Covers gone wild: Are Amazon, Apple and B&N selling soft-core porn e-books?

With the self-publishing revolution, some of the e-book covers in the Kindle, iBooks, and Nook stores have become rather revealing--perhaps too revealing.

Off Duty e-book cover
Proper decorum prevents us from showing the rest of this e-book cover. Amazon screenshot by John P. Falcone/CNET

They have names like "Bent Over," "Double Teamed," "Bedded by the Boss," and "Hot Daddy Cop." They're all part of a bawdier form of romance writing that's generally referred as erotica or erotic romance, and they're all in the Amazon Kindle catalog as well as Barnes & Noble's Nook catalog.

Needless to say, most of the books feature scantily clad figures, often intertwined, on their covers. Now, we're not prudes, but when a woman's bare behind shows up in the top 100 list on the Kindle (as is currently the case with "Bent Over"), you start to wonder whether someone over at Amazon might get a little concerned about its image and what the young folks who own Kindles might come across in their browsing. (Start clicking on "related titles," and things go downhill quickly--from the risque to the downright perverse.)

Romance and erotica novels have always been popular and have done very well in the e-reading realm, aided by the fact that no one can tell what you're reading when you're using an e-reader (yes, there's some stigma attached to being seen reading these works out in public).

As we said, these types of novels have always had racy covers, but clearly what's making them even more revealing is the desire for self-published authors to have their books stand out. Gia Blue, the author of "Bent Over" and "Double Teamed" appears to have first published on Smashwords. She calls her publishing company I heart Smut and in her Amazon author bio she says she "writes smut because she's been cursed with an unbelievably dirty mind."

Interestingly, the cover for "My Daddy's Best Friend" is actually less revealing in the Kindle Store than in the Nook Store, but the "Bent Over" cover is the same in both stores.

It's also worth noting that though Apple's somewhat more staid iBookstore doesn't seem to carry any of the particular e-books mentioned above, it too has its share of provocative titles and revealing cover art.

 

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