The crux of my problem is that I am publishing a quotes ebook with the quotes being taken from articles in the public domain and Amazon has blocked my ebook by saying it has content freely available on the web.
I am publishing an ebook called 500 Steve Pavlina Quotes that has 500 quotes selected from Steve Pavlina's >1000 articles, Tweets and Google Plus updates. The quotes are arranged in categories like Career and Success, Relationships, Productivity etc.
All of Steve Pavlina's content is in the public domain.
Now, when I tried to publish the ebook, Amazon blocked my book and sent me an email that said that it had found my content freely available on the web and asked me to either list "The URLs for all websites where this content is published" and "explain why the content is available online." or prove that the content is in public domain.
I replied mentioning the blog post in which Steve Pavlina released his content in the public domain. I also mentioned why my own ebook was not in the public domain since US Copyright Law states that "selecting" and "arranging" quotes from public domain content in a way that creates new value is copyrightable. So my work was based on public domain content but not in it.
Amazon replied saying they would block my book as it had content from the web. Period. That's all they repeated in the email.
Could anyone please tell me what I could do? I really believe that:
1) My ebook is definitely a copyrightable new work based on public domain content (I have researched around 1000 articles to get those specific quotes and arrange them in categories)
2) It provides new value not available in the original articles. I am sure many people would love to read the best quotes of a guy sometimes instead of only reading long articles.
What can I do? Feel like I have reached a dead end...
The first is whether you are violating someone's copyright. If the material is in the public domain, then you are not. So you don't need to worry about that.
The second issue is whether Amazon wants to sell it. If I upload a copy of Macbeth, then Amazon probably doesn't want to sell it. I'm no violating anyone's copyright, becaue the author has been dead long enough. But Amazon doesn't want to sell it, because they don't want their customers slogging through hundreds of copies of the exact same book that other people are already either selling or giving away.
If you truly believe that your collection of quotes from this guy has more value than the other collections of quotes that other people want to sell (and they show up here occasionally asking the same question as you), then you need to politely explain why that's the case.
You're not going to get anywhere by arguing that your source material is in the public domain. Whether or not it's legal, Amazon doesn't want it. You need to explain why they want it. Apparently, you already tried that and they said no.
Your best bet, if you want to be an author, is to sit down in front of a blank computer screen and start typing. Surely, you have something interesting to tell the world. And if a few people buy it, you'll make money.
While what you're trying to do is not illegal after all (my apologies!), Amazon won't accept it. However, if you added a bunch of your own content and made sure to check the "public domain" box when publishing, they might. You have to indicate in parentheses in the title the nature of your changes, e.g., (Illustrated) or (Annotated). You also have to list your contributions in the first paragraph of your blurb.
Steve Pavlina's quotes are not in the public domain. You are violating his copyright if you try to publish this book.
Just because something appears on the Internet does not mean it's in the public domain. I highly recommend doing a lot of research on copyrights.
It will be Amazon's loss, not yours. Publish it on Smashwords and you won't get the same treatment, plus you will get better sales. Amazon has lost its edge as the biggest pookseller on the planet to all the other device makers. When Amazon learns that it has lost the opportunity to sell your book it will be too late.