Clean Reader: Censorship in the Worst Form

Screenshot by Michelle Starr/ CNET

Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

Clean Reader is an app developed by an American husband and wife team after their teenage daughter apparently expressed shock at reading profanities within a book. It's designed to alter the language in a range of books to remove any words that are deemed inappropriate or obscene. 

The app allows you to load your e-books onto the app through iTunes then allows you to select censorship levels to filter out bad language.

The app then changes words deemed inappropriate by the couple to other, less offensive words such as changing "fucking" to "freaking". Authors and readers alike have expressed outrage in the app as they argue that their books shouldn't be altered in any way - especially since they don't have permission from the authors or publishers to change their work. 

GBLT news reports mishaps, a major one being a character named 'Dick' having his name changed to 'groin' throughout the book. The issue with Clean Reader is not the language, it's the censorship. Authors have a freedom of speech and if you find the language in a book too offensive, quite frankly you should put it down and write it off as 'not for you.' Furthermore, the censorship is completely subjective - and only censors words the couple have deemed to be inappropriate. Joanne Harris argues that, "Bitch" is changed to "witch", which may offend Pagan readers, but the couple have only taken into account their own Christian beliefs and their own subjective thoughts. Harris shares her thoughts in her open-letter to Clean Reader, which we applaud and support with our little bookish hearts. 

After an outcry from authors everywhere, the app has now removed all books from its catalogue. Here at YA Love, we hope this is the end of the censorship issue as we like our books just the way they are. 

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Christina is a bibliophile and lover of all things geek. A self-confessed workaholic, Christina writes for several websites and is running various projects. She joined YA Love to share her passion for YA literature with other like-minded book lovers.