10/27/2012 ~ Banned?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

A few days ago I uploaded “Slither” to Amazon Kindle. I received an email (copied below) saying they would not be offering my book for sale because “the book contains content that is in violation of our content guidelines”.

I thought maybe I was now in the revered company of George Orwell, D.H. Lawrence, John Steinbeck, Toni Morrison, and so on. But, it might just be the cover art – a Gauguin nude – that violates their guidelines. Or the fact that the title says clearly that it is carnal prose. It could even be that someone read the whole book and decided it would be a “poor experience” for other readers  – they say in the guidelines “We don’t accept books that provide a poor customer experience. Examples include poorly formatted books and books with misleading titles, cover art or product descriptions.  We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience.”

There was no explanation as to what specific content violated their guidelines, but reading through those guidelines made me reluctant to ask. They could fit my book into any of those violations, after all (Copied below).

This book is now available for .99 at Smashwords

Oh and, the print version is available on Amazon.


The email from Amazon:

From: <>

Date: Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Subject: Alert from Amazon KDP To: (my email address) Hello, We’re contacting you regarding the following book that you submitted for sale in our Kindle Store:

3018507         Slither ~ carnal prose by Urmilla Deshpande

During our review process, we found that your book contains content that is in violation of our content guidelines.  As a result, we will not be offering this book for sale.

Our content guidelines are published on the Kindle Direct Publishing website.

To learn more, please see: Regards, Marigold J. Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.

And here are the content guidelines:

Content Guidelines
Your books and other content (such as book titles, cover art and product descriptions) must adhere to these content guidelines.  We reserve the right to make judgments about whether content is appropriate and to choose not to offer it.  We may also terminate your participation in the KDP program if you don’t adhere to these content guidelines.

We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.

Offensive Content
What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.

Illegal and Infringing Content
We take violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your content doesn’t violate laws or copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights.  Just because content is freely available does not mean you are free to copy and sell it.

Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content
Some types of content, such as public domain content, may be free to use by anyone, or may be licensed for use by more than one party. We will not accept content that is freely available on the web unless you are the copyright owner of that content. For example, if you received your book content from a source that allows you and others to re-distribute it, and the content is freely available on the web, we will not accept it for sale on the Kindle store. We do accept public domain content, however we may choose to not sell a public domain book if its content is undifferentiated or barely differentiated from one or more other books.

Poor Customer Experience
We don’t accept books that provide a poor customer experience.  Examples include poorly formatted books and books with misleading titles, cover art or product descriptions.  We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience.

10/22/2010 ~ ReADING

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

I recently had a conversation with a friend about a certain e-reader. I had just bought one, she was thinking about getting one as a gift for her husband who is an avid reader. We talked and talked, or rather, I talked and talked. About my total delight in the e-reader’s book carrying capacity, in its portability, about my access to the entire Gutenberg Project library for free, in being able to download classics for as little as 99 cents and often free… and imagine my awe when I downloaded a book, at the beach, and start reading it – as soon as I was told I was a disgrace because I’d never read it! (The Metamorphosis, 99 cents, and now I wish I had stayed a disgrace. It is horrifying.)

My friend eventually chickened out of surprising her husband with an e-reader and asked him if he wanted one. He told her he was much happier with “real” books from the bookstore or library, thank you, he didn’t want to put librarians and book store workers out of work. Plus, he enjoyed the feel and smell of books. All this was not that different from the way I felt before I got my own e-reader. Although I wondered about my friend’s husband worrying about the livelihood of librarians over the preservation of pines, I bought my e-reader for a reason not connected to ecology and empathy: My two books now had online  kindle editions. I discovered that I made a lot more from a download than from the sale of a “real” copy of my book.  Ten times as much (three dollars vs thirty cents). So it makes me feel very happy when I have that rare sale. And then I wonder what resources go into the making of a “real” book that makes my share so paltry – the cost of cutting trees, the payrolls of paper industry and publishing house employees? (And as I write this, I have a thought: I’m going to ask my friend’s husband if he has an email account, or if he still writes and receives “real” letters due to his concern over the payroll of postal workers.)

My pitch to my friend was so heartfelt that she  asked me if I was getting a commission for selling this particular e-reader. Which gave me the idea. This is one product I wouldn’t mind selling. Not door to door, but from my website! The more people have e-readers, the larger the market for my own books, after all. Which explains the picture and link on this post.

Now if you were to ask me if I care that much about selling copies of my book, I’m not so sure of the answer. It’s hard to decide whether I want to be a bestselling writer or a starving artist true to my art… you know, poor but sexy like the city of Berlin… I might be stuck with the Berlin option because – it’s just not my choice to make – as I’ve commented before, three downloads last month, a grand total of nine dollars and change! Which also explains the picture and link on this post?