back to article Kindle Store awash with auto-generated crap 'books'

Tsk, kids of today, eh? Give them something free and they spam it, thus making it all entirely unusable for the rest of us. As Reuters reports, this is now happening with the Kindle Store. Now that you can upload an e-book, price it and sell it, for free, hordes of wouldbe publishing millionaires are doing exactly that. Except …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can this be solved

    I dont think any of the currently thought of ideas are actually going to solve this - so it may need some novel thinking.

    In a slightly less punnish manner:

    "Filters mostly defeated spam for us, “nofollow” has made comment spam next to useless; but what will be able to stop such book spam?"

    Filters may have defeated spam for the users, but it is still there and comment spam - while useless - is still on the rise. Neither problem have actually been stopped yet so is it reasonable to think that stopping book spam is economically possible?

  2. Colin Millar
    Coat

    auto-generated crapbooks

    Its gardly amazons fault - WH Smith have been selling Tom Clancy and John Grisham for years

    1. It wasnt me

      @AC

      "is it reasonable to think that stopping book spam is economically possible?"

      Yes it is. I agree with your sentiment that the email and comment spam is still there, just not visible. But that was a filtering solution, not an economic solution. I suspect that if you charged a penny a time for sending email then the general public would be happy to pay, but the spammers would disappear over night.

      However, the contradicting eveidence can be seen on the iOS app store. Dont they charge an annual fee to publish and yet the store is still full of spam apps?

  3. Justicesays

    Large deposit

    Just charge something like £10,000 as a "publication deposit" , and then give back £1 for every copy sold along with the royalties etc.

    Also, if the book is discovered to substantially breach copyright, keep the cash (and/or pay off the actual copyright holder with it).

  4. Thomas 4

    Perhaps not as serious a problem as first thought

    When I look for titles on my Kindle, I'm usually looking for big names or well known books (currently working my way through Game of Thrones). The search function removes a lot of the chaff but the main one is Amazon's sales ranking system. When people do a search for "Song of Fire and Ice" for example, the first one that comes up is the main book because that's what people want to buy.

    So while Hubert J. Copypasta's seminal work "Singing a jaunty song of fire and ice" can be uploaded to the kindle store, it's very very unlikely to knock George R Martin's book off the number 1 search spot.

  5. Doug Glass
    Go

    So Archaic

    I've never had a paperback or hardcover book either hacked or spammed. Damn, I'm just so behind the times and so anachronistic.

    1. Captain Underpants
      FAIL

      Did we both read the same article?

      Was this just a lazy automatic reaction of playing the "ZOMG! NOT GIVING UP MY PAPER BOOKS FOR ANYONE!" card, just because someone mentioned the Kindle Store?

      'Cos if it wasn't, I'd like to know how you got from "Kindle Store listings are full of crap that gets in the way of buying the book you want" to "Kindle books are being hacked and spammed in a way that makes them unusable"...

    2. LoopyChew

      Fine for major publishers, not so much for the indies

      The problem with this then becomes its unattractiveness to legitimate independent novelists who would then have to resort to raising funds (like with Kickstarter), and only if they think they're actually going to make that money back. £10,000 is a lot. I'd think £50 would be enough to throw off the bottom line for spamovelists and make it unprofitable.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I recall back in my college days I "hacked"...

      ...the AD&D Players Handbook and Unearthed Arcana and bound them with PVA glue.

      Would you believe they're still holding together over 25 years later? Sandwiched between the legal copies I bought as soon as I had the cash for them.

      Project Guttenburg is ALL ABOUT "hacking" paper books into a digital format.

    5. Marvin the Martian
      Stop

      So if they succeed in marketing spam, they get the deposit back?

      Not sure what your logic is here.

      But along the same lines, not a deposit but a punishment system: if more than 1 in 3 customers complains that it's spam, you have to refund all of them. [.. Twice? Hm hm... or probably let it be adjudicated by a human -- if not, mass buying-and-complaining would make money regardless of the underlying book].

