The Guardian 16 March 2015
Do you like your books as they come, clean, or squeaky clean? Because there’s now an app that will let 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”.
Why? They explain: “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!”
Ron Charles of the Washington Post found out more. The app is the brainchild of a mother and father from Idaho, Jared and Kirsten Maughan, who were concerned when their daughter began reading library books with “pretty significant swear words”. They couldn’t find an app that would help them remove the offensive words, so they worked with the Chicago firm Page Foundry to create a “profanity-filtering” programme.