What Amazon Must Do to Save Kindle Direct Publishing
By Tony Bradley
Amazon has liberated authors with the ability to self-publish books in Kindle format. Unfortunately, some individuals appear to be overwhelming the system with crap, making it harder for customers to sift through the spam and find legitimate titles. Amazon needs to take action to save Kindle self-publishing from the spammers.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a beautiful thing. You can self-publish your books on the Amazon Kindle Store, and your book will be available on Kindle devices and Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, Mac, Blackberry, and Android-based devices. KDP even lets you self-publish books in multiple languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, and specify pricing in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling, and Euros.
I can appreciate self-publishing on a couple levels. I have pitched a variety of books to publishers that I believe would make excellent titles that readers would be interested in, but most of those titles never made it through committee to get the green light. The books that did get approved, and that I have written have made me some money, but the high cost of the book limits sales, and my relatively low royalties mean that I got very little of whatever money was generated.
At $31.95 for the paperback, and $16.47 for the Kindle edition of my book Essential Computer Security has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 copies and made me a fair amount of money. If I write an updated, or new security book, I could self-publish it for $5 and it would be a win-win for my readers and me. At only $5 it would be more affordable for more readers to buy it, and with 70 percent of the money coming to me I would make more money.
However, that won’t be true if there is so much spam in the Kindle book store that nobody can find my book. Amazon could impose some sort of submission process giving Amazon an opportunity to review and approve content before it can be sold in the Kindle store. However, that would raise the overhead for Amazon, increase the length of time involved to publish a title, and complicate the process for everyone involved.
Amazon does need to be aggressive in weeding out spam, though. It might help if Amazon would implement a means for readers to flag books as spam so that customers can help filter out the junk. Another thing Amazon can do to help filter out the noise is to borrow from other sites like eBay and develop some sort of seller rating system that lets authors earn and establish credibility.
Hopefully Amazon does something, though. It would be a shame for Kindle Direct Publishing to get crushed under the weight of the spam.