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Amazon Blocks Arch Linux Handbook Author From Releasing Kindle Version

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the sharing-isn't-an-amazon-value dept.

DRM 242

An anonymous reader writes "We've all heard the horror stories of Amazon swindling the user out of their content on the Kindle, but this time they've managed to do it preemptively: by blocking the GFDL licensed Arch Linux Handbook from the Kindle Store." Reasons include: "We’ve reviewed the information you provided and have decided to block these books from being sold in the Kindle Store. The books closely match content that is freely available on the web and we are not confident that you hold exclusive publishing rights. This type of content can create a poor customer experience, and is not accepted. As a result, we have blocked the books listed below from being sold in the Kindle Store." The workaround: he uploaded a mobi copy to the Arch website.

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What the hell? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294779)

This summary is confusing! Who is 'he'? When did this happen and who exactly is involved?

I do not know why this appear on Slashdot !! (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295685)

This is not an Amazon vs Linux case

It's a case of Amazon refusing to sell a "book" that was essentially written by a community, that can be gotten online for free (it's wiki stuffs).

And that "author" of that "book" happens to be a "packager", not an "author" in the truest sense.

I dunno what's going on with Slashdot lately.

Truly, I don't !! And I've been visiting Slashdot for a long-long-time !

Re:I do not know why this appear on Slashdot !! (3, Interesting)

humanrev (2606607) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296093)

I dunno what's going on with Slashdot lately.

The people running Slashdot are trolls, examples of the worst characteristics of journalism that we see many times elsewhere but can't understand why such behavior exists on a site supposedly for geeks (who we've been conditioned to believe are smarter than everyone else). They know that a Linux vs multinational corporation story (no matter how baselesss and inaccurate it is) will pull the emotional strings of people who see the existence of Linux as a fight against the "man".

Why do you think those multiple "Linux desktop is dead" stories which were posted here in the last few weeks garnered so many comments? I find it interesting that ArsTechnica has not posted a SINGLE story regarding this supposedly controversial issue. Maybe because they already know the Linux desktop is dead and don't see the point in beating a dead horse, I dunno. But Slashdot is ripe with people believing that phantom possibility so it gets posted here. And people eat it all up. So the folks running this place keep posting such stories because we're all idiots. :)

Re:I do not know why this appear on Slashdot !! (5, Informative)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296193)

Agree with your point. I've been spending more time at Ars lately, less here. Overall quality @ /. (stories and posts) is on a downtrend, IMHO.

Re:I do not know why this appear on Slashdot !! (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296211)

I come to Ars more and more Because of the quality of the stories there. I think the Firehose on Slashdot was a bad idea. The editors should pick the stories, not the readers.

Re:I do not know why this appear on Slashdot !! (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296347)

Nailed it. It is ridiculous.

Re:I do not know why this appear on Slashdot !! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41296107)

Amazon has also been under a lot of pressure to clean up the mountains of garbage that gets bundled up from online resources and sold in their bookstore as actual books. People will try just about any shady thing to make $3.

I have no doubt that this particular reference is good enough to be called a book. And I imagine the guy had to do some work to prep it for Amazon. I am not, however, surprised by this.

Re:I do not know why this appear on Slashdot !! (2)

McFadden (809368) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296283)

Replying to revert moderation - accidentally slipped with the mouse and modded you flamebait.

hi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294797)

Sup

Re:hi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295419)

Word.

Not unreasonable. (4, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294817)

TBH I don't think Amazon is being that unreasonable. They've a right to ensure that people enjoy using their site, and their site would be less enjoyable if I had to wade through a bunch of content that is otherwise very easy to find on the rest of the web. Such as his website.

That isn't to say his book doesn't have some original content, but it likely doesn't have a lot of it when it comes down to it and when you start being super inclusive you can really flood the market place with a lot of low quality products.

Does this suck for him? Yes I'm sure it does, but there are plenty of sites out there dedicated to proving hosting to free books.

Re:Not unreasonable. (5, Interesting)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294873)

Agreed. Not that long ago I was reading (on Slashdot) about the scourge of 'authors' that do nothing but spam the Kindle store with content they trawl from the web, and how Amazon desperately needed to crack down. Damned if you do...

Re:Not unreasonable. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294911)

Plus one.

Remember the 1984 incident ? The "author" of the ebook didn't have the rights.
To make it right, the unauthorized 1984 disappeared from kindles.

It hurt trust in amazon.

They seem to be reasonable here.