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: So Archaic

      Indeed, same here. We miss so much, don't we.

      Daniel (another dead tree loving luddite)

      1. Andus McCoatover
        Devil

        Totally agree.

        How on Earth can a preacher forecast the Rapture convincingly if he's pictured on TV holding - not an expensive leather-bound American Standard bible - but a Kindle.

        Who would take him seriously?

        Beggars belief.

        Icon, natch.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Coat

          @Andus

          Moses didn't seem to have an image problem standing up in front of a crowd and reading from a tablet.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      "paperback or hardcover book hacked"

      I don't know.

      At school, I once wrote some rather childish and rude words in my library copy of The mayor of Casterbridge.

    8. The Indomitable Gall

      Paperbook spam

      Well sadly the spam problem doesn't extend simply to e-books, but also the paper book market.

      Take this book for example:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Illustrated-Dictionary-Specially-Beginners-Including/dp/1152659359/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1308584815&sr=8-23

      They've taken the OCRed version of a bilingual dictionary off archive.org and made it a print-on-demand edition.

      OCR doesn't cope with dictionaries at the best of times, as they're peppered with abbreviation and there's barely a single complete sentence in them.

      Couple that with a relatively minor language like Gaelic, which hasn't received a great deal of attention from the OCR side of things, and you have the recipe for a typographical car-wreck.

      So, yeah, paperbacks and hardbacks are in the same situation....

  6. irish donkey
    Happy

    So much crap on Amazon Kindle

    It pointless even starting to look.

    The top 10 books are 'books' telling you where to find free kindle books.

    Ebay is a much better place to find your 'free' books. Ok these aren't free but it's easier to pay a couple of quid and get all the books you want in your chosen genre.

  7. mark 63 Silver badge

    i dont see the problem

    OK so theres a lot of shite out there - there was before digitization too. You dont have to read it.

    I'm not a kindle user , but i'd have thought if you have heard about a book you want to read , you type it in go straight to it , pay , download , read

    If you choose the books you want to read thorugh " hey this is cool" spam ads , either on the kindle or elsewhere then maybe you need to change tactics.

  8. Richard 33
    Go

    Amazon can fix this

    Just hold on to the customer's money for a week or two (Amazon will love that), and if too many customers complain about a seller, boot the seller off and return the money to the customers.

    Even better, require the seller to escrow some modest amount of money (eg. £5), and keep that money if they turn out to be a spammer.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      I do see the problem

      The problem is that you have to wade through loads of rubbish to find the decent stuff. One of the things we pay the publisher and the book store for is to do that for us.

      It is true that we don't need to read it. We don't need to get our books from the Kindle Store, but if lots of people take that option, it isn't good news for Amazon, so it is better to let them know what we perceive the problem to be.

    2. A handle is required
      Thumb Up

      They already do this to some extent

      If you accidentally purchase a book, you can undo the transaction, right from the Kindle. Extending the period of time for which this is possible would be a good idea. Of course, currently, the offer expires as soon as you navigate away from the Thank You page. So, they would have to at least let you read a few chapters before you decide that you don't like it enough to return it.

      1. Fuzzysteve

        thankfully, there's a sample option

        You can request a sample of most ebooks, before buying.

  9. The Alpha Klutz

    auto-generated crapbooks

    Its gardly amazons fault - In a slightly less punnish manner: When I look for titles on my Kindle, I'm usually a "publication deposit" , and then I've never had a paperback or hardcover book either. OK so theres a lot of shite out there - It pointless even starting to look. Just hold on to the customer's money.

  10. benjymous

    Same in the Android marketplace

    You get the same in the Android Marketplace - there are lots of free games that are just a console game ROM wrapped in an emulator, with adverts all over it (often in the middle of the screen, or placed right next to the on screen controls, so it's easy to hit them accidentally)

    Sometimes they disappear, but usually another flood appears a few days later

  11. cloudgazer

    The problem is lack of any curators in the Amazon store

    Amazon really needs to improve their stores 'browsing' experience, it's bad enough trying to find books on their website when I know the name already - given how ropey their search is - but it's truly a horrible experience if I'm just browsing for a new read.

