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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Article at Reuters:

Thousands of digital books, called ebooks, are being published through Amazon's self-publishing system each month. Many are not written in the traditional sense.

Instead, they are built using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book.

These ebooks are listed for sale -- often at 99 cents -- alongside more traditional books on Amazon's website, forcing readers to plow through many more titles to find what they want.

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.
The number of new books in 2010 was staggering:

In 2010, almost 2.8 million nontraditional books, including ebooks, were published in the United States, while just more than 316,000 traditional books came out. That compares with 1.33 million nontraditional books and 302,000 conventional books in 2009, according to Albert Greco, a publishing-industry expert at Fordham University's business school.
One person quoted is saying Amazon needs to charge for each book uploaded. I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen if Amazon feels it needs to expand staff and spend more on quality control. A $5 fee per book would discourage spammers and at 40,000 new titles per month, that's $2M Amazon could spend per month on QC for KDP.

One thing I wouldn't expect is for things to stay just as they are.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/16/us-amazon-kindle-spam-idUSTRE75F68620110616
 

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I'm quoted in that article. :) The reporter contacted me to ask about my experience of having my book stolen and put up for sale on Amazon.

Yes, that suggestion that Amazon might start charging is an interesting one to ponder.
 

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Thanks for the interesting article. Got to admit I was relieved it wasn't some 22-year-old MFA student snarking on self-publishing.  :D

I agree that the only thing we can expect is that things won't stay the same.
 

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Would $5 really dissuade spammers? They sell 20 copies and they presumably turn a profit, and that $5 gets them on the shelf for life. Maybe if it's a recurring charge...but yeah. I wouldn't expect Amazon to just sit there and watch spammers mess with customer experience. OTOH, this is supposed to be what a good search algorithm is for, right? It might be that they use verified purchase reviews to help weed out the spam...I dunno. I'm sure there are algorithms and optimization geeks here who have a better idea of how Amazon might address this.
 

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Victorine said:
What would one of these "books" read like?

Vicki
I'm guessing they're like the ebooks that used to clog eBay.

How to Sell eBooks & Make Millions
How to Make Money from Home
How to yadayada
 

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I wonder if Reuters is differentiating between 'published' and 're-formatted' and/or 're-published'.

For example, an author (or publisher) makes OOP books available as an ebook.  In this case you would expect the number of ebooks published to explode (since there are hundreds of years worth of OOP books that can be converted).  

They mention books 'free' on Smashwords yet priced at (at least) 99 cents on Amazon.  That's because Amazon doesn't allow free books.  (Besides, when I look for non-book items, I see the same thing having different prices at different merchants.  Not a big deal.)

It also mentions that some books, once they start selling well, are being re-packaged under different titles and using different covers to appeal to different groups of people.  That confuses me.  If I (author) have a popular book, then publish it a second time using a different title, wouldn't I lose the ranking/reviews associated with the first version??  How would that really help me??
 

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Victorine said:
What would one of these "books" read like?

Vicki
"Boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing you paid 99 cents for this crap you idiot boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing."
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
genevieveaclark said:
Would $5 really dissuade spammers? They sell 20 copies and they presumably turn a profit, and that $5 gets them on the shelf for life. Maybe if it's a recurring charge...but yeah. I wouldn't expect Amazon to just sit there and watch spammers mess with customer experience. OTOH, this is supposed to be what a good search algorithm is for, right? It might be that they use verified purchase reviews to help weed out the spam...I dunno. I'm sure there are algorithms and optimization geeks here who have a better idea of how Amazon might address this.
Well, putting up 10 books would cost you $50. If they were $0.99 each, that's about 150 sales just to break even. And paying the fee is no guarantee Amazon won't remove the book anyway. Presumably a fee per upload would allow Amazon to pay for more human eyes on each book.

Anyway, that's all just speculation. If the spammers have a bullseye on Amazon as a way of making a quick buck, Amazon is going to do something.
 

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I couldn't tell you why, but the choice of "boing" is genius.