Re:Not unreasonable. (1, Interesting)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295269)

You are shitting me right? It was published legally in Canada.

Next, you're going to tell me the publishers of Romeo and Juliet are all illegal.

Oh, wait, you mean all the laws are supposed to be compliant to US laws. That is why you guys are so worried about the UN taking over right?

Re:Not unreasonable. (4, Insightful)

milkmage (795746) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295349)

legally published in Canada means what to electronic distribution in the US (seriously). ... and Romeo and Juliet is in the Public Domain, 1984 - not. (http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/j-r-r-tolkien-george-orwell-removed-from-public-domain_b45725)

and it's not "you guys".. just one fucked up judge (maybe a couple more we don't know about) in Texas thought the UN was going to invade - we're really really sorry about that.

Re:Not unreasonable. (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295613)

You are shitting me right? It was published legally in Canada.

Next, you're going to tell me the publishers of Romeo and Juliet are all illegal.

Oh, wait, you mean all the laws are supposed to be compliant to US laws. That is why you guys are so worried about the UN taking over right?

We're not worried about the UN taking over because it isn't going to happen. One person trying to sell copies of another person's book does happen, though. Enjoy: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=amazon+1984+incident [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Not unreasonable. (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296349)

you should double check your lmgtfy link - the first page is full of people talking about amazon's kill switch and nothing about the author issue. Also, you should note that I never claimed the author who packaged it for distribution in Canada is the real author. All I said was that it was published legally in Canada (because the copyright expired in Canada).

He's not even the author (5, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294913)

Summary incorrectly states that he's the author. He only did some editing, the content was written by the community.

Re:He's not even the author (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295169)

Exactly. He at most, packaged the wiki, no doubt cleaning some things up a bit along the way.

B&N has a similar self-publish program called Pubit.
When it was first introduced it was flooded with ebooks that were merely a couple paragraphs of wrapper around public domain books. I saw one such pubit book that still has the Project Gutenberg trailers attached.

B&N, and I suspect Amazon, has since modified the TOS to require that the "authors" at least hold the copyright to the vast majority of the submitted work.

The GFDL does allow him to do what he did. But Amazon doesn't have to be a party to this sort of thing.

They told him exactly why they rejected it:

The books closely match content that is freely available on the web and we are not confident that you hold exclusive publishing rights. This type of content can create a poor customer experience, and is not accepted.

Exclusive publishing rights. Just like B&N, they want their program to be something more than simple wrappers around public domain content.
That's their choice. He has other alternatives for distribution, and has decided to GIVE it away.

Re:He's not even the author (4, Interesting)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295561)

B&N, and I suspect Amazon, has since modified the TOS to require that the "authors" at least hold the copyright to the vast majority of the submitted work.

The GFDL does allow him to do what he did. But Amazon doesn't have to be a party to this sort of thing.

I wonder, then: Should Shakespeare's work be allowed in the Kindle store? Nobody holds exclusive publishing rights, and it's freely available on the web [gutenberg.org] .

Re:He's not even the author (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295875)

They make an explicit exception for public domain, so yes, it would be allowed.

Re:He's not even the author (4, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295803)

Exclusive publishing rights. Just like B&N, they want their program to be something more than simple wrappers around public domain content.
That's their choice. He has other alternatives for distribution, and has decided to GIVE it away.

This particular case has a lot of features that will make people sympathize more with Amazon and less with the author. But there are many other cases where the facts are different. As an example, I'm the author of some math and physics books [lightandmatter.com] that are licensed under CC-BY-SA, free in LaTeX, PDF, and HTML formats, and also available in print. I'm essentially the sole author, although I do have material in the books such as photos from wikimedia commons. I basically operate on a nonprofit basis, but I do have significant webhosting expenses. (The PDF files are a lot of megabytes, and a lot of people download them, so I can't use el cheapo webhosts.) I don't mind making a few bucks here and there to offset those expenses. I looked into selling my books on amazon for, say, $0.99, in kindle format. Well, one thing I immediately learned is that ebook formats and readers don't have good enough support for math to do a good job on books with a lot of math in them. But anyway, there were also two showstoppers: (1) amazon requires exclusivity, and (2) this: "You must set your Digital Book's List Price (and change it from time-to-time if necessary) so that it is no higher than the list price in any sales channel for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book." So for a book that is free in any format, amazon is not an option. OK, you don't have to cue the world's smallest violin. It's not a huge tragedy for me that I can't sell on amazon. But slashdotters might find that the facts of my situation evoke a different feeling in their fuzzy little free-information-loving hearts than the facts of the one in TFA.

