Porn ebooks find closes major UK book site

By Ben Chapman-Smith

WHSmith has found out about the perils of moving into online retailing.
WHSmith has found out about the perils of moving into online retailing.

A major British retailer has shut down its website after finding hardcore pornographic ebooks being sold through the company's online store.

WHSmith learned last week that at least 60 pornographic ebooks had slipped through its screening processes, the Guardian reported.

The London Stock Exchange-listed company immediately closed down its website and issued a response, saying it was "disgusted" by the titles concerned.

"Last week we were made aware that a number of unacceptable titles were appearing on our website through the Kobo website that has an automated feed to ours," it said in a statement.

WHSmith said the "explosion" of self publishing was having an impact on many retailers.

Self publishing was generally positive in that it gave new authors the opportunity to get their content published, the company said.

"However we are disgusted by these particular titles, find this unacceptable and we in no way whatsoever condone them. It is our policy not to feature titles like those highlighted and we have processes in place to screen them out."

The company said it currently offered more than one million titles through its eBooks partner Kobo.

"Due to the massive amount of self publishing a number of these titles have got through the screening process. We are taking immediate steps to have them all removed."

According to The Guardian, some of the pornographic ebooks featured rape and bestiality.

A search for the term "daddy" on whsmith.co.uk brought up pornographic ebooks alongside stories for children.

WHSmith said it would keep its website off-line until all the eBooks had been removed and it was certain no more offending titles were available.

"When our website goes back online it will not display any self-published material until we are completely confident that inappropriate books can never be shown again. We sincerely apologise for any offence caused."

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