On Frequent, Intense Mature and Suggestive Themes

Posted on Mar 5, 2012

Marco Arment has written a provoking article about Apple App store ratings. I haven’t really looked at the situation since my original (and, at the time, infamous) brush with the Apple law over the rating of Eucalyptus. As you may remember, it’s rated, at Apple’s request, 17+ for “Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes”, because users can access Victorian textual translations of, for example, the Kama Sutra from it. How are other book reading apps rated? I took a sample of the popular ones:

  • iBooks: 4+
  • Kindle: 4+
  • Blio: 4+
  • Nook: 4+
  • Stanza: 4+
  • Wattpad: 9+
  • Kobo: 12+

In case you’re in any doubt about the implications of this (perhaps, for example, the readers have internal rating systems that prevent viewing of ‘inappropriate’ content), this screenshot is from iBooks running on an iPhone with all parental restrictions set to the minimum (so, e.g. 4+):

Screenshot of iBooks store showing copies of the Kama Sutra for purchase

There are 39 results in that list.

I’ll leave the commentary up to Marco.