Skip to main content

Spam storm clogs the Kindle self-publishing platform

amazon_kindle_2The Kindle’s ebook store has become a new outlet for self-publishing spammers in the past few months, forcing users to wade through a growing number of low-value, subpar content to get to the titles they want. This recent trend may be damaging to Amazon’s push into self-publishing and may even dig into the Kindle’s reputation, hurting the 10 percent of business Citigroup analysts say the product will account for in 2012.

Spammers are exploiting something known as PLR content, or Private Label Rights. Though there is potential for this work to be of high quality, PLR allows someone to grab informational content for free or for very cheap on the internet and reformat it as a digital book. The form of PLR these spammers use tends to be poorly written, generic and lets them put anyone’s name on it, slap a catchy title and churn it out for 99 cents. Amazon then pays out 30 to 70 percent of the revenue.

Sometimes these ebooks will just be stolen content from actual work. Reuters points out a case concerning a New Zealander and her debut historical novel which she found being sold on the platform under a different author’s name. The case was resolved by Amazon’s British team, but it points to a larger issue. Reuters cited Internet marketer Paul Wolfe, who explained that the common tactic involves copying an bestselling ebook and repackaging it with a new title and cover.

The problem has not been hitting Google eBooks or Barnes & Noble’s Nook so far, but the Smashwords ebook publisher has been seeing a trickle of spam. The spam on Amazon’s platform may become a more widespread problem. The increase in ebook sales over the past year has helped many people who couldn’t publish their work traditionally, with an outlet to get their voice out there. Amazon needs to wake up and either manage it’s submission more aggressively, require a fee or set up some sort of social networking weeding process in order to keep this platform untarnished.

Editors' Recommendations

French Court Rules Against Google Books
french court rules against google books thumbnail mart

The Paris Civil Court has ruled that Google Books violated the French copyrights of two publishers, and must stop scanning French works for its Google Books book digitization project and pay some €300,000 to French publisher La Martiniere, which brought the suit. Although the financial impact of the decision isn't terribly significant to Google, the decision is the latest setback for Google's plans to scan millions of books and make them available online to Internet users. Google Books has drawn consistent criticism from both publishers and libraries in the United States and Europe, although Google has been forging ahead with its digitization plans.

Google says it plans to appeal the French court's decision, and believes that showing short extracts from copyrighted works via its Google Books service complies with copyright laws in both the United States and France. However, Google Books scans the books in their entirety—many of which are under copyright—and presents excerpts without permission from the publisher or copyright holders.

Read more
Google’s Book Scanning is Angering Publishers
googles book scanning is angering publishers thumb google

Google has had its share of allegations that it has a monopoly in the online search/advertising world. The most recent of these accusations comes from the book scanning program that Google runs. Google ultimately plans to make the scanned books accessible online to more readers to help eliminate lost works and let readers opt out of print material. (more…)

Read more
Google Editions to Bring Ebooks to Anything with a Web Browser
key doj opinion due in googles digital book deal biggooglebks

At this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, Internet giant Google announced that it plans to go up against the likes of Amazon, Sony, and Barnes & Noble in the ebook market, launching its own ebook store called Google Editions in the first half of 2010. But rather than target a specific ereader device—like Amazon does with its popular Kindle—Google will instead target any device with a Web browser, whether it be a PC, a mobile phone, a portable media player, or even an electronic reader.

Google Editions will initially offer about half a million titles, in conjunction with publishers with whom Google already has established partnerships. Customers will be able to buy ebooks from Google directly—in which case Google plans to keep 37 percent of the sale and pass 63 percent along to the publisher. Google will also partner with other ebook retailers, who will be able to sell titles from Google: in those cases, the retailer would get about half the money, the publisher about 45 percent, and Google would keep the remainder.

Read more