Update: Apparently I was mistaken about how Clean Reader works. On its mild filter, it masks profanity, but on the most conservative setting, it REPLACES dirty words with ‘clean’ versions. Oh yeah, that’s so much better! (Insert sarcasm font here.) Cnet.com has more details.
But the good news is that Clean Reader has stopped selling books due to immense internet pressure from authors. I still want to see them taken to court and their product ruled a copyright violation. That will probably take time, but at least they no longer have altered books to profit from.
Trashy gets cleaned. Or not.
Clean Reader is an app that censors all the profanity in ebooks. I looked it in the app store, and the reviewers who love it claim it does what it’s supposed to. But I think these users are kidding themselves. Dirty is all about context, and apps don’t understand context. I once sent an email to a company and had it blocked because it contained the word virgin, but I’d actually written Virgin Islands.
To demonstrate my point, I took an excerpt from Their Twisted Love – The Twisted Mosaic, Book 2, and ‘cleaned’ it as the Clean Reader might:
He stepped back and held his hand out. “Come on.”
I shook my head and pulled my blouse closed.
Then he moved in for the kill, placing his arms on either side of me, leaning in close, but not touching, his words hot in my ear. “I’ll take you out in the open air, the warm sun, and strip you in broad daylight. Imagine that. You’ll have to brace yourself on the railing while I eat your *****. Probably have to drape one leg over my shoulder so I can lick everything… all those juicy pink bits. If your room is on the second floor, bystanders would have a great view. From the building across the street, from the sidewalk, or from right below. Someone could stand under us, look up and see everything. My tongue on your ****. Your juices streaming down your thighs.”
Heat washed over me, trickling down between my breasts and pooling between my legs. I panted and tugged on his jacket, trying to force him against me, but he wouldn’t move. “Tell me more.”
“Everyone will hear you—and see you come. And then I’ll turn you around and display your naked, flushed body to the whole **** city while I **** you from behind. Hold on to that railing tight, Sweetheart. They’ll watch my **** pound your *****. Spread your legs so they can see.”
Oh that’s hot. My feet slid apart as far as my tight skirt allowed. His chest rose and fell slow and steady, teasing mine. I dug my fingers into his ***, but he still wouldn’t touch me. My body ached for him, and he laughed while I groaned and pulled. ******* knew exactly what he was doing to me.
He moaned in my ear, his voice rough. “I’ll grab your hair and make you stand straight up. You’ll wrap your arms around my neck and show off those sexy breasts. So ******* pretty… pretty when you’re getting ******. That’s why we shared you.”
Sharing me. Oh God. That triggered memories: two pairs of hands, two mouths, two ***** dividing my body between them. A single spark lit, sizzling down my spine like a fuse. ******* is going to make me come—in public!
“That’s it, ****. Show us how much you love it.”
Does that sound clean to you? I didn’t think so. Even with the dirty words masked, the meaning is quite clear, and the mind fills in those ******* asterisks with something. (How many of you put the word fucking in there?)
Clean Reader is nothing more than a copyright violation. Publishers and editors can’t alter a book without the author’s consent. Clean Reader never asked for anyone’s consent, and I find that more profane than a lot of swear words. I won’t censor my characters, and I’m offended that this app thinks it can.