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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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October 2016
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Amazon Cracks Down On Kindle Store Spam

After a few weeks of rather vocal complaints regarding the state of the Kindle Store and the increasing difficulty in finding worthwhile content, Amazon has come up with a response.  Despite the potential for it to cause discomfort for a certain number of Kindle Direct Publishing users, it looks like significant measures are underway to address the problems.  The days when searching for a Kindle Edition would bring up hundreds of nearly worthless, nearly identical eBooks are coming to an end.

The origin of the problem stems from the nature of these spam offerings.  While in the main they are useless and nothing anybody would want to buy, very few of them are deliberately malicious aside from their failing to provide value to customers.  You can’t risk cracking down on authors who are just not good at their job.  The deliberately malign options are, of course, policed rather strongly.  Somewhat legitimate titles, built using content from Private Label Rights authors who sell their work to others for a small fee can be harder to track down.  These are titles that the purchaser can pay once for and have legal use of, including author credit and editing privileges.  Some of these works have the potential to be at least somewhat useful, and there is nothing illegal about the process, but once the idea caught on with internet marketing enthusiasts it was bound to result in exploitation.

Amazon’s solution is to remove titles that are filled with “undifferentiated or barely differentiated” content.  Since the whole point of PLR is to sell the same thing to many people and make your money off of the bulk, only allowing a single person to make use of the work effectively removes it from circulation.  Those “publishers” who have chosen to exploit the system are receiving email warnings that inform them of the removal of their less than useful Kindle eBooks and the consequences of continuing the practice:

Hello,

We’re contacting you regarding books you recently submitted via Kindle Direct Publishing.

Certain of these books are either undifferentiated or barely differentiated from an existing title in the Kindle store. We remove such duplicate (or near duplicate) versions of the same book because they diminish the experience for customers. We notify you each time a book is removed, along with the specific book(s) and reason for removal.

In addition to removing duplicate books from the Kindle store, please note that if you attempt to sell multiple copies or undifferentiated versions of the same book from your account, we may terminate your account.

If you have any questions regarding the review process, you can write to [email protected].

To be fair, you have to give a great deal of credit to the community involved in this practice for their reaction.  While there have been a few people recommending the move from Kindle to Nook platforms as a short-term solution, overall it seems that the end of PLR exploitation was anticipated.  There will probably be no major outcry regarding this policy change, even among the people most affected by it.  They knew they were exploiting a loophole that would eventually be closed.

Kindle Spam Highlights the Worst Side of Easy Self-Publishing

The Kindle has done a lot to bring publishing from fantasy to reality for new authors everywhere.  In an industry previously dominated by publishing houses that have a track record of refusing to take risks on new things, it provides an easy way for somebody to get their work out there and let it stand on its own merits.  This is not without its issues, however.  Under the old system we had some regulation, even if it was ridiculously over-restrictive.  Now, we can only hope that the best rises to the top.

The downside of the Kindle and its self-publishing options has generally been seen to be a lack of editorial input.  Bad books get published, poorly edited books get published, basically anything that people churn out can hit the digital shelves the day the author hits the Submit button.  Unfortunately, that’s not really all we have to worry about.  There were always going to be a few less than original titles that were meant purely to get the most cash for the least effort and to hell with the customer, but now a method has been devised for anybody who wants to put in the effort to put out 10-20 new books a day without even bothering to write.

The form that this takes can be anything from republished PLR content (content that the “author” buys the rights to republish under their own name) to the deliberately malicious.  The former are interesting in that they at least have the potential to be real, quality works, even if they aren’t exactly originals.  A system calling itself “Autopilot Kindle Cash” claims to be able to teach people to publish as many as 20 of these recycled eBooks per day at minimal expense.  For the most part, it is a load of worthless writing that offers little enjoyment, advice, or information, but that doesn’t mean that the occasional gem might not appear.  I can’t say that I support the idea, but it is the lesser of two evils.

On the more unpleasant side, we have scam links.  Some of these will come at the end of PLR content.  Others will just be thrown in wherever is convenient.  I’ve personally come across several that took me to scam sites promising easy money, but there is no reason to believe that there aren’t quite a few that link even more unpleasant content.

It would be unreasonable to expect Amazon to have every eBook checked out before publication.  Given the size of the platform, it just wouldn’t make sense.  To be fair, they even respond promptly to complaints by bringing down the offending eBook or author and offering refunds.  It seems a little strange to have to deal with this sort of issue while shopping for books, though.

For now, readers might want to watch for vaguely worded product descriptions, books with few or no reviews on them, and authors who seem to put out a lot of books all at once.  Most importantly, as with anything that can send you around on the internet, be careful what links you click on.  It’s a shame that the Kindle isn’t entirely safe from this sort of abuse, and I hope to see something fix it in the near future, but it’s simple enough to stay safe if you’re cautious.