our goal at Kobo is not to censor material; we support freedom of expression. Further, we want to protect the reputation of self-publishing as a whole. You have our promise that we will do all we can to ensure the exceptions that have caused this current situation will not have a lasting effect on what is an exciting new channel that connects Readers to a wealth of books.


Mark Lefebvre

Director, Kobo Writing Life

As of a few minutes ago (when I last checked), my books are still available, so they haven’t quarantined all self-published titles. Considering that today is Canadian Thanksgiving, I consider this a sign that Kobo is treating it seriously and is trying to calm the furor and deal with the situation as reasonably as possible.

There’s still an active discussion of this on KBoards, and some are reporting that they’ve seen an outpouring of support for indie authors today through various social media channels.

Here’s hoping this kind of publicity boosts popularity for indie authors.

If anything else newsworthy happens around this issue, you’ll hear about it here.


  1. I’ll be interested to read what Smashwords/Mark Coker have to say. I know Kobo is a major outlet for Smashwords self-pub books. I also noticed that on the WH Smith site (which get’s it’s self-pubed books via Kobo) they are intending to get rid of all self-published works. My work still shows up on Kobo, but I guess I’ll remove the WH Smith links.

    It seems like Smashwords will need to tighten down on the erotolit. Which I don’t think is such a bad thing. The softcore pulp just gives all self-published work a presumption of being rubbish. I have no doubt that sites like Smashwords, and new outlets, will pick up the slack on being sources for such “writing” if the more mainstream outlets ban most of it, as softcore sells well.

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