After a few weeks of rather vocal complaints regarding the state of the Kindle Store and the increasing difficulty in finding worthwhile content, Amazon has come up with a response. Despite the potential for it to cause discomfort for a certain number of Kindle Direct Publishing users, it looks like significant measures are underway to address the problems. The days when searching for a Kindle Edition would bring up hundreds of nearly worthless, nearly identical eBooks are coming to an end.
The origin of the problem stems from the nature of these spam offerings. While in the main they are useless and nothing anybody would want to buy, very few of them are deliberately malicious aside from their failing to provide value to customers. You can’t risk cracking down on authors who are just not good at their job. The deliberately malign options are, of course, policed rather strongly. Somewhat legitimate titles, built using content from Private Label Rights authors who sell their work to others for a small fee can be harder to track down. These are titles that the purchaser can pay once for and have legal use of, including author credit and editing privileges. Some of these works have the potential to be at least somewhat useful, and there is nothing illegal about the process, but once the idea caught on with internet marketing enthusiasts it was bound to result in exploitation.
Amazon’s solution is to remove titles that are filled with “undifferentiated or barely differentiated” content. Since the whole point of PLR is to sell the same thing to many people and make your money off of the bulk, only allowing a single person to make use of the work effectively removes it from circulation. Those “publishers” who have chosen to exploit the system are receiving email warnings that inform them of the removal of their less than useful Kindle eBooks and the consequences of continuing the practice:
We’re contacting you regarding books you recently submitted via Kindle Direct Publishing.
Certain of these books are either undifferentiated or barely differentiated from an existing title in the Kindle store. We remove such duplicate (or near duplicate) versions of the same book because they diminish the experience for customers. We notify you each time a book is removed, along with the specific book(s) and reason for removal.
In addition to removing duplicate books from the Kindle store, please note that if you attempt to sell multiple copies or undifferentiated versions of the same book from your account, we may terminate your account.
If you have any questions regarding the review process, you can write to [email protected].
To be fair, you have to give a great deal of credit to the community involved in this practice for their reaction. While there have been a few people recommending the move from Kindle to Nook platforms as a short-term solution, overall it seems that the end of PLR exploitation was anticipated. There will probably be no major outcry regarding this policy change, even among the people most affected by it. They knew they were exploiting a loophole that would eventually be closed.