Yes, it's also true that in a free-enterprise system, we don't expect to be able to tell a company that they have any moral or legal duty to sell a product that they don't want to sell. However, it's worth bearing in mind that amazon is very close to being a monopolist in the ebook business. If someone held a monopoly on paper, we probably would be a little concerned if they started refusing to sell various broad categories of books.

Re:He's not even the author (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295891)

It seems there is a misunderstanding about those two terms you quoted.

If the first is true, but second would be unnecessary.

If the second is true then the can not be insisting on exclusivity.

Further, a free download is not a sales channel. So number two may not apply. That would be like saying if you ever once give away a copy you must forever give it away on Amazon.

Re:He's not even the author (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296367)

Amazon does not require exclusivity...

Re:He's not even the author (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295871)

They actually document this in KDP FAQ [amazon.com] as well, so he should have known in advance:

Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content

Some types of content, such as public domain content, may be free to use by anyone, or may be licensed for use by more than one party. We will not accept content that is freely available on the web unless you are the copyright owner of that content. For example, if you received your book content from a source that allows you and others to re-distribute it, and the content is freely available on the web, we will not accept it for sale on the Kindle store. We do accept public domain content, however we may choose to not sell a public domain book if its content is undifferentiated or barely differentiated from one or more other books.

Re:Not unreasonable. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294937)

Are you serious?

More importantly (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294991)

Nothing stops someone from sideloading books onto their Kindle. Amazon does indeed have a right to decide what they will or will not sell in their own store, as long as Kindle users have other options -- which they have. I see little to take issue with here.

Re:More importantly (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295311)

Well, you could take issue with the perfectly HORRIBLE job of conversion to mobi that he did.
Find the download a the end of his rant. Compare it to the on-line wiki that he sourced.

Pathetic.

Re:More importantly (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295389)

They even provide an email address for users to send content to their device. I use it for Mobi books all the time!

Re:More importantly (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295901)

The neat trick with those Kindle email addresses is that at some point, they've changed it from merely pushing the book directly to your device, they push the book to their "Kindle cloud" first, and from there to the device. If you only have one Kindle (and I'm being inclusive here and counting all devices that run the Kindle app), the only difference that makes is that it'll show up in "Archived Items", and you'll be able to re-download it if you deleted it.

However, when you have more than one device, not only you can get the book onto all of them like that, but it also enables the cloud sync feature for current position, bookmarks, notes etc that normally work for books you get from Kindle Store. Which is very useful when e.g. you read from a full-size Kindle at home, but occasionally also want to continue reading from where you left off on your smartphone - say, while waiting in a queue somewhere. This doesn't work on all platforms Kindle app is available on, but it does work on all their devices, on iOS, and on Android - which probably covers 99% of their userbase.

In fact, you can just get Kindle app and ignore their store altogether, only using your Amazon account to set up sync for your books.

Re:More importantly (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295945)

Completely correct and is exactly the experience I enjoy! However on a darker side I cannot help but think that Amazon now knows all of my reading habits and just exactly how fast I read any particular book....

Re:More importantly (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296023)

Well, I have "Mein Kampf", "Das Kapital" and Breivik's "Manifesto" on mine, among other things. Given that the Feds haven't knocked my door down yet, I figure they aren't really interested much.

Re:More importantly (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295999)

Nook did that from day 1...

And supported ePub natively

And allowed 1 two-week lend to 1 other device

And could be used with overdrive, which is the craptastic way libraries are dealing with ebooks

And had a neat gimmick to transition away from the blackberry "take up half the space with a crappy keyboard" paradigm *.

* in practice, this didn't work so great the first iteration, but fortunately you only need to type in stuff every few hundred pages (the next book you want..)

And yet people continue to talk about the kindle like it's the only eReader out there. That is the real danger.

Re:More importantly (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296017)

Nook does not sync current position in the book between their device and the app (at least on Android). At least it didn't last time I tried it, which was a couple month ago when GlowTouch was released.

Re:Not unreasonable. (4, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295305)

They've a right to ensure that people enjoy using their site, and their site would be less enjoyable if I had to wade through a bunch of content that is otherwise very easy to find on the rest of the web.

Good lord, have you seen some of the crap in the Kindle store? Lots of poorly written stuff that badly needs an editor. And there are titles carefully chosen to make people buy them by mistake.

This is not about content quality. They just don't want people selling content that they can get for free elsewhere — bad customer relations.

