Monday, 20 June 2011

Kindle Direct Publishing- Good and Bad News...

KDP is in the news again.

Today the Bookseller highlighted a million KDP e-book sales by John Locke. Now that has obviously taken work, but he has written nine novels- his latest  is called How I Sold 1 Million e-books in 5 Months.
I suspect he'll get a lot of sales from that one too. But well done John Locke.

A lot of writers have taken to selling their books with KDP and Smashwords, and they're enjoying the opportunity to finally get their work to readers and to earn money from their writing.

But some are holding off taking that step. That could be because of the latest complications on that emerged in the US press late last week. SPAM- and let's not be polite, piracy.

A report appeared in the Los Angeles Times on the 16th, 'Spam is clogging Amazon's Kindle'. The article mentions thousands of e-books being produced without the need for any writing of their own. They use PLR- Private Label Rights (not to be confused with the UK's Public Lending Rights PLR).

I read an explanation on a US blog that this system allows for content to be bought and reused in any form, even an e-book if so wished. Now as long as the original writers have provided that work for use in this way and are happy, then fine.

But it's claimed these books, often priced at 99cents alongside normal priced e-books, results in you having to look through quite a few books to get to those original, hard work put into writing them, e-books...

Sadly there are scam artists who are getting e-books by writers who are selling well, then republishing them with a new cover, and a  new title, but aimed to appeal to "a slightly different demographic" (Paul Wolfe, an Internet marketing specialist, quoted in the LAT article).

Stealing someone else's work and selling it, is PIRACY- plain and simple.

Carol Arnell who brought my attention to KDP originally (and did a Q&A on the subject) has knowledge of this.

"I've just had an email from someone who has found their Kindle book being given away for free on a site. She emailed the site last week - Of course it is a false address as she hasn't heard back."

Obviously once a writer discovers their book being sold by someone else on Amazon they can report it, the fake work is copyright infringement to start with so removing it for that reason shouldn't be an issue.

Carol added: "Thinking back to my one of my author friends whose book has been stolen, and the book is now being downloaded for free somewhere. I cannot see what the hacker would gain by doing this. They're not making any money from it. I can only think it has been done through jealousy. The author concerned has sold many thousands of this book on Kindle."

This highlights another problem. If a hacker resells your e-book under another identity they will be getting the 35 to 70% royalties, so there is financial gain behind their actions. They are clearly guilty of piracy.

But what is the reasoning behind those who provide the books for free? Envy? Belief that the writer gets enough from legitimate sales so they won't miss the ones the hacker gives away? Or are they just ignorant?
Whatever their reason they are certainly ignorant.

We all know how quickly the issues on KDP can soon be repeated by the version. Writers have been finding it increasingly difficult to advertise their books on the Kindle forums because problem posters have led to clamp-downs.

Now successful sellers are going to need to be aware there may be pirate copies of their work for sale, or being given away for free.

As for the free copy thieves- checkout the provider for their sites and complain about their piracy.

Amazon will have to do something to stop the piracy under their nose. They have too much to lose if they don't...


Anonymous said...

Carol, thank you for this information. I've been thinking of going with Kindle, but still have unanswered questions.

Carolb said...

K, I have a few posts relating to the KDP scheme and they include links which may help you find the answers. (Check in April/May's posts.)
I know Carol Arnall is also a brilliant source of information if you can't find the answers you need.
Good luck with it and thanks for commenting. :)