WHSmith takes website offline to remove porn e-books

Retailer "disgusted" by titles and finds situation "unacceptable"
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WHSmith has taken down its website temporarily to rid it of graphic e-books, which are pulled in automatically from book site Kobo.

Last week the retailer was made aware that a number of "unacceptable" titles were appearing on its website. 

BBC reports that Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers were also affected and have been selling pornographic e-books featuring incest, rape and bestiality on their sites.

A statement on the WHSmith website reads: "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. We offer over one million titles through our e-books partner Kobo, many of which are self-published titles. 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. While we are doing this we have decided to take our website off-line to best protect our customers and the public."

WHSmith says it's website will become live again once all self-published e-books have been removed.

A Kobo spokesperson added: "Kobo is working quickly to review its catalogue and remove the content, authors and publishers in question.

"We are also evaluating new procedures to help ensure that this type of content will not become available on Kobo's site, or those of our partners in the future.

"This unfortunate situation is the result of a select group of publishers and authors violating the self-publishing policies of our platform. These titles will be removed and we will address the individuals in question directly."

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