(Or is it? Back in 2006, I co-wrote a book [amazon.com] for Sun Microsystems. I was well-paid for this work, and I wasn't expecting royalties, but for some strange reason I got them, showing that the book sold reasonably well, despite being available online [oracle.com] before the book came out.)

Now, Amazon has every right to do this. But that's just the problem: the Kindle platform is another walled garden. Just as I don't like Steve Jobs telling me I can't have lame iPhone apps [juggleware.com] , I don't like Jeff Bezos telling me I can't buy lame books. The fact that the app or book is lame is besides the point. The central control is the problem.

If I ever become a sufficiently popular author so that people want to by ebooks written by me (unlikely, alas) I will make sure they're available in portable formats, such as EPub/Adobe. I won't try to prevent them from being available in Kindle format, but I won't stand for an exclusive release,.

Unless, of course, the Kindle starts supporting open formats.

Re:Not unreasonable. (2)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295407)

Kindle supports PDF, Mobi, and other formats. Calibre will convert between them and easily allow you to email them to your Kindle. I have no issues sideloading books to my Kindle or my Kindle app on 3 different devices...

Re:Not unreasonable. (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295585)

Yes, you can read all kinds of unprotected files on Kindle. But if you want to buy books on Kindle, you have to go through Amazon.

Whatever one's feelings on DRM, the fact is that 99% of all ebooks available for purchase are DRM protected. If you can make a go of it selling DRM-free books (Pragmatic Bookshelf seems to do OK) good for you, but most publishers will only release titles in a DRM-protected format.

Now, there are two dominant formats for DRM-protected books. There's the Kindle format, which is only supported by Amazon. Then there's the EPub format with Adobe DRM, which is supported by every popular ebook reader except Kindle.

Briefly put, the Kindle ecosystem is a closed garden, the EPUB/Adobe ecosystem is not, and unprotected formats are not a part of either.

I'm aware that people mostly don't mind depending on a closed garden. The popularity of iOS devices and the Kindle demonstrate that. And that indifference to corporate control over their content is precisely what bothers me.

Re:Not unreasonable. (4, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295935)

Whatever one's feelings on DRM, the fact is that 99% of all ebooks in English available for purchase are DRM protected.

FTFY. Luckily for me, for my native language I have a fully legit online store where all books are DRM-free, and are provided in a dozen formats for all imaginable book readers (they even package them up as J2ME midlets for feature phones), including Mobi. What more, they even have a special version of their website that you get redirected to if you open it in Kindle web browser.

Then there's the EPub format with Adobe DRM, which is supported by every popular ebook reader except Kindle.

And iBooks. Which is probably the second most popular reader after Kindle right now.

Then again, it doesn't really matter for someone who reads Slashdot, since Kindle DRM has been circumvented a long time ago, and there are single-click tools to handle it now (IIRC there was one integrated with Calibre, even).

Re:Not unreasonable. (1)

EGSonikku (519478) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296097)

iBooks uses ePub (as well as PDF).

Re:Not unreasonable. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296141)

Yes, it does, but it uses its own DRM scheme, which is incompatible with Adobe's. So you cannot buy DRM'd ePub books elsewhere and read it with iBooks. The other way around is even worse - there's no other app on any platform (not even on OS X) that can open DRM'd iBooks books.

Re:Not unreasonable. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295415)

Note that you can buy "No Safe Harbor" for $9.99 at Amazon (this will support the cause!) while also download it for free at the dedicated No Safe Harbor website [nosafeharbor.com] . So it's not that the availability "for free" per se it's an issue.

Re:Not unreasonable. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295855)

Someone in the comments to that blog post actually referenced the relevant bit from Amazon publishing guidelines:

Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content

Some types of content, such as public domain content, may be free to use by anyone, or may be licensed for use by more than one party. We will not accept content that is freely available on the web unless you are the copyright owner of that content. For example, if you received your book content from a source that allows you and others to re-distribute it, and the content is freely available on the web, we will not accept it for sale on the Kindle store. We do accept public domain content, however we may choose to not sell a public domain book if its content is undifferentiated or barely differentiated from one or more other books.

So it looks like they have already considered it (at least enough so to distinguish between public domain and various free licenses), and decided that it's not worth the bother for them - perhaps because they have estimated that the likelihood of getting involved in some lawsuit over that content, like Apple almost did with VLC for iOS, is too high?

