We did it…the thousands of independent authors who rose up and told CleanReader, through Twitter and Facebook, through our blogs, through interviews and forum posts in no uncertain terms to keep their hands off our dirt, got our books removed from their app.
Smashwords, the major eBook broker out there (Besides Amazon, who are in no way affiliated with CleanReader – so far as we know), ordered their subsidiaries to take down the feeds of ALL THEIR TITLES into CleanReader, effectively shuttering their store. Their reason: it violates Smashwords’ Author Agreement, by allowing third-parties to modify the content of an eBook.
Smashwords TOOK A STAND FOR AUTHOR’S RIGHTS. This is one of the few times I can think of that an eBook reseller has done such a commendable thing.
What CleanReader, a radical Christian-operated organization did was create an eBook censoring app, and its creators steadfastly refused to recognize the author’s rights to the integrity of their work; not only is this a breech of law, it is a violation of the creators’ right to control how their work is represented to the public.
Not only that, but the app was, predictably, hilariously arbitrary in what words were censored, with or without context, and with the kind of results you’d expect.
CleanReader dug in their heels until the last bitter gasp, claiming they were defending a reader’s right not to be “offended” or “affronted” by what they read.
Now, don’t get me wrong: each and every one of my readers is a valued customer, and I depend on every dollar I make from my writing. But you, dear readers, have no such right.
Whether you read something you enjoy or something that upsets you, you have precisely the following rights: the right to continue reading, or the right to stop reading. As a consumer you have a further, even more important right: the right to buy or not to buy a certain book; any book.
You can almost always return the book for refund – especially among eBook retailers. You can download sample chapters for free, without obligation…allowing you to see what you would be getting, if you bought it in full.
And, honestly, if the only thing keeping you from reading a book, and in this case, my books, is the “bad words” or “obscene language” that you might encounter, I really don’t want you as a customer.
I prefer to think that the people who read and enjoy my work are better than that.