    This is possibly the only thing that iBooks does better than kindle.

  12. JMB

    Kindle Store awash with auto-generated crap 'books'

    Another scam that I have noticed whilst searching for books is lifting pages off Wikipedia to produce a book made up of them.

  13. Neil 51
    Pirate

    Slightly off-topic..

    ..but was looking the other day for any sites which offer both a paper & e-copy of a book (The kindle's more convenient, the books look better on my shelves).

    Since we're constantly being told that the price point for e-books isn't cheaper because "most of the cost is writing, editing etc." then they wouldn't lose anything by doing this. I seem to remember some DVDs offering this - a (very locked down) video file which could be copied off the DVD to the PC.

    Is anyone aware of any website offering anything like this, without resorting to piracy?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No Title Required

      "I seem to remember some DVDs offering this - a (very locked down) video file which could be copied off the DVD to the PC."

      I thought all DVDs did this?

      Oh right, you mean the shit "download onto your iPod" 320x240 badly-compressed, barely-viewable parody that some DVDs had to try and say that you could use that instead of DeCSS? Then they have the cheek to put some kind of funky data corruption in so that DeCSS would choke unless you start the rip from somewhere a couple of megabytes in (Dark Knight), or come up with 99 titles, 98 of which are scrambled versions of the film, requiring you to either be incredibly patient or just use a video editing suite to stitch the sections back together in the right order (Mr Nice)...

      And these studios wonder why people rip their shit anyway and distribute far and wide? Could be something of a middle finger reaction, ya know?

      1. Neil Brown

        99 titles

        When this happens, use VLC or other DVD playback software to view the first few seconds of the desire, and just look at the title - this gives you the number. Then, in HandBrake or whatever, set it to prompt for title number, so that, when you out in the number from the playback software, it only scans that title. Irritating, but still pretty fast.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      $ mplayer -dumpstream -dumpfile foo.mp2 dvd://1

      "I seem to remember some DVDs offering this - a (very locked down) video file which could be copied off the DVD to the PC."

      I always thought that was the -dumpstream option in mplayer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Oy, vey...

        ...is there any problem mentioned on a forum which *won't* have at least one response specifying a commandline solution? Yeesh!

        1. A J Stiles
          Facepalm

          Command line solutions

          Most problems have a command-line solution. No matter how much you customise the GUI, the underlying stuff is the same. The command line interface is consistent, even if the point-and-click stuff isn't. Thanks to this very consistency, a command-line solution will *always* work.

          The command line is a powerful tool, and you do yourself a great disservice if you dismiss it too lightly.

    3. Curtis

      Give Baen Credit

      Due to an experiment at the behest of one of their authors, Baen Books. I recently bought a Hardcopy Honor Harrington novel that had a cd inside of a ton of their sci fi novels. Apparently, one of the authors at Baen dared the publisher to make the e-copy free to boost interest in the hard copy and it worked.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are we really quite sure that we want Amazon deciding what can be published?

    Yes, of course we are. A decent customer experience needs curation. For scrutiny-free publishing, there's that Internet thing.

    1. Sooty

      I'm not sure i like it

      but there has to be some regulation and responsibility. If anybody can publish and sell anything for free, what's to stop someone taking any book not available on the kindle store and republishing it. Automated software couldn't really catch it unless amazon had the book as a reference. Even flagging similar titles/authors would only work if they didn't outright steal the contents.

      If it was a genuine book, presumably people would buy it, offsetting any upfront charge. We don't want to get to the situation where authors constantly have to monitor the store, on the off chance they spot some of their own work to report it.

