Carole Hayes, a Texas mother who does boudoir photography, has called Barnes & Noble out on an issue she feels has put her children at risk. She noticed while browsing the free section of Barnes and Noble's Nook collection online that erotic novels and children's books were listed on the same page. What's worse? In some cases, the erotic books are being advertised with cartoons.
"On page one, scrolling down I saw a little cartoon for a book. I clicked on the book, and when I opened it up, [it] was The Princess and the Penis,” says Hayes.
There is a "kids" section, but until one clicks on it, all the books show up together. But Hayes isn't looking for B&N to remove erotica from their free Nook section altogether. She just wants them to make it less accessible to kids.
“They can give away anything they want,” she said. “I don't care how hardcore, as long as they segregate it from the rest.”
In a statement, Barnes & Noble said: “When viewing books on Barnes & Noble.com, there are a number of factors that go into how they are merchandised. These include sales rank, author and publisher popularity, quality of reviews and other details. When viewing 'See All' in a broad category such as 'FREE,' this will take all books across all categories available for free and rank them according to these factors. We take our mission very seriously— to be a valuable resource to our customers, bringing books and ideas to the public. Our guiding principle is to offer every book in print and allow our customers to decide what to buy and read and let each person decide what is appropriate for his or her children. In addition, please note that our products and services available online at www.bn.com are marketed for and directed towards purchase by adults 18 years or older.”
However, they have made some changes to their free Nook section making it a bit more difficult for children to access the adult books.