NickSpalding said:
"Boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing you paid 99 cents for this crap you idiot boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing."
 

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genevieveaclark said:
Would $5 really dissuade spammers? They sell 20 copies and they presumably turn a profit, and that $5 gets them on the shelf for life. Maybe if it's a recurring charge...but yeah. I wouldn't expect Amazon to just sit there and watch spammers mess with customer experience. OTOH, this is supposed to be what a good search algorithm is for, right? It might be that they use verified purchase reviews to help weed out the spam...I dunno. I'm sure there are algorithms and optimization geeks here who have a better idea of how Amazon might address this.
I got suckered by one--once and only once. It was the only book I ever returned to Amazon, and I said flat out in my return that the book was a violation of the terms of their service because it had no content and only consisted of links to a site where I was expected to make another purchase.

I got a refund and the book was gone the next day. So I don't think they would be on the shelf "for life." I think they'd stop after some point.
 

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BarbaraKE said:
They mention books 'free' on Smashwords yet priced at (at least) 99 cents on Amazon. That's because Amazon doesn't allow free books. (Besides, when I look for non-book items, I see the same thing having different prices at different merchants. Not a big deal.)
People have been known to take free books from Smashwords and publish them on Amazon for 99c - at best, because they're confused about the difference between 'free' and 'public domain'. But probably because they're scumbags.

BarbaraKE said:
It also mentions that some books, once they start selling well, are being re-packaged under different titles and using different covers to appeal to different groups of people. That confuses me. If I (author) have a popular book, then publish it a second time using a different title, wouldn't I lose the ranking/reviews associated with the first version?? How would that really help me??
I'm pretty sure they're talking about the Private Label Rights books - Sell 1000 copies of 'How To Lose Weight With Granny's Secret' and then change the cover, and the name to 'Scientific Advance Helps You Lose Weight In A Flash!' ;)
 
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One of the problems with the private label trash is that they tend to include a license to resell.  So someone buys it, and then they get a license to resell it. 

This is a normal occurance for ebook vendors that started out allowing publishers to direct upload.  What most have done in the past is "grandfather" existing authors and then set new parameters for new ones.  The most common solution is to require new publishers to go through an approval process in which a staffer reviews the product and confirms it is a legitimate product.  After one or two products are seen as legit, then you can upload normally.  Another tactic, which is actually better for eliminating scammers, is to check BEFORE cutting the first check.  They may have a 6 month delay before the first payout, and if they discover the book was in violation you forfeit any money earned.  After you get through the trial period, you get paid normally. 
 
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If they kept the fee to something reasonable, like $5-$10, I'd be okay with it. It's just a shotgun spam approach, with the idea being if someone puts up 300 books for sale, at a cost of nearly nothing, that you can get a tiny bit of money from each one that'll steadily add up. Even 5 bucks a pop suddenly means those 300 books are $1,500 requirement in returns, pretty much killing off all these spammers.
 
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Victorine said:
What would one of these "books" read like?

Vicki
It would likely have imaginary and silly elements like Vampires, Zombies, or in-laws in it. That's redundant, I know, but you get the idea.
 

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genevieveaclark said:
Would $5 really dissuade spammers? They sell 20 copies and they presumably turn a profit, and that $5 gets them on the shelf for life. Maybe if it's a recurring charge...but yeah. I wouldn't expect Amazon to just sit there and watch spammers mess with customer experience. OTOH, this is supposed to be what a good search algorithm is for, right? It might be that they use verified purchase reviews to help weed out the spam...I dunno. I'm sure there are algorithms and optimization geeks here who have a better idea of how Amazon might address this.
I think there is a good chance it would discourage at least a good percentage of them although I wouldn't be surprised to see a higher price, more like the thirty odd bucks for the premium Createspace package. I have no doubt they are going to address it.
 

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MikeAngel said:
It would likely have imaginary and silly elements like Vampires, Zombies, or in-laws in it. That's redundant, I know, but you get the idea.
Vampires are imaginary???
 
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