      It's great that aspiring authors can self publish nowadays, it's just unfortunate the system is so open to abuse. It's a no risk enterprise for the people who are doing this, they won't have anything worth suing for either. At least the big publishers had something to lose, forcing them to do their due diligence. Unless Amazon take on that responsibility, there will continue to be abuse of the system.

  15. P Saunders

    So nothing has changed after all

    I seem to remember this sort of thing happening in the heydays of dead tree publishing in the 19th century with authors having their books ripped off and sold by the unscrupulous. Plus ca change, I guess.

  16. Helen Hanson

    Amazon Won't List Free Titles From Individuals

    I'm an indie writer. My thriller, 3 LIES, is for sale on Amazon's Kindle store. To the best of my knowledge, they don't accept books with zero as the price, or public domain works, unless you are listed as a publisher and not an individual. Amazon requires a minimum price of $.99 for a US-listed title. While that amount may be a minor distinction, there are many honest, earnest authors of original works who rely on the digital platforms for both income and opportunity.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Doesn't stop spammers

      yes, but spammers don't WANT a cost of $0.00, $0.99 is just fine. They are in this for the bank, not the lolz. Also, there is no (legal) prohibition on anyone selling any public domain work at any price. If you are stupid enough to buy, that's your problem (assuming my morals are flexible enough that I can still look at myself in the mirror in the morning, of course.)

      The problem is while you have to list a price, the "scammer" doesn't have to pay for the listing. The $0.99 is paid by the "scammie." Although I've seen brick-and-mortar stores selling the bard's work for much more.

    2. davenewman

      What about free reports?

      published by voluntary organisations?

      They can be downloaded at a price of zero, and the organisations are not in the main a publishing business.

  17. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    Spam books could be called

    Bookalikes?

    Mine's the one with the hardback Terry Pratchett

  18. Whitter

    Just a tweak is all.

    It wouldn't take much of a publishing fee to kill it: $10 would be quite enough.

  19. Torben Mogensen

    Require verified identity

    Amazon and similar services should require verified identities from the people who publish on their sites. This way, authors who are ripped off will know who to sue and customers who get auto-generated rubbish will know who to complain to. Furthermore, Amazon (or whoever) can ban these people from their sites. If you can use unverified identities, scammers can just make up hundreds of these and not care if half of them are banned.

    Richard's idea of withholding earnings until customers have had a decent chance to complain and right-holders a decent chance to make claims also has merit. But with no verified identity to make claims against, all right holders can hope for is the (probably meagre) earnings from the ripped-off book. So a scammer can, again, just create a myriad fake identities and hope some of them goes undetected. Selling the same ripped-off book under many different titles will make it harder for right holders to find all, so the scammer can still make money. So I think the only effective remedy is verified identity.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      I'm not so sure

      A lot of the "get rich quick" schemes out there are based on the idea that you can licence or copy some content from somewhere, publish it and make lots of money. I don't want to dignify any of them with links, but google "cash on demand" to get an idea. The money isn't actually made on the Kindle Store, but by the people who sell them the kits to put the junk up there, and having paid typically in the region of $5000 - $10000 for the kit, they would quite happily pay another $10 listing fee.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Chain of trust...?

      Well, why not have people stand up as witnesses for each other?

      I mean, many self-publishers will know each other through writers' groups, conventions etc. Any complaints against a crooked publisher would be reflected in the writer's trust rating, which would make it impossible to recommend further friends and in extreme cases could result in loss of chart positions or expulsion from Kindle entirely.

  20. Charles E

    Copyfraud

    For a further (and previous) analysis of this problem, you might look for my article on El Reg, entitled "Copyfraud: Poisoning the Public Domain."

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/26/copyfraud/

    1. Oninoshiko
      Boffin

      Interesting article (I must have been out when it was published).

      It does contain two major problems.

      1) A new publishing actually can qualify for copyright protection, even of a public domain work. This is trivially achieved by correcting spelling errors/for modern spellings, applying new art, new type-faces, modernizing terminology, annotating and critiquing.

