An erotic novel "about the place afforded sex in modern Arabic society," created by Syrian wordsmith Salwa Al Neimi, has been removed from the iTunes bookstore, allegedly due to an “inappropriate” candid cover featuring a naked bottom.
"One would assume, then, they would also consider classical nudes by Ingres, Renoir, and Botticelli, not to mention photography by Man Ray inappropriate," Europa Editions reacted in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
"What about New York Book Review editions of Dud Avocado, Tyrant Banderas, or our very own The Days of Abandonment? NOPE! All are available in the iTunes bookstore," the statement continued.
It's not clear what prompted Apple to remove the book at this point: the novel entitled "The Proof of the Honey" had previously been featured in the iTunes store since 2009.
In fact, Salwa Al Neimi's brainchild has been banned in the author's home country too.
The story revolves around a Syrian scholar working in Paris. The woman gets an invitation to contribute to a conference on the subject of classic erotic literature in Arabic in what becomes a chance to "revisit moments of shared intimacy with other women as they discuss life, love, and sexual desire."
Hailed as "far more than an erotic novel", the book is said to be a "surprising and illuminating voyage into the history of Arabic literature," borrowing inspiration from The Thousand and One Nights.
"Affirming that 'Arabic is the language of sex,' and making desire the source of her own personal liberty, Al Neimi has written a stirring novel about the place afforded sex in modern Arabic society and its relationship to the long, rich tradition of Arabic erotica," the novel's description on the publisher Europa Editions' website explains.
It's not the first time books get censored by Apple. The creator of "Vagina", former US political consultant Naomi Wolf, has been temporarily affected by censorship when Apple chose to star out part of her book's catchy title. After a number of readers expressed indignation over the move, each letter in the title became fully visible again.