The dream of publishing your own book is one that captures the imagination of many. And with Amazon’s self-publishing system for the Kindle that dream comes a lot closer - but that system is now being clogged up with spam by people not writing a single word.
In recent weeks Kindle owners may have noticed that the online bookstore for the award-winning ereader has become clogged up with spam. The reason for this is that people are publishing 10 to 20 ‘books’ a day, most of of which cost 99p - though most are not written in the traditional sense of the term. Of the thousands of ebooks published through Amazon’s self-publishing system every month, what is becoming more and more prevalent are ebooks written using something called Private Label Rights (PLR) content. PLR is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book. These ebooks are then put up for sale on Amazon’s online bookstore meaning users have to wade through all this spam in order to find the book they want. There is even a DVD available, called Autopilot Kindle Cash, that claims to teach people how to publish 10 to 20 new Kindle books a day without writing a word. Some author's work has been almost completely stolen and re-published.
This wave of ebook spam clogging up the Kindle Store is surely going to turn many people off the platform and could tarnish the good name of the world’s number one ebook reader. "It's getting to be a more widespread problem," said Susan Daffron, president of Logical Expressions, a book and software publishing company. "Once a few spammers find a new outlet like this, hoards of them follow." Amazon will need to put in place more quality control if it wants to continue to reign supreme in the ebook market. Responding to these issues, Amazon spokeswoman Sarah Gelman told Reuters: "Undifferentiated or barely differentiated versions of the same book don't improve the customer experience. We have processes to detect and remove undifferentiated versions of books with the goal of eliminating such content from our store."
With online publishing and the whole digital book revolution having turned the publishing world upside down, Amazon will have to act quickly to make sure it retains the confidence of its customers.