      It's no different then Hamlet: http://www.google.com/search?q=+site:imdb.com+imdb+hamlet

      Many of these are nearly identical to the play written by everyone's favorite bard. Every one of them is (or was) protected under copyright.

      2) It makes a lot of reference to works which are Japanese in origin. I find this interesting, and slightly disingenuous when referencing copyright law, as Japanese law (AFAIK) lacks the concept of "Public Domain," instead favoring the author's "moral rights."

      1. Jerome 0

        Trivial?

        "It's no different then Hamlet"

        The work put in by actors and production staff over several months in putting together a film production of a play is no different than correcting a few spelling errors?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Same thing has done for music on YouTube

    search YouTube for a song - particularly a classic one - and you get pages and pages of wannabee Joni Mitchells or Bob Dylans warbling into a webcam.

    1. LoopyChew

      The price

      Maybe, but at least you're not being charged for it in anything but time. On Amazon it's time AND money.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ISBN

    Just insist the books have an ISBN.

  23. asdf Silver badge
    FAIL

    but this way Android and Kindle can claim

    They might crack down on this but like the Android store Kindle will wait for the crap flood to raise them above the number available in the Apple Store for marketing reasons.

  24. jim 45
    Unhappy

    AGC

    Google searches are already overwhelmed by AGC. ("Auto Generated Crap"). How can a search engine even begin to detect actual 'value' in content?

  25. Diskcrash

    It isn't that hard to fix.

    Why is it that the first thought is to edit the books that get uploaded as opposed to vetting the uploaders? There are not that many people that want to publish original works or have the right to upload works of others so all Amazon has to do is to require that any uploader provide accurate and confirmed details about themselves and then if they do this it is easy enough to cut them off and remove their works.

    If you say this is as bad as censorship it isn't since they can still freely publish their works in many other venues or they could use a publishing front to accomplish what they want. The point is to put in some accountability as what makes it worthwhile now is that gormless jerks can upload at will without any serious controls.

  26. M1

    Isn't this why brands were born?

    In the 18th century nefarious purveyors would sell woodchips in cheap goo as raspberry jam or bulk out other foods with all manner of crap (literally) - the solution? Branded goods that guaranteed a certain quality.

    Same is true here I guess - buy a Penguin version of the book rather than a Pingreen one ....

  27. ratfox Silver badge

    Making it not free to publish

    Heh. I remember Bill Gates also said once that the solution to spam was to make email cost something. THAT did not happen for sure!

    That said, I could tentatively agree that publishing a book should not be something you want to do twenty times a day, so a small charge could be justified.

    This could however be an interesting experiment: How long before we get software that is able to write a new "original" book from random bits of story? After all Barbara Cartland was able to write 23 "novels" in one year using this method.

  28. JB
    Meh

    Not just the auto-generated spam books

    My wife recently bought a full-price ebook from the Kindle store for $13 (she admits she was a fool!). The thing was riddled not just with typos, but also lots of 'their' for 'there', etc, and every page had one or two   or p>.

    I am currently 'backing up' some of my crumbling paperbacks, and take the time to go through and make sure everything is the same as the original, perhaps e-publishers should do the same, and differentiate themselves from these spam books.

  29. Petrea Mitchell
    Stop

    At least one? Try lots!

    This has been getting a lot of attention in the literary community the last couple months, and it's nice to see the MSM starting to cover it. There's a roundup of some of the early discussion here:

    http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012933.html

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    $10

    Whitter is right, you'd only need something as little as $10 to stop this nonsense. Small enough to avoid hurting struggling authors (they pay more than that for monthly Internet access, or even lunch on a trip to meet with those brick-and-mortar publishers they're also pitching too) but more than enough to trash the business model of the spammers.

  31. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    Stop

    Deposit

    Just make the sellers post a £100 deposit for each book that they publish. They can then have, say, £1 or £2 of the deposit refunded with each sale of the book, so after 100 or 50 sales, they've got their deposit back.

