Apple accused of censoring erotic eBooks

Caroline Cassidy

Until yesterday, Apple's iBookstore chart was very telling about the type of books its users read. Erotic fiction was proving to be the most popular genre in the top ten list until coy Apple decided to remove the offending titles.

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The most popular book in Apple's iBookstore chart yesterday was Blonde and Wet: The Complete Story, a pornographic novella by amateur author Carl East. His other titillating titles also filled two other spots in the top ten.

But today the number one spot had changed to The Perfect Murder by Peter James, and other spots were filled with innocuous titles such as the iPad Survival Guide and Peter Mandelson's memoirs.

Carl East is astonished by the success of his downloadable naughty novels of which he has written more than 70, including the series Confessions of a Nymphomaniac, which sells for 49p each.

On his website Mr East says: "I chose to write imaginative things, and sometimes allowed my own imagination to get away from me. I started with erotic tales before going onto more serious stuff, although having said that my erotic stories have been popular.

"The first book I got published was The Second Apprentice followed closely by The Talking Sword both of which are sword and sorcerer type tales. My favourite release though was Hell's Gate but none of these three books have been downloaded yet and they're all available at Amazon. They just seem to want my erotic stories."

The anonymity of buying an eBook through an iPad may be the reason for the popular sales of erotic fiction. Rather than facing the embarrassment of buying such a book in a shop, readers can simply download their chosen titles onto their iPads with no one else any the wiser.

Philip Stone, charts editor for the Bookseller magazine, said: "The embarrassment factor of being caught reading something like that in print is not there.

"If it's on your iPad then no one can tell what you're reading. You could be reading Plato."

Do you think it's right that Apple censor their top ten list or should they accept that iPad users enjoy reading erotic fiction? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.