See UPDATE below!
The latest kerfuffle is over a new app called CLEAN READER which replaces profanity/explicit words with those more suited to delicate sensibilities. Witch for bitch (hello practitioners, insulted much?).
From the Washington Post:
“The app automatically obscures the F-word and all its remarkable permutations, along with the S-word, different names for deity, racial slurs and, Jared says, “anatomical terms that can be a little racy.” All told, more than 100 different words and phrases — enough for at least 14 more George Carlin monologues.”
“Jared [developer, Jared and Kirsten Maughan] knows this service isn’t for everybody, but he also knows there’s an audience out there. “We’re got friends who tell us, ‘We’ve always wanted to read this book, but we didn’t want to read all those swear words.’ We’re hoping this is a win-win: Authors can sell more books.”
Joann Harris [author of Chocolat] condemned this app HERE and HERE.
Chuck Wendig joined the fray, expressing strong opposition for a variety of excellent reasons HERE. The basis for his argument is that author consent matters and forms the core of the reader-author compact.
The Clean Reader app was generated when the Maughan’s daughter expressed discomfort in the language in a book she read at school. So, of course, instead of having an instructional moment, the parents opted to eviscerate what they deemed “offending language” by developing a bot to do that for them, making it universally available, and thus scaring the living shit out of people like me with ghost images of McCarthyism and all manner of repercussions that arise from people imposing a Christian agenda without my implied or any other consent.
Technically, when you lease a Kindle copy of my book… Oh wait, did you think you actually OWNED it? Tut, tut, go back and read Amazon’s terms and conditions…
“All content included in or made available through any Amazon Service, such as text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, audio clips, digital downloads, and data compilations is the property of Amazon or its content suppliers and protected by United States and international copyright laws.”
Anyhoo… others have expressed their reasoned and quite valid objections, about which I am in 100% agreement.
For all but one of my books, I place a warning in the Product Description: 18+, adult, gay, adult language and adult situations. For one of my transgressive works, I used this:
ADULT CONTENT: This is homoerotic lit, intense and dark, employing adult language and adult, often challenging, themes. If you are easily offended, if you require trigger warnings, Good Boy Bad may not be appropriate for you.
This is speculative fiction: Outré, out there, challenging, complex, disturbing, mind-bending, exploring boundaries…
Taking you to the edge of your comfort zone … and into mine.
Breaching the wall of your preconceptions.
It’s a journey of discovery, ends and beginnings, and that line in the sand doesn’t just move, it’s smeared, smashed, obliterated.
As for that BULLSHIT: “We’re hoping this is a win-win: Authors can sell more books.”—
If you read the product description, if you look at the front matter of the book, and you purchase/lease said copy anyway, but find you must assuage your delicate sensibilities with an app that imposes a religious/political agenda, then here’s what I recommend you do:
Get out of my book. Return it. Or suck it up, buttercup.
BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU NEED AN APP LIKE CLEAN READER,
THEN I DON’T WANT YOU READING MY BOOK.
It’s that simple, folks.
From MARK COKER of Smashwords on Clean Reader. Bravo, sir, bravo!
“March 25, 2015 – There’s been a lot of debate in the blogosphere in recent days about a new e-reading app called Clean Reader, which can be downloaded from the app stores of iTunes and Google Play. The app’s default setting automatically identifies and blocks words it considers profane, and if the reader asks for an alternative word an alternate is provided. But the alternate word is not the author’s word. The app is powered by Smashwords partner Page Foundry in the sense it leverages the PageFoundry catalog of books and underlying app technology, but it is not owned by Page Foundry. Last week I was surprised to learn that Smashwords books were included in the app. After a few days of careful consideration, today I requested that all Smashwords titles be removed from Clean Reader. Under the terms of our agreement with all retailers, retailers don’t have permission to alter the words of our books. In my judgement, by shielding readers from words, it represents a change to the book that neither Smashwords nor our authors have authorized. Page Foundry responded immediately to my request and agreed to remove our books from the Clean Reader app in the next few hours. Various interesting articles have been written on Clean Reader debate. Check out Charlie Stross here, Cory Doctorow here and Joanne Harris here or Google “Clean Reader” for more. My view: Although I’m generally supportive of innovations that make books more accessible to new audiences, and I can see some potentially useful application in terms of shielding children from inappropriate content, I think Clean Reader is a step in the wrong direction. Books are works of art, and the art is manifested by the author’s word choice. You can’t block, change or censor words without changing the book. I also think such an app is counter to the best interests of book culture. Books should be judged, celebrated and debated in their naked glory as their creators intended. The sanitization of books IMHO leads to greater ignorance and intolerance in the world. Books don’t need santization when proper categorization and honest book descriptions will do the trick.”
Yes, yes, yes!!
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Good on Smashwords….