    That'd fix it overnight.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something similar in real books on Amazon

    You can find disturbingly expensive printings of articles lifted from wikipedia, eg

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-EF-Lens-Mount/dp/6130265964/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1308346109&sr=8-2

    Yes, over 20 pounds for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EF_lens_mount

    To add a humerous overlay to the rip-off, a number of resellers are offering the book "from stock" while others are charging print on demand prices of £30.

    I pity the poor sod that has bought one of these.

    1. Lewis Collard

      Yay!

      Oh man, feeding from the bottom there. Wat.

      I noticed something like that a while ago with Google Books, searching for the kind of obscure topics for which the Web has become rather useless thanks to Wikipedia scraper sites. I came across book after book filled with....Wikipedia scraper books. I think they shut that "publisher" out from Google Books, though.

      Hooray for "free content", liberating us from the shackles of having to read the same fucking thing in just one place.

    2. irrelevant
      Thumb Down

      Seen that.

      I came across a fairly expensive book on Amazon when looking for old viewdata/Prestel publications. The list of chapters was diverse and unconnected, but the couple of paragraphs of sample content matched exactly the wikipedia articles, and the pertinent chapter was the very article I'd contributed much to myself!!

  33. Dick Emery
    FAIL

    Oh look!

    It's almost exactly like the Android Market. Crap search engine. Lots of spammy crapware.

  34. stuartnz
    Meh

    Lost in the Amazon?

    Do people just browse the Kindle Store hoping to stumble across something to buy and read? When ever I go, I'm looking for a specific author or title or keyword, and I have yet to be bogged down in screeds of auto-generated spam creations. I've seen them, for sure, but they don't cripple my shopping experience any more than does looking through shelf after shelf at a dead tree store, AND I don't have to walk around a room with my head tilted to one side

    1. Thecowking
      Thumb Up

      I meander through

      One of the best things about the Kindle for me is that it's opened up a lot of new, pretty decent authors to me. Randolph Lalonde, Amanda Hocking, David Dalglish, the fantastically named David Lister and so on. All of these authors I discovered by opening up a section of the kindle store and having a wander through looking for something cheap and new.

      If you stick to the samples first and then move on from there, you can actually find some very good authors out there.

      I can't say I've noticed the autogenerated chaff yet either.

    2. Graham Dawson
      Facepalm

      My experience of the apple app store was no different

      As they say in cliché land, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please could we have some examples of said gibberish books?

    I thought it was a fascinating article but could have done with some extracts.

  36. Arctic fox
    Coat

    ".........these spam books (spooks? Sbooks? Sblooks?)..........."

    How about "spamooks", as in "its all a load of........."?

    I'll get my coat.

  37. Mikel

    If you do want these ebooks...

    I've just been drilling on the free ebook thing because there are a lot of classic works I'd like to have for my Android tablet. For Android there's one called FBReader, and you set it up by going to Network Library, clicking Add catalog, and adding m.gutenberg.org. For iThings there's Stanza and you "Add Library" and choose the "Project Gutenberg" library.

    Thats it, and you get all these hundreds of thousands of works in the palm of your hand, for free.

  38. K Cartlidge
    Thumb Up

    Amazon HAVE taken some steps on PD just recently.

    It won't sort the problem, but it could help a fair bit.

    They have instituted a policy (and started actually enforcing it) that they will not accept multiple (they don't mention the limit) editions of undifferentiated public domain works.

    Way back when, I was looking for a copy of Hunger (the Knut Hamsun work) and there was no decent one, so I put one together and listed it myself. It has a brand new cover, table of contents, line-breaks fixed and chapters/paragraphs reformatted and re-flowed. Pretty good edition actually, with 2 nice reviews from satisfied readers. I have recently received an email from Amazon saying that under the aforementioned policy it is to be de-listed.

