PayPal Turns Vigilante

A lot of people are writing about the recent move by PayPal to censor books that appear on Smashwords. Someone in their ranks doesn’t like people buying books from Smashwords that feature rape, incest and bestiality. Frankly I’m not sure that many readers are after these books anyway, but that’s not the point. PayPal doesn’t like them and so has told Smashwords to remove all books with this type of content. Smashwords in turn has had to contact all involved authors, agents etc and tell them to remove their books by Feb 27th.

However, plenty of this sorts of books are available on Amazon. Here’s just one example. Because Amazon doesn’t rely on PayPal, it can sell whatever it likes. Is anyone out there going to get all uppity with Amazon? I doubt it. (And incidentally, this particular book is free on Amazon at the moment. Smashwords also has many free erotic ebooks that don’t enter into PayPal’s realm in any case, but it seems they all have to go too.)

This move by PayPal is absolutely appalling. What makes this company a moral guardian? Who are they to dictate to others what they can and can’t read or write? What’s going to come next? An author who writes Christian fiction has asked what will happen if another PayPal employee decides it’s wrong to include religion in books? What if someone else has a phobia about spiders and bans books about them? It’s a dangerous slippery slope. PayPal is completely unjustified in making this censorship call. It’s using bully boy power to impose its own values on other people.

Shame on you PayPal.