Why Write When You Can Aggregate?

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.

Actually, the above is not true. I was born on a Wednesday around 8:15 in the morning. The above passage was written not by me but by Charles Dickens. (A dead giveaway is that I don’t write that well.)  But by not putting quotes around it I passed David Copperfield off as my own. It happens to be in the public domain but had it been in active copyright and I wanted to sell it on Kindle, I could have turned a nice profit.

That in fact is what a growing number of scam artists are doing. Alistair Barr, reporting for Reuters, informs us that these people are “copying an ebook that has started selling well and republishing it with new titles and covers to appeal to a slightly different demographic.”

“If people can put out 12 versions of a single book under different titles and authors, and at different prices, even if they sell just one or two books, they can make money. They win and the loser is Amazon,” writes Barr.

One solution that has been proposed is to charge Internet users an uploading fee. If it costs to upload, spammers will be discouraged.  Unfortunately, so will a lot of other people.  A sounder approach for publishers is to use an anti-plagiarism program to determine if a text has been purloined from another source. Many are available, but if you don’t have one, just copy and paste a suspect passage into a Google search box and in all likelihood you’ll instantly discover whether or not the text has been ripped off.  Go ahead: try it with the Dickens paragraph at the top of the page.

Spam clogging Amazon’s Kindle self-publishing by Alistair Barr

Richard Curtis

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One Response to Why Write When You Can Aggregate?

  1. Rowena Cherry says:

    “Hoards” of spammers?

    What I’d like to know is, is it the president of the publishing company, or editor Maureen Bavdek who does not know the difference between a hoard and a horde?

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    Spam clogging Amazon’s Kindle self-publishing
    By Alistair Barr | Reuters – Fri, Jun 17, 2011

    “It’s getting to be a more widespread problem,” said Susan Daffron, president of Logical Expressions, a book and software publishing company. “Once a few spammers find a new outlet like this, hoards of them follow.”

    (Reporting by Alistair Barr, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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