Good - Trying to block spam (5, Interesting)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294821)

There is all kinds of spam in these bookstores. People go out and grab open licenced content and then package it as an ebook and try to sell it for $0.99 You wind up with 20 ebooks for The Tale of Two Cities listed in catagories like romance or science fiction. Makes the new release section a joke. On B&N there was once a problem where a publisher was selling machine generated books sourced from wikipedia.

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294979)

What about the people who would rather buy a copy, as opposed to using a search engine? They are a big market to capture. its not about the customer, its about the target consumer.

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (4, Informative)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295213)

They allowed it at first. But spammers ruined it. Amazon is perfectly happy hosting one copy of Arch Linux Handbook. They simply don't want to host 25 versions of it. So they require that you prove you are the only one permitted to publish the book. They don't want each contributor to the book selling their own version on Amazon. They also don't want spammers who have nothing to do with the book selling it on Amazon. They also had issues where spammers would add Advertisements into the book. You might get past chapter one and then find an add for a penny stock. They had search engine optimization firms putting links into public domain books to effect search results. Lots of returns and angry phone calls later we have this policy.

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295753)

But there isn't any single person who's the only one permitted to publish the book. So if the optimum is to have a single copy of the Arch Linux Handbook on Amazon ... how do we get there? Does Amazon look for GFDL books themselves, and put up a single copy of each for free?

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295323)

The Consumer IS the Customer, so I'm totally confused as to what your point was.

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295533)

Consumers consume, customers custom. The first consumes, the second customs. For clarification:

Consume: To expend; use up

Custom: A habitual practice

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295821)

Moreover, the two denote a different set of relationships in economics:

X is a customer - she makes it her customary practice to do business with Y. If she stops liking the way Y does business, she can change her practice. This name for a person making purchases does not presume much. For example, it doesn't assume that X shops where she does from habit - she may have carefully analysed the market and be ready to switch very quickly, or may have considerable mental inertia (buying habits), but Y does not know.

X is a consumer - X is the end user for the product or service. Even though our Ms. X is overwhelmingly likely to have gained the money to pay for that good in her role as a producer or agent of a producer, Y gets to ignore that, go Galt, and feel all virtuous and superior in his relationship with X. Y labels himself as the Producer, and his customers as Consumers, as though these relationships hold invariably. This leads to business who would claim that they are the Producer who just got a government bailout funded largely by the Consumers. (as Rand would say "Blank Out.").

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295497)

This is free material, so what does buying or markets have anything to do with it? The only real question is whether Amazon is willing to host the information or not.

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (2)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295495)

There is all kinds of spam in these bookstores. People go out and grab open licenced content and then package it as an ebook and try to sell it for $0.99.

Except that isn't what what the author was actually doing. From TFA:

"I have had a handful of requests that the Arch Linux Handbook be made available for the Kindle platform. It seemed like an odd request, given that the latest version of the Beginners’ Guide is already freely available in electronic format online. However, I had some free time this week and tried the conversion. It wasn’t difficult and I uploaded a version of the Handbook to the Kindle app store"

This seems entirely reasonable, and absolutely nothing like the spamming you describe. And it was fully compatible with the license on the material, which is specifically intended to facilitate exactly this kind of use. So why was Amazon equating the two?

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295575)

Sure, but how does Amazon identify who is a spammer and who is isn't? Anyone can do what he did. Anyone can go to his site and copy paste the contents into an ebook. How do they pick what contributor of a wiki gets to sell a book in their store? They only want one copy for sale.

we are not confident that you hold exclusive publishing rights

Seems like Amazon wasn't sure he was the author.

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (2)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295743)

"I have had a handful of requests that the Arch Linux Handbook be made available for the Kindle platform. It seemed like an odd request, given that the latest version of the Beginnersâ(TM) Guide is already freely available in electronic format online. However, I had some free time this week and tried the conversion. It wasnâ(TM)t difficult and I uploaded a version of the Handbook to the Kindle app store" This seems entirely reasonable, and absolutely nothing like the spamming you describe.

It is exactly the same as many "Kindle spammers" do. Copy slabs of text from a wiki, Project Gutenberg, wherever, convert to Kindle format (quick and dirty), upload to Amazon, write a description that entices the reader to buy it (the only creative part of the process), sell for 99 cents.

Amazon seems to search for the text online and found it. Quite likely actually a bunch of real spammers had already tried to upload exactly the same text earlier and been blocked.

