View Full Version : Will Amazon forgo quality to enhance quantity?


mdibella
12-04-2007, 12:24 PM
I see in another thread that Steve Jordan is publishing his books for Kindle, and I applaud that because I have read and enjoyed his work...

...but...

I can't help feeling very concerned that Amazon is improving its bragging rights regarding the quantity of available Kindle content by allowing just anyone to self-publish their books. Will we be seeing a lot of unedited, unproofed content, and much of it frankly not very well written?

I can see that I will be reading an awful lot of first chapters, just to determine if this new author I never heard of is an undiscovered gem or just a writer-wannabe.

Editors are good, they do valuable work...has Amazon bothered to hire any, or did they just throw open the doors to anyone with a modem and a dream?

Alisa
12-04-2007, 12:25 PM
Last I read they weren't doing sample chapters for the self-published works yet which I think is a critical mistake.

Hadrien
12-04-2007, 12:54 PM
Last I read they weren't doing sample chapters for the self-published works yet which I think is a critical mistake.

I couldn't agree more, it seems even more important to sample the book if it's self-published.

jasonkchapman
12-04-2007, 02:30 PM
Editors are good, they do valuable work...has Amazon bothered to hire any, or did they just throw open the doors to anyone with a modem and a dream?

Of course they haven't. They're strictly acting as a distribution mechanism, not as a publisher. Nor are they setting themselves up as the arbiter of what's worth reading. But that's nothing new. They've handled POD books from self-publishing venues for a long time. As has always been the case, caveant lector emptorque (my Latin is a bit rusty, but I think that's right).

rflashman
12-04-2007, 03:03 PM
Who is actually basing their purchase on 'quantity'? I admit there is a certain threshold before most consider a store a worthwhile investment (20k? 30k 60k?) but beyond that, which I feel Amazon has already met, I don't think the quantity really matters in terms of making future sales.

vivaldirules
12-04-2007, 03:37 PM
Who is actually basing their purchase on 'quantity'? I admit there is a certain threshold before most consider a store a worthwhile investment (20k? 30k 60k?) but beyond that, which I feel Amazon has already met, I don't think the quantity really matters in terms of making future sales.

I, for one, care a great deal about it. And I think quantity matters a great deal. The total number of available ebooks by all vendors combined is less than 1% of the total number of pbooks that are available. I think that's pitifully small. By far, most of the books I want to buy I can't get in ebook form. I really don't care much about the rather small differences we've seen between the offerings by the vendors so far. Amazon has taken the lead, yes, but they will need to vastly improve their offerings to make ebooks take off. I think that if we continue at the current pace, this will continue to be a fringe business for another decade where the only customers are a few people who are either dedicated readers or techno geeks or both.

mdibella
12-04-2007, 04:03 PM
Caveat Emptor is all well and good, assuming the emptor can take a look at the merchandise before buying it. I'm not sure that Amazon would authorize a refund based on the complaint 'this book is really lousy'. Nor would a 'real' bookstore, for that matter, but at least in Border's I can glance thru the book and even read a few pages before I decide to buy it.

If Amazon doesn't make the first chapter available on self-published books, it will be hard to imagine buying any of them.

NatCh
12-04-2007, 04:27 PM
I, for one, care a great deal about it.Point taken, but quantity for quantity's sake won't solve that problem. Just like everyone else, you want a higher quantity of books you want to read, if they added 3 million titles you don't care to read, then the quantity hasn't improved things for you much.

Besides, these self-published books we're talking about are unlikely to be the ones you're looking for and not finding anyway. :shrug:

Penforhire
12-04-2007, 05:33 PM
Those bragging rights are definitely part of the Kindle sales engine. You can see it here, even among people who know the number of titles are inflated. Lots of people choose the Kindle at least partly because they feel it offers more titles. Just seems like smart marketing by Amazon to me.

vivaldirules
12-05-2007, 09:16 AM
Point taken, but quantity for quantity's sake won't solve that problem. Just like everyone else, you want a higher quantity of books you want to read, if they added 3 million titles you don't care to read, then the quantity hasn't improved things for you much.

