The eReader company Kobo has temporarily removed all the user-generated, self-published eBooks from its online UK store as a precautionary measure while it ensures there is no more offensive content present.

The move follows a swelling of negative publicity for Kobo and other eBook platforms that offer self-published titles, as retailers like Amazon, WHSmith and Barnes and Noble were reportedly found to be selling pornographic eBooks featuring rape, incest and bestiality.

In the UK, WHSmith’s online eBook sales are powered by Kobo’s platform. Currently, the WHSmith website is offline, with a notice explaining why.

WHSmithKobo says the removal of all self-published titles from the UK store should only last for about one week, and that it is also removing the already identified offending titles from its global store. Additionally, Kobo says it will now complete “a thorough review to ensure that compliance to our policies is met by authors and publishers” and that it is looking at what safeguards can be put in place to ensure this situation doesn’t arise again in future.

A company spokesperson said the move is not a bid for censorship and that the company supports “freedom of expression” but that it wants to “protect the reputation of self-publishing as a whole”.

WHSmith says its website will be back online “once all self-published eBooks have been removed and we can be sure that there are no offending titles available”.

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