John Naughton and me

A week or two back John Naughton made a reference to something I\’d written for The Register.

OK, prance, preen etc.

So I know that Naughton reads The Register and that he\’s even known to read (some) of what I write there.

So I see his column today. And it covers the very subject I covered for The Register recently.

Yes, his piece is very different. And I certainly don\’t complain for I picked up the point from a Reuters investigation anyway (which could also be his source of course).

It\’s just that what amuses is that the point being made is about how the Kindle is being overwhelmed with people offering either derivative or even directly copied pieces……

1 thought on “John Naughton and me”

  1. Declaration of interest – we publish eBooks (as well as normal books) and have had success with them.

    Tim, your Register piece asks ‘What will be able to stop such book spam?’ and goes on to suggest introducing listing fees. Yep, that would not be a bad idea; they wouldn’t have to be particularly high, either.

    That said, there are already two other elements to the Kindle system which ought to mitigate against spambooks in time (ie once the novelty of eBooks begins to wear off, and people begin to discriminate more).

    The first is that you can try before you buy by downloading a free sample equal to (I think) 10 per cent of the total word count. If you don’t like what you read, you don’t buy it.

    The second is that there’s also a ‘trial period’ option on Kindle, which allows that, having bought, you can still ‘return’ the eBook and obtain a full refund if you decide the whole thing was a ghastly mistake.

    Currently there is a limit of the number of returns a customer can make, which is sensible (from my point of view) as it prevents freeloading.

    I don’t know if a similar process exists for eBooks – ie, a book which is returned x% of times will be withdrawn, or perhaps subject to some sort of warning to customers – but this might be worth Amazon looking at. Even better, maybe, some sort of algorithm which creates exceptions to allow customers to make more than the standard quota of returns if the additional eBook they wish to return is itself subject to that x% of returns.

    Ultimately, I suspect (and hope) that what will happen is that existing publishers will benefit, as their imprimatur on a title will be seen as at least some sort of quality guarantee. The market will prevail.

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