Besides, these self-published books we're talking about are unlikely to be the ones you're looking for and not finding anyway. :shrug:

I agree completely. Ten million ebooks that I don't want to read is no substitute for a few hundred or so that I do. I suppose what I'm really looking for is the day when all books that are available in ebook form. Then I will either be happy or I can switch from complaining about the meager availability of books in digital form to complaining that authors aren't writing books that I want to read.:)

NatCh
12-05-2007, 11:55 AM
I suppose what I'm really looking for is the day when all books that are available in ebook form.I can give no answer to that except the AOL "Me too!" :jester:

Then I will either be happy or I can switch from complaining about the meager availability of books in digital form to complaining that authors aren't writing books that I want to read.:)Or that they're not writing them fast enough! My only complaint about David Weber, for instance, is that he doesn't write as fast as I read. :D

HarryT
12-05-2007, 12:01 PM
As has always been the case, caveant lector emptorque (my Latin is a bit rusty, but I think that's right).

Absolutely right :).

jasonkchapman
12-05-2007, 05:08 PM
Absolutely right :).

My high school Latin teacher would be so proud. :crowngrin

brecklundin
12-06-2007, 02:34 AM
A fast question relating to the idea of a bunch of crap the could come from the self-published works....does Amazon not offer something like a 7-day refund for Kindle format content? I thought I read this in an early review about the Kindle. If it is true then maybe that will provide a self-policing setup. If a books gets too many requests for refunds maybe there might be a review of the content for errors or what not...plus the site's user reviews should address simply bad books.

Yes...no? I dunno?

;)

Alisa
12-06-2007, 12:36 PM
The review feature should help this. If you see a book by an author you don't know with unfavorable reviews, you probably won't bother.

vivaldirules
12-06-2007, 01:51 PM
The review feature should help this. If you see a book by an author you don't know with unfavorable reviews, you probably won't bother.

I don't know about the reviews for Kindle Editions specifically, but my experience with the review for other books at Amazon has not been good. Specifically, I'm surprised at the very large number of books with only positive reviews. Recently, I posted there a rather negative but dispassionate review of a book. Actually, it was a book that I had bought from Sony for my Reader but I thought it would be helpful to post the review on Amazon. A week later, I noticed that the review had disappeared. So I posted it again and two weeks later it was gone again and so I have posted it a third time. My assumption is that someone closely related to the book (e.g., author or publisher) has looked for the negative reviews of their product and clicked on the "Report this" link on the review which allows viewers to request that the review be deleted because it is offensive or distasteful. That experience has made me very wary of the reviews at Amazon.

AnemicOak
12-06-2007, 02:24 PM
That experience has made me very wary of the reviews at Amazon.

I have found many reviews on Amazon to be totally worthless. You definitely need to read through them yourself & not just trust the rating to make up your mind. Then there are the reviews by folks like Harriet Klausner who make there living reviewing & have been proven to not always have actually read the book. Everything I've seen her review gets 4 or 5 stars & she does a lot.

Alisa
12-06-2007, 02:46 PM
I have found many reviews on Amazon to be totally worthless. You definitely need to read through them yourself & not just trust the rating to make up your mind.

The reviews for the Kindle make a fine example of this. The vast majority of bad reviews are from people who don't own one at all.

Alisa
12-08-2007, 12:26 PM
I don't know about the reviews for Kindle Editions specifically, but my experience with the review for other books at Amazon has not been good. Specifically, I'm surprised at the very large number of books with only positive reviews. Recently, I posted there a rather negative but dispassionate review of a book. Actually, it was a book that I had bought from Sony for my Reader but I thought it would be helpful to post the review on Amazon. A week later, I noticed that the review had disappeared. So I posted it again and two weeks later it was gone again and so I have posted it a third time. My assumption is that someone closely related to the book (e.g., author or publisher) has looked for the negative reviews of their product and clicked on the "Report this" link on the review which allows viewers to request that the review be deleted because it is offensive or distasteful. That experience has made me very wary of the reviews at Amazon.

I'd feel sneaky but I'm tempted to do that to all the one-star "I don't own it but let me tell you what's wrong with it" reviews. The fact that several weeks in we're still seeing several a day makes me wonder if some of these aren't genuine.

vivaldirules
12-08-2007, 02:21 PM
I'd feel sneaky but I'm tempted to do that to all the one-star "I don't own it but let me tell you what's wrong with it" reviews. The fact that several weeks in we're still seeing several a day makes me wonder if some of these aren't genuine.

If stupidity qualifies as "inappropriate" in your mind then I'd say go for it. Here's all that Amazon suggests when you click "Report this" on a review:

Report this content as inappropriate on the site:

If you find this content inappropriate and think it should be removed from the Amazon.com site, let us know by clicking the button below. This information will be sent to Amazon.com and we will take appropriate action.

I'm pretty sure they had obscenities and such in mind when they put this there. But an obscenely stupid review? I could buy that.