Re:Good - Trying to block spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295519)

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VDM_Verlag#Wikipedia_content_duplication [wikipedia.org] for example. Who would want to pay between 40 and 140 bucks for a book that consists of only a couple of copied and sometimes badly formatted Wikipedia articles, while you could just as well use Wikipedia's official book printing service [wikipedia.org] ? Using that service, the books look better, are cheaper and Wikipedia gets a few bucks out of every purchase. Amazon.com already removed those books from its store while the search results on amazon.de are still clogged up by tens of thousands of those crappy overpriced print-on-demand books.

bad link (1)

shadesOG (2457562) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294837)

The last link to the mobi version is incorrect.

Re:bad link (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294989)

No big deal. No one wants this fag book anyway.

Re:bad link (1)

Nostrada (208820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295353)

Someone wanna fix this?

ur link doenst work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294839)

subject says it

So fucking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294841)

Amazon is saying they don't want to chance being sued over questionable content. Is this a problem? Unlike most of the anti-IP people here, Amazon deals with a harsh legal reality in relation to what they distribute.
 
Thank god someone out there is displaying common sense on these matters.

Arch Linux (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294893)

Ah yes, Arch Linux, the operating system where people brag about their superiority even though it comes down to copy/pasting commands from a wiki [archlinux.org] without understanding what the hell they even do. Who woulda thunk that the first published book is just a copy/paste of other people's work?

Re:Arch Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295405)

u sound like a gentoo ricer !

u mad ?

All he had to do... (2)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294917)

... was document that he held the copyright or that he had permission to publish it.

This is standard procedure actually. You have to show that you hold the copyright or they won't publish it. I published a book for an author of a book that's been on the web for years. He (the author) had to fully document that he wrote it or they would have pulled the book -- despite the fact that we had a contract agreement that I was supposed to publish it. They insisted that only the copyright holder can publish under the model we had selected and they made him document it. That policy actually makes sense. There's like 6,000 copies of most public domain books, most of which are easier to read or better formatted for the web.

How is this swindling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295085)

First of all, the content isn't paid, so I am not sure how you can "swindle" users or authors. Nobody has been tricked here. Secondly, blocking the book for sale doesn't "swindle" the author either, it simply removes one publishing option. Given that the book is free anyway, he can post it wherever he wants. It's not like Kindles can't still read it. If there is super demand for it, perhaps Amazon will change their mind - doubtful, though.

Who cares? Kindle Blows! IPHONE 5 HAS QUAD CORES (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295107)

and 2 GB of DRAM. Storage is 64 GB or 32 GB on some carriers. How do I know? I know because I am, heh, you almost got me there.

Re:Who cares? Kindle Blows! IPHONE 5 HAS QUAD CORE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295237)

The iphone 5 also has a Kindle app. So does the Ipad. So does the mac.

Re:Who cares? Kindle Blows! IPHONE 5 HAS QUAD CORE (4, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295327)

True. But you still can't sit in the sunshine and read a book on it.

Re:Who cares? Kindle Blows! IPHONE 5 HAS QUAD CORE (0)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295437)

I own a Kindle, an iPad, and an iPhone. I haven't turned on my Kindle in months and instead mostly use my iPhone and to a lesser extent my iPad to read content. I swore this would NEVER be the case because epaper was SO good and that a backlit screen would be difficult to use in many situations. Turns out that's not true and since I have my phone with me ALL the time and the Kindle almost never the phone turns out to be the predominant device I use.

Re:Who cares? Kindle Blows! IPHONE 5 HAS QUAD CORE (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295949)

I use my iPhone outside all the time--I have it mounted to my bike as a bike-computer. If I ride at the wrong time--say, 1 o'clock or so--the sun makes it unreadable unless I futz with the angle.

But it's a worthwhile point--much like cameras, the best e-reader is the one that you have with you.

Re:Who cares? Kindle Blows! IPHONE 5 HAS QUAD CORE (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296205)

guess I am too old (at age 33) to read something substantial on a tiny screen

back when the PDA rage was going on, yea no problem, I could sit there and stare at it all day, not anymore, me need large screen!

Was he trying to sell the Kindle version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295143)

I can't find anywhere that it says he was publishing them as FREE Kindle downloads. I understand it doesn't make any sense that he would try to actually sell the documentation that he has already published under the GFDL, but it would explain why Amazon blocked it's addition to the Kindle store if that were the case, no?

Re:Was he trying to sell the Kindle version? (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295307)

Amazon doesn't allow you to sell your book free. The minimum price is $0.99. They want a cut of the sales. 30% of free is $0.00. They don't want to lose money on your free book. I think they allow promotions for a limited time.

