A new content policy instituted by Nook Press last week has resulted in the termination of the accounts of numerous self-published authors.
In recent days, authors have been receiving notices from Nook, which is owned by Barnes & Noble, informing them that their titles are in violation of Nook's updated content policy. The authors have been told that their titles have been removed from sale, and their accounts have been terminated.
A number of authors who've received the notices have taken to social media to vent their frustrations. In a blog post about the situation author Georgette St. Clair said she would have acted to conform to the content policy, had she known it was needed. She writes: "I have never gotten a single warning or complaint from B&N about any of these titles; if I had, I would have taken it down immediately."
Selena Kitt, another author who complained publicly about the situation, said B&N acted "without warning" in canceling her account, and the accounts of other authors. She added that B&N's claims that she and others had violated Nook's content guidelines rung hollow as those guidelines were "non-existent until August 16 or so. We've had the same content published on their site for years."
Other authors have taken to social media to express their dismay over B&N's move. Like St. Clair and Kitt, many complained that they were not alerted that their books had run afoul of the updated content policy, nor were they told why their books no longer conformed to new content standards. A number of the authors also echoed Kitt's sentiment about being puzzled why content they had sold via Nook for years was suddenly deemed inappropriate.
The content policy in question states that titles subject to removal include "works portraying or encouraging incest, rape, bestiality, necrophilia, paedophilia or content that encourages hate or violence." The policy also stipulates that it is the responsibility of authors to keep up-to-date on any changes to the policy.
When asked why B&N moved so swiftly to drop titles and delete accounts, a spokesperson for the company said it was simply following procedure. "We have a policy," the spokesperson said via email. "[The authors] are aware of it. We terminate when there is a violation."
Update: Since this story was originally posted we have learned that some affected authors have had their accounts reinstated by B&N. At press time we had not heard back from B&N about this evolving situation.