First of all the censorship of a certain category of books under threat at Smashwords and elsewhere by PayPal is not driven by Smashwords or PayPal. I am disgusted to read that some writers of this category have been abusing and accusing Mark Coker, Smashwords founder and CEO, of being responsible. Even PayPal is not the culprit, it is the credit card providers and thus the banks behind them. Once again the big bankstas hit the little guy.
This is about hurting the indie book publisher, make no mistake. I was accused last night of being a conspiracy theorist because I believe there is a valid argument that the big publishers, who put a lot of business through the banks, have exerted pressure for the banks to force credit/debit card payment processors like PayPal to cut out this category. It is part of a category that has seen major growth from indie publishers and and writers. Obviously it threatens the bottom line of the big publishers. If they weren’t afraid they wouldn’t attack. This is why it didn’t happen four of five years ago. Back then the indie publishing industry was not a big enough threat to their control of the industry. Now eBooks and self-published/small publishing house books are threatening their domination.
Amazon doesn’t use PayPal but they do use credit cards so expect them to be next, if they haven’t already banned the relevant category. This is censorship by stealth,this is monopolizing by the back door. It happened before in teh good ole US of A. A few years ago they snuck the IMBRA bill in on the back of a bill nobody could argue against,one for the protection of women in domestic violence situations if I recall. But IMBRA attacked penpal sites that introduced US men to foreign women. The excuse was because these women are exploited and murdered and sadly a few have been. But so too foreign men marrying women in Russia and the Philippines and elsewhere once they realise the woman was already married and just after a Greencard and their money. Abuse was two way and neither is right but the IMBRA law only targeted the little guy. Big penpal service providers like Yahoo Groups and other didn’t have to comply, only the little ones, usually run by a US man and his foreign bride wife to help other women from her area find a foreign husband and escape poverty, have a better life etc. The bill was hidden at the back of a huge document, passed at 3am or something and was basically a way for the big penpal agencies to get rid of the small time competition. It was the sneaky way the power was wielded that upset many. This is no different. Again the big power wields its might to club the little guy.
Plenty of people see nothing wrong with this,that this is the way of the world, that credit providers have the right to choose who they will do business with and who they won’t. They are correct, but they are not right. This is not right because it is an abuse of power. It is ‘might equals right’ at work.Yes it is the way of the world but that doesn’t mean we should accept it. The world has been a tough place since Day 1 but we have fought hard to make it a better place to be. We used to have 6 yer olds working 14 hour days in the Poorhouse for the debts of their parents but not any more. We used to treat our women little differently in many ways to how they still suffer in tribal areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and even in urban areas of these and other countries, but not any more. We used to consider our women as chattel goods the husband or oldest brother could do with as they wished, even marry them off and keep any payments, but not any more.
I could go on but the message is surely clear. This is the thin edge of the wedge. Now it is a certain category dealing with three or four specific subjects. What’s next? Who’s next? Will the banks deny credit to small pharmacies? Little mom and pop corner stores? Will they claim these family businesses often exploit the children of the owners, forcing them to work behind the counter after school and this is their moral justification? Or any small business because the owners don’t employ enough people or some other, spurious justification to wipe out the little guys. Let’s face it, even with computers dong all the work, it is easier to have a handful of huge clients like Wal-Mart and Costco than it is to have hundreds of thousands of small stores putting their take through their accounts every business day.
Bottom line, don’t blame the wrong people, fire your arrows and throw your brickbats at the right target, the mega rich banks and the mega rich bankers. Not the teller behind the counter trying to hold onto her job as more and more jobs are cut and sent overseas. Not the help desk person who is one of the few left in your own country as more and more jobs are outsourced to people who might speak English, but it isn’t the same language. Not their fault and they are only trying to feed their families too. No, blame the rich who are not like you and me and can’t comprehend how we can not accept we are here to serve them. Didn’t someone once say “eat the rich”? I know what they meant.