Re:Was he trying to sell the Kindle version? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296213)

aye, bandwidth and space are stupid dirt cheap, but that isn't free

IF they did, there would be an onslaught of free books from everyone who wanted to write that great novel, and the host is stuck with the bill

Don't be conned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295177)

I do wish Slashdot wouldn't be conned by authors who simply use this website as a way of publicising their books. There was a discussion on this very point not so long ago.

I've posted two books on Kindle, and both were approved within hours. That time was probably taken to check on anything that was wrong in the mark-up of the content. Do you really think Amazon is going to spent 3 hours parsing various websites to see if any content has been stolen or misappropriated? Of course not. The author just wants free publicity.

Re:Don't be conned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295667)

On an average day between 40-80% of front-page articles on /. are self-promotional, often pseudonymously (loved the one last week where the submitter's email link was "whyshouldigiveyoumyemail.com"). And most of the rest are some bozo copy-and-pasting. Plus five percent disinformation or trolling.

Are they gonna block love books (0, Troll)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295197)

plenty of free porn out there.

Re:Are they gonna block love books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295385)

You can't tell the difference between love and porn?

Hope you never meet anyone I care about.

Re:Are they gonna block love books (1, Funny)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295461)

You can't tell the difference between love and porn?

Hope you never meet anyone I care about.

too late my son.

Re:Are they gonna block love books (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295543)

Well played, sir!

RATS in your hands and pockets! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295281)

i consider all electronic devices with batteries you cannot remove mobile spy platforms, off or on. screw them all.

Re:RATS in your hands and pockets! (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295853)

I never met a device with batteries I couldn't remove. Just ignore the warning it contains no user serviceable parts. On the other hand, if it bricks when you give it that treatment, don't buy it.

Too Many Hephaestus/Content Scrapped Listings (4, Interesting)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295319)

Good! Amazon has recently suffered from a severe problem in that companies like Hephaestus Press [lawrenceperson.com] and Webster’s Digital Services [lawrenceperson.com] have created "books" out of scraping public domain content like Wikipedia and slapping them between two covers (or digital equivalent thereof) and putting deceptive titles on them. For example, Hephaestus published the book Novels By Jerry Pournelle, including: The Legacy Of Heorot, The Mote In God’s Eye, The Gripping Hand, Footfall, Inferno (novel), Fallen Angels Starswarm, which looks like an omnibus edition, but which is actually scrapped Wikipedia content.

Sounds like they're finally cracking down on this practice, which is a good thing.

Re:Too Many Hephaestus/Content Scrapped Listings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295555)

Others like that (VDM Publishing imprints, Books LLC, etc..) were also removed from amazon.com.

Amazon.de on the other hand seems to have no intention to remove them. The only reaction I and others have gotten is "Thanks for contacting us about our website, we'll look into it"... All the while their search results are still clogged up by tens of thousands of crappy overpriced print-on-demand collections of Wikipedia articles.

DRM is the problem? (4, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295343)

Some comments on the linked-to site question whether it's even allowable for Amazon to make the content available as a DRM encumbered Kindle eBook, because of this clause in the GFDL:

You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute.

Amazon doesn't make you use DRM (3, Informative)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295517)

DRM is optional for Kindle books sold on Amazon. They do not require it's use; it's up to the Author.

Re:Amazon doesn't make you use DRM (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295637)

DRM is optional for Kindle books sold on Amazon. They do not require it's use; it's up to the Author.

Is a DRM-free .azw file the same as a .mobi file or will it only work on a Kindle?

Re:Amazon doesn't make you use DRM (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295781)

Is a DRM-free .azw file the same as a .mobi file or will it only work on a Kindle?

I think you can just rename it to .mobi and mobi readers can then read it.

Re:Amazon doesn't make you use DRM (0)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296157)

Is a DRM-free .azw file the same as a .mobi file or will it only work on a Kindle?

I think you can just rename it to .mobi and mobi readers can then read it.

Rename? You mean I have to alter the file before I can read it on another eBook reader? Sounds like a "technical measure to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute."

Re:Amazon doesn't make you use DRM (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296263)

I don't know if you're being sarcastic, but I'll take it at face value.

As far as I know ".azw" files are in MOBI format. Encrypted ones can only be read by Amazon software with the password. Probably generic MOBI readers can read unencrypted ones, but may need to be persuaded to try if it has a different extension.

Also Amazon has recently updated their format, adding some features, so older MOBI readers might not read them properly, though they should still display the text, if not formatting such as tables correctly.

