Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Scam eBooks

Man. EBooks are feeling more and more like the Wild West of the written word these days. Now I'm reading stories about people taking authors' books that have been published online, then essentially making their own ebook from them--printing the authors' works through the Kindle Store or other eBook store, and taking the profits for themselves. In the music and film industry, if someone tried to do this, they'd be slapped with a lawsuit and a DMCA cease and desist letter faster than you could say "lawyer." However, this is the book industry, and Congress hasn't gotten around to regulating it all that closely yet. So for now, all authors can try to do is ask Amazon (or whatever eBookstore is involved) to kindly take down the offending content.

Well guess what. Amazon makes its money on the book regardless of who sells it. They still get their cut. So it's not like they have any great big incentive to fix the problem quickly. There's no threat of a Hefty Fine looming over their heads.

Clearly, something needs to be done about this.

What that something is, remains to be seen. I've been saying it lately--and it bears repeating--I think we're a good few years away from some normalcy in the eBook world. Maybe five years, even. I hope no more than that. Right now, there's chaos and confusion, but that was the case with the music industry in the late 90s, and TV and Hollywood are just emerging from their chaos now. I'm confident eBooks will indeed emerge--but it looks like it'll be a painful birthing process.

Sigh. Such is life.

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