Saturday, June 18, 2011

ZDNet's report on Kindle direct (self) publishing and semi-fraudulent use of it


The image above of the highly-rated, genuine book by Margaret G. Cahill is just to highlight the word "fraud" as it's more that than just "spam," the word given it in many news reports.  The self-publishing part of Amazon is being played by people who are not authoring books of their own, and ZDNet's story on this gives a succint overall-view and leads to other stories on it.

' Reuters reports that spam has taken form on the self-publishing platform for several factors--namely how cheap and easy it is to republish another work already available, or to just make something else up altogether:

Aspiring spammers can even buy a DVD box set called Autopilot Kindle Cash that claims to teach people how to publish 10 to 20 new Kindle books a day without writing a word. '

ZDNet also links to a rebuttal from the Autopilot people and their fans.  You can read their letter there.  Amazon really must do something about it.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($164)   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. The only thing they can effectively do is abandon the automated system for self publishing and have every publication vetted by a panel of employees. That of course would be extremely expensive, and mean Amazon would have to start asking a sum up-front for every publication to cover the expense (and/of greatly increase their cut of the sales).
    Another way would be to stop accepting self-published titles altogether.

    Either would of course harm Amazon's market position, possibly more so than taking ad-hoc action when they receive reports about specific "authors" and products.

    In all, it would seem a perfect way for a competitor to harm Amazon. Launch a lot of plagiarised or otherwise inappropriate (kiddieporn anyone?) works through Amazon's self-publishing program using fake or stolen identities and anonymous email addresses. Amazon takes the fall, you publish a press release stating how your security system is so much better and makes such things impossible (when of course in fact you don't allow any self-publishing at all, therefore won't ever have the problem).

    p.s. still can't post here with google account. Can log in but as soon as one gets back to your blog the login data disappears and you're logged out again.

  2. Anonymous,
    I'll bold-face the words in the note that tell people to remove the cookie they have for and that will clear it up.

    As for Amazon, they can't afford for their ebook selection to be seen as becoming "a million" of the most wanted books to be a subject of laughter and for their statistics of selling more e-books than paper books to be minimized by this...

  3. I don't think this is a huge problem, people are not being duped into buying anything. It just distorts the 'titles in store' statistics. And nobody does that more than B&N by claiming 2,000,000 Google ebooks as their own.

    I found one example of this where the same PD book had been injected into each Kindle book category, each with a unique Title, Author, price, and cover image. None of them had actually sold anything. There are probably a number of other examples. The title they used, in fact, was one chosen as a riff on the term 'spam': “A Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons”. It's a public domain title available on Gutenberg,, etc.


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