Not it being freely available, but *licensing*? (4, Informative)

WolphFang (1077109) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295383)

Yes, I am sure it is *not* the fact that his content was free elsewhere, but more likely the weak association with the rights of the work. I have two books published in KF8 format, (http://goo.gl/DkR4T) and (http://goo.gl/r6oDN), both also available as free non-KF8 epub/pdf downloads, and Amazon sent me a query as to the RIGHTS as (using some automated system I presume) they detected that the content was available elsewhere for free. I responded appropriately, as the primary copyright holder, and my material has remained published accordingly. And for those worried about GPL, etc, content, as the author, you can specify NO DRM!

Slightly off-topic, but speaking of Amazon books (0)

davide marney (231845) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295521)

The licensing deal for ebooks licensed through Amazon is really very bad for consumers. You can pay more for an ebook than for a physical book, even one sold on Amazon. To lend a book to someone, you have to give up that person's email address to Amazon. (What other retailer has such a privacy-cringing requirement? Hey, you bought that sweater and want to lend it to your brother? Let's have that email address, first, buddy.) And, they can read it only for two weeks. And, you can lend it only once!

This is a spectacularly bad deal, far worse than the DRM on music ever was.

I refuse to buy any more ebooks from Amazon until the deal improves. Even if Amazon itself may not be responsible for this crazy restrictive license, it enables it, and consumers shouldn't just stand there and take it.

Lend you ereader not your ebook (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295617)

Or you could just lend your brother your kindle. Then he can read your books without doing all of the above. Also DRM is optional on Amazon.(the author chooses if DRM is used)

Re:Slightly off-topic, but speaking of Amazon book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41295899)

The rootkits on music CDs that could damage your CD drive were worse then this?

Just like any other publisher (3, Informative)

kriston (7886) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295631)

Just like any other publisher, Amazon does not want to dilute the value of its market offerings by reselling content that is available freely elsewhere.

Note that this does not stop Barnes & Noble Nook store from providing compilations of public-domain works. The downloadable products do say that they are freely available from Project Guutenberg or otherwise, but the easy access to a collection of 20 or 50 works at $0.99 is an undeniable value.

Too bad that this author couldn't spin it that way, because most of these public-domain compilations are available on the Kindle, too.

Rapidly Diminishing Returns (3, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295721)

Not much value when there are hundreds of people creating compilations of public-domain works because they purchased a $.99 book titled "How to make a fortune selling books on Amazon! $$$". These bookstores just need to sign a deal with Project Guutenberg and integrate the free stuff into a free section of the store.

Where to get .mobi or .epub computer books? (1)

tadas (34825) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295919)

Most free programming/systems administrator/etc. free books seem to be available only as PDF, which is pretty much unusable on a Kindle.

Does the Slashdot hive mind know of any sources for free computer books suitable for a Kindle or Nook (Calibre solves the epub to mobi problem)?

Re:Where to get .mobi or .epub computer books? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41296063)

Google: bookname mobi

or bookname epub

Re:Where to get .mobi or .epub computer books? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296237)

Calibre can also turn PDF into something else. It works well with texts but I don't know what it does with pictures.

Kindle "Publishing" already has a lot of 'free' (3, Informative)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 2 years ago | (#41296355)

Amazon theoretically pays royalties of 35 to 70 percent of the retail price of their Kindle e-books to the copyright holder. However, what is not perhaps so widely known is the 'Amazon Gotcha' which is: "As the publisher, you (the author) set the "list price" for your content. Amazon.com reserves the right to set the retail price at our sole discretion. See the Pricing Page and Terms and Conditions for information on how royalties are calculated. Please note, We reserve the right to set the retail price we charge for the books you provide to us. We may offer your book at a price below your list price if, for example, the price at which a competitor sells your book, or the price at which we sell a physical edition of your book is lower than your list price. In that case, if you chose the 70% royalty option, your royalties will be calculated off of this offer price for sales that qualify for the 70% royalty option. If you chose the 35% royalty option, you will be paid off of the original list price you chose.

What does this mean? Amazon can set the price at anything they want to, including "zero." Guess what 70 percent of zero is? So...when Amazon is restricting content as TFA refers to, by claiming that the content is already 'freely available on the web' they are dissembling since a goodly portion of their kindle store is already 'free.' The main reason for Amazon's action is more likely embodied in the Amazon statement "we are not confident that you hold exclusive publishing rights." Amazon is happy to sell content for free because it builds their Kindle brand but they don't want there to be any chance of a copyright violation coming back to them as a costly claim.

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