—Amazon’s Kindle hasn’t just revolutionized the publishing industry by making dead tree tomes increasingly obsolete. It’s also opened the door to thousands of self-made Shakespeares, self-publishers who sell their written wares—sometimes very lucratively—online. Oh, and spam. Lots and lots of spam.
The “books” are swarming the Kindle store in the thousands every month, powered in part by something called Private Label Rights, where cheap content gets repackaged into a knockoff e-volume. Alternately, one book will be uploaded a dozen times, with different titles and covers. Or, as Reuters points out, they’re just straight plagiarism:
Some of these books appear to be outright copies of other work. Earlier this year, Shayne Parkinson, a New Zealander who writes historical novels, discovered her debut “Sentence of Marriage” was on sale on Amazon under another author’s name.
The issue was initially spotted and then resolved by customers through Amazon’s British online forum.
Which is part of the problem, really; customers identified and solved the problem. Amazon itself doesn’t have a strong screening process in place in the Kindle self-publishing store—as it does for its Kindle Singles products—although a spokesperson did tell Reuters that the company has “processes to detect and remove undifferentiated versions of books with the goal of eliminating such content from our store.”
Which sounds a bit like scooping up water instead of building a dam. [Reuters]