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Permlink Replies: 134 - Pages: 9 [ 1 2 3 4 5 | Next ] - Last Post: Aug 15, 2011 8:40 AM Last Post By: notjohn
john_book_guy

Posts: 48
Registered: 03/18/09
The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 1, 2011 9:04 PM
 
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About the new public domain book policy at the Kindle store. I do raise an eyebrow at the fact that I have been given a five day warning before the store I have been building since September of 2009 is going to be demolished. This, and then I am told that if I have questions, I can send an email, but to expect at least seven days for a reply. Am I wrong at thinking this a little heavy handed on the part of Amazon?

I have about 130 or so books that I've been selling at the Kindle store. About 110 of them are pure public domain books, most of which are in much better formatting shape than the awful, scanned in, free versions. Now I can go through my titles and make many of them unique as your mention in the email. You might even say that they are unique because they were formatted uniquely by me... hmm... In any case, I can make many more of them unique, but it will take more than 5 days. It might take me a month if I didn't have much else to do with my time.

What I am getting at is that I am asking for more time on the clock...please. And I would also like to have a little more guidance on what is necessary for Amazon, it's customers and vendors like me to all have a win, win, win situation here.

Thanks!

Matthew Vossler

hardwarehero

Posts: 1,630
Registered: 02/15/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 1, 2011 11:48 PM   in response to: john_book_guy in response to: john_book_guy
 
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Hey Matt,

I presume that more than half of the big publishers on KDP (by numbers of titles) will face the same problem. If Amazon pulls that through as indicated I would guess that around 40-45% of the titles vanish in haze. This might not have a big impact in the US because all major publishers with their top-sellers are on board but it will hurt them bigtime in their European business. I know that publishers in the EU are not willing to go aboard yet and if Seattle kills that many SKUs, their current customers' perception and their portfolio will go down the drain vs. Apple and other competitors. Especially today when Apple killed the Sony app for their gadgets and is likely to through the Kindle app through the windows soon, too.

Best, Juergen
informandenligh...

Posts: 84
Registered: 03/16/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 1:40 AM   in response to: john_book_guy in response to: john_book_guy
 
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Matthew

Would you give a link to where this new policy is?

I have done a searchof the site and all I can see is on pricing policy "70% Royalty Option is not available for Digital Books that consist primarily of public domain content" and that document is dated January 21, 2011.

I am working on annotations, detailed notes and a glossary on a public domain document that I have been researching for the past few weeks and which I wanted to put up on Kindle.
notjohn

Posts: 15,241
Registered: 01/06/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 2:14 AM   in response to: hardwarehero in response to: hardwarehero
 
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I don't wish anyone ill, and I certainly admire the work people have done to get their PD titles aboard, but I for one will be delighted to see the jungle cut back. Just do a search for Jane Austen or Conan Doyle or Marcel Proust, and see what comes up. Worse, Amazon has conflated some of these obsolete translations of other-language classics with legitimate new ones, even linking the Kindle PD translation to the hardcover or paperback new one.
hardwarehero

Posts: 1,630
Registered: 02/15/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 2:24 AM   in response to: informandenligh... in response to: informandenligh...
 
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There is no link (yet), all publishers - or maybe only those who deal with PD titles - have got an email on Feb 1. The text is:

Dear Publisher,

We're implementing a new standard policy that improves the customer experience problem caused by multiple, undifferentiated copies of public domain titles in our Kindle catalog.

Our vision is to have high-quality editions of every public domain title in the world available on Kindle, including a free edition of each, and to avoid the confusion that is caused by having a large number of undifferentiated versions.

To protect the customer experience, we will stop accepting and selling duplicate, undifferentiated versions of public domain titles. We will continue to offer differentiated versions, such as unique translations or illustrated versions. Please make sure the titles that are live on your bookshelf adhere to this new policy and that each clearly describes, in the title and description fields, how it is differentiated by February 6, 2011.

**end of citation**

@notjohn, agree with you, at least for the titles that are merely Project Gutenberg copy-and-pastes without description and proper cover.

I will be eager to see how Amazon is doing this weeding out, I mean where are the criteria for #A staying and #B being fired out? Okay, they ride on the quality train, fine, but most of that quality topic is highly subjective and not equally perceived by everybody. Any which way I think there will be a big howling starting Feb 6th;-)

Message was edited by: gamesvogel
john_book_guy

Posts: 48
Registered: 03/18/09
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 5:51 AM   in response to: informandenligh... in response to: informandenligh...
 
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Here is the email I received last night. I don't have a link yet.

Dear Publisher,

We're implementing a new standard policy that improves the customer experience problem caused by multiple, undifferentiated copies of public domain titles in our Kindle catalog.

Our vision is to have high-quality editions of every public domain title in the world available on Kindle, including a free edition of each, and to avoid the confusion that is caused by having a large number of undifferentiated versions.

To protect the customer experience, we will stop accepting and selling duplicate, undifferentiated versions of public domain titles. We will continue to offer differentiated versions, such as unique translations or illustrated versions. Please make sure the titles that are live on your bookshelf adhere to this new policy and that each clearly describes, in the title and description fields, how it is differentiated by February 6, 2011.

If you have further questions, you can write to us at kdp-public-domain@amazon.com. Please allow up to 7 days for a response.