    To qualify to remain, I had to add something new or unique to the edition. I haven't and it will be removed (and I applaud Amazon overall for taking the step, even though in this case mine is by far one of the better editions).

    It won't solve everything, sure, especially with PLR stuff, but if it is applied across the board it could vastly reduce the crap to wade through.

    1. Torben Mogensen

      @ K Cartlidge

      The solution to your delisting could be to add some biographic material about Knut Hamsun to differentiate it from others. The bio could easily be taken from Wikipedia. :-)

      Seriously, I can't see this policy being very effective, as it would still be fairly easy to cut and paste from several sources to create something unique.

  39. Steven Roper
    Big Brother

    Orwell's vision again

    "She... worked on the proletarian novel-writing machines... the big kaleidoscopes on which the plots of novels were 'roughed in'."

    In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell described trashy, pornographic tat novels written by machines he called "kaleidoscopes" (computers not really being widely-known at the time of writing). Here we see it again coming to fruition - machine-generated trashy "books", assembled from bits and pieces of writing in the manner of - a kaleidoscope. Albeit that the motive is different - in Orweel's book it was to entertain and distract the proles, whereas here it's an attempt to defraud people for money. I don't know which one is worse.

    Is there any part of this seminal book that *hasn't* happened yet? Two-way telescreens in our homes I suppose - but I'd wager that's coming, and most likely will be here within the next 5-10 years...

  40. Adrian Esdaile
    Alert

    How about some sort of 'signed' publisher tag?

    What about some sort of signed publisher (uploader) tag, that is the only thing Amazon tracks? Then you can build in the ability to block certain publishers.

    It also filters the real books out - I know the real publisher, so I can limit searches to authentic ebooks.

    I've noticed the spambooks since I got a Kindle 3 months ago - it makes buying on the Kindle itself a bit inconvenient if browsing, but I just buy from a web browser on a my desktop which allows me to sift through the spam a bit easier.

    You can also help by reporting the spambooks to Amazon.

  41. Richard 15

    A partial contribution to the solution.

    If an e-book had to have a certain number of pages viewable, or a certain percentage, then it would allow potential readers to see if the book is crap. Not a full guarantee, but a start.

    Or, allowing for a reader to reclaim their purchase price with a reasonable short span of time

    for reasons of it being "crap" could work, provided that a certain threshold was reached.

    For example, lets say 1 person in 100 says its crap, then a refund would not be allowed.

    If, however, 80 in 100 did, then it would. Tweak this as you see fit.

  42. Drew 2
    Megaphone

    I've had my ebooks 'stolen' on Amazon

    I'm an indie author of ebooks, doing this mostly for fun rather than having a particular financial goal in mind. My ebooks have all be free to download from my website and other 'free' ebook distribution sites.

    Earlier this year I discovered my own work being 'sold' on Amazon by an individual I'd never heard of. My books were lifted verbatim, and sold (rather ineptly) without even changing the cover pages - which had my name on.

    Took me three months to sort it out, with no guarantee it won't happen again. Amazon were very lethargic. Wrote the whole thing up on my blog - google should find it.

    I'm just about to publish a non-free book on Amazon, so I agree there has to be a way to get rid of the dross, copies, auto-books etc. Amazon needs to step up to the mark.

    Cheers,

    Drew Wagar

  43. Adam T

    Charging for publication won't work

    Because spam makes money.

    1. Rob - Denmark
      Boffin

      The trick

      The trick is to find the point where:

      money made < money spend on publishing

      at the time where the publication is banned from sale.

  44. peterkin
    Paris Hilton

    Crap stuff drives out good stuff - again

    I'm an Amazon Kindle author and I'd happily pay a fee of £10 to publish. I'd have liked to have got an ISBN, but they're only available in batches of 10 for > £100.

    Plug - look for The Boy by Peter Kendell on Kindle :)

    Paris - because I'm sure she'd be my biggest fan, if only...

  45. sundypsx
    Happy

    Just like the Android Market

    Full of crapware!

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