‘Do you like your books as they come, clean, or squeaky clean?’ A new app lets you state your preference, remove profanities from the text of your ebook, and replace them with “clean” alternatives.
Clean Reader – “the only e-reader that gives you the power to hide swear words” – sells more than a million ebooks from its online book store. Its app allows users to search the text, and “put a non-transparent ‘highlight’” over anything potentially offensive. The blanked-out word is replaced, when it is tapped, with one judged suitably safe. So in a passage from its online demonstration – “‘Don’t tempt me, you little bastard,’ growled Vyder” – bastard becomes jerk. In a slice of a David Baldacci novel, “Pick up your damn game, Bobby”, becomes “Pick up your darn game, Bobby”.
The creators say: “If there are books you’ve put off reading because you’ve heard they’re full of curse words, chosen to stop reading some books because you weren’t comfortable with the bad language in them, or if you worry about what’s in the books your children read … then Clean Reader is for you!”
“Will some authors be offended that some of their consumers use Clean Reader to pick out most of the profanity in their books? Perhaps. Should the reader feel bad about it? Nope. They’ve paid good money for the book, they can consume it how they want.”
Not everyone is convinced- “Edits inappropriately, doesn’t understand context. [Removes] words that have multiple uses and aren’t necessarily curse words, destroying context in written works. Worthless,” wrote a third user.