Thank you,

Amazon.com
k0pier

Posts: 312
Registered: 07/28/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 6:22 AM   in response to: john_book_guy in response to: john_book_guy
 
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I suspect that publishers that are proactive will "differentiate" their books. However I agree that 5 days notice is not very professional.
louggle

Posts: 35
Registered: 06/02/09
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 8:40 AM   in response to: john_book_guy in response to: john_book_guy
 
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Well, I could see it getting messy as the email is very vague. How do they address collections/anthologies. Are they undifferentiated from others? Are they going to rid the hundreds of hard copies as well? I wish the email would state EXACTLY what needs to happen for a book to stay in the catalog.
jordal75

Posts: 17
Registered: 07/26/09
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 10:25 AM   in response to: john_book_guy in response to: john_book_guy
 
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The e-mail sent by amazon is extremely vague and worrisome, to say the least. They ask for a description on how the books are differentiated "in the title and description fields"... "by February 6, 2011". My first question is: In what language? Most of my titles are in Spanish. I doubt very much amazon has recruited Spanish speaking personnel to understand "the description". Also, I can only imagine the confusion this will create for the readers whey they see a book in a language other than English with a description in English in the middle of the title and on the description.

Even more, they claim they are willing to keep public domain books as long as they are differentiated such as "original translations" and books with images. To clarify, original translation ARE NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN BOOKS. As a writer and a translator, I very well know how much effort has to go into a translation. It is a task as daunting as writing a book. Books with images my also fall out of the public domain. So if one interprets that e-mail literally, does that mean amazon will stop publishing public domain books?

What if the public domain book you are selling is the only copy being sold? (which is the case for most of my public domain titles). Are they going to remove those as well? Those with multiple copies, do we have to examine the other copies being sold to be able to "differentiate" one from the others'?

I agree that bad copies should be removed, but, in my humble opinion, their claim that customers get "confused" over multiple copies is unfounded; I have never been confused at a bookstore when I see multiple editions of the same book; neither has that happened to me when I have bought books for my kindle. THAT IS WHAT SAMPLING IS FOR! The customer has the freedom to choose whichever s/he likes best.

I grew up in a communist country, and one of the main differences between capitalism and communism I noticed upon arriving to the US was the freedom to choose, the variety, the plenty, THE COMPETITION FOR GOD'S SAKE!
I have no idea where this will lead, but I don't like the taste of it.
notjohn

Posts: 15,241
Registered: 01/06/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 10:43 AM   in response to: jordal75 in response to: jordal75
 
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[i]I doubt very much amazon has recruited Spanish speaking personnel to understand "the description". [/i]

I'm sure that Amazon already has them! This is, for all purposes, a bilingual nation.

No language is supported by the Kindle platform unless Amazon has readers able at least to peruse them to make sure they're what they purport to be. That explains the odd selection of supported languages (Estonian but not Chinese).

[i]one of the main differences between capitalism and communism[/i]

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid did their best to erode those differences over the past four years.
hardwarehero

Posts: 1,630
Registered: 02/15/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 11:11 AM   in response to: notjohn in response to: notjohn
 
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I think the reason for this email being so vague is exactly that: it gives Amazon all the freedom to fire away at will, there is absolutely no clear guideline as to what we publishers could do to stay on board. All PD publishers are prone to their goodwill. I´d say they leave the original PG works in the system, plus maybe the best-selling paid title, in the fiction segment typically a 99er. Any bets against this?
john_book_guy

Posts: 48
Registered: 03/18/09
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 11:16 AM   in response to: notjohn in response to: notjohn
 
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As I've said in other posts, The Chinese are buying Kindle's unofficially in
mainland China, and they have a hankering for books now. There are now over
200 million affluent Chinese there and I am trying to get Amazon to allow
for Chinese to be one of the publishing options. So far no luck. I am pretty
sure at least a few of my books would be very "hot" over there. Maybe the
time is coming, but I'm impatient.

But back to the original thread. Thanks, everyone so far who has posted. It
seems I'm not the only one who is annoyed by this new policy. Amazon, you
listening???
operativewords

Posts: 222
Registered: 11/28/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 3:32 PM   in response to: john_book_guy in response to: john_book_guy
 
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YES YES YES!!!!

As far as differentiating PD works, illustrated versions and translations sound like 99% of the PD possibilities, anthologies still need to be dealt with along with anything else the PD publishers might eventually come up with to "differentiate" their works.

I love this new policy!! Thank you Amazon.

I just hope it's implemented correctly.
k0pier

Posts: 312
Registered: 07/28/10
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 3:45 PM   in response to: operativewords in response to: operativewords
 
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YES YES YES!!!!

As far as differentiating PD works, illustrated
versions and translations sound like 99% of the PD
possibilities, anthologies still need to be dealt
with along with anything else the PD publishers might
eventually come up with to "differentiate" their
works.

I love this new policy!! Thank you Amazon.

I just hope it's implemented correctly.


So I take it you're against people publishing PD works?

I agree it needs to be cleaned up, but I've been less than impressed with Amazon's PD offerings which were all auto formatted.

Many of the .99 PD books I've bought all have far better formatting, better proofing, and many have extra features such as links to external resources, background info on the author/novel, illustrations, and other features.

I hope they aren't going to pull the titles that actually make it better.

And as far as anthologies - I'm for them. The lowest you can price a book is .99. Many anthologies are .99. This means you get the same quality I was talking about above, for pennies on the book.

Now the straight Gutenberg copies (I've even seen some with the PG license still in them) need to be removed, but any of the obviously hand edited and formatted editions - I have no problem with.
maschilluk

Posts: 12
Registered: 02/02/11
Re: The New Public Domain Book Policy
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 3:46 PM   in response to: john_book_guy in response to: john_book_guy
 
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Individuals have only themselves to blame for this new policy - publishing the same public domain books that they already know has been published multiple times and is already available for sale in the Kindle Store.

That's why it's very important to focus on writting and selling original content, then you would not have to worry about public domain books being removed from the Kindle Store.
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