It’s not just about copying films and music anymore; the world of pirating has now hit the online bookstores very hard as the global retailer Amazon can attest.
It is very easy to find millions of books online by using the likes of Amazon Kindle and similar services but it is becoming more and more evident that a lot of these books have been electronically bootlegged. It is very easy for companies or people who want to make easy money to purchase a lot of random material for a very small cost. This material is then put into an eBook format and published. The process usually involves writers being employed to make subtle changes to the original pieces and then changing the title. These are subsequently republished and sold a fraction of the cost.
Many of the books don’t necessarily sell in large numbers but it’s still significant. The process of creating new eBooks quickly has developed a lot over the last year and a single person can easily publish 10 new eBooks on a daily basis.
The problem with spam like this is that it hurts serious self-publishers that want to break into the industry and become recognised authors. Books with unusually low cover prices will be seen by many as spam content when it might just be a way for the author to get the book out to as many people as possible. Many aspiring authors use this tactic to get exposure for their latest book.
There are reported cases of individual authors who have published over 3000 books in their own name. Many authors are not even able to publish 3 books in a lifetime so it is highly unlikely that any of these books are actually worth reading. However it is very hard for the reader to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
Even though pirated books have increased tenfold over the last year, there are still many readers that don’t know the exact extent of the problem. It is also hard to find out if a book is actually original unless you purchase it. This leaves many avoiding the purchase altogether, and taking away potential revenue from real authors.
The spamming has had a real effect on many readers and it can be seen when you read some of the comments posted under the fake books. There are purchasers that explicitly say that they will never buy a book from Amazon again. This does not just hurt the company, but also authors. Another major problem is that all these fake books will be mixed with the real books, clogging up the system. This makes it harder to find the real, good, books amongst all the options available when you do a simple search.
Insult is often added to injury when fraudsters download genuine copies and repackage and sell them in their own right. This means that a legitimate book can be sold for a small percentage of its original price without any revenue going to the real author. This in a way is worse than the online pirating of movies and films because most of the time it does not actually give the pirate any money. But this way they not only steal the content, they profit from it for quite some time after!