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How to Avoid eBook Scams

Brand, Videos | 1st Jul 2011

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Mike Essex, the Online Marketing Manager here at Koozai. Today, I’m going to talk to you about the topic of eBbook spam.

I’ve covered this before in several blog posts, and the main issue here is that a lot of people are taking low quality content and sticking it onto eBook websites like Amazon and Smashwords and Lulu. The problem with that is you’re coming along and paying for this content, thinking that it’s good, when actually it could be stolen from other websites, or it could just be low quality content that is called PLR.

What PLR is, is when people come along and take content from the Web, bundle it together, and sell it to other people who then reproduce it. Usually, when that becomes an eBook, there’s no formatting. It’s just put together in five seconds just to make money.

These are some quick tips that you can look for if you’re trying to stay safe when you buy eBooks and avoid the spam.

The first warning signal is if an author has more than 100 books in their name, you should probably stay away. For example, there are prolific authors of spam who have thousands of books on Amazon. Clearly there’s no way they’ve written thousands of good quality books. So if you see that the author has a lot of titles, stay away.

The next tip is to always read reviews before you buy something, and not to just read those on the websites like Amazon, because it’s very easy to come along and leave fake reviews on Amazon. You actually don’t have to buy the book in order to leave a review. So the author could’ve got 20 friends to come along, leave five star reviews, and really the book is rubbish.

Search around on Google for the book name, plus the word review, and see what people really think. If there are no reviews at all, then don’t bother buying it, because any author can get people to review their book. It’s really not that hard. Just send a copy and someone will talk about it.

The next thing to do is to Google the author’s name, to see if people are speaking about the author in a negative way. If people are saying, “I bought this book and it was rubbish,” that’s a warning signal for you to not go there.

Next, be sure to try free samples if you can. Amazon does a free sample of every book, as do most other providers. Download that, read the 20 pages or 10 pages that you get. You’ll see straight away if the formatting is good, if the content’s good quality.

Whilst you’re there as well, take a string of a couple of sentences and type them into Google in inverted commas. What that’ll do is it’ll see if that content is on the Web anywhere else. So if that author’s just copied the content off the Web and stolen it, you’ll be able to see it somewhere else, and you’ll know that actually you could get that content for free over there.

The last thing to do is just to be aware of your rights. If you buy an eBook and you’re unhappy with it, most of the main sites let you report it as offensive or spam or low quality. If within seven days, you think the eBook may be suspicious, it might be copied content, poor content, have no formatting, or be of little value, then report it to Amazon or Lulu or Smashwords or Apple even. You’ll likely get your money back.

Just be aware of these simple steps. The problem isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Based on the research although there are methods to fight the piracy of eBooks, there’s still a long way to go. Always follow these steps, and if you do spot any major authors who are bad, then please let us know on Koozai.com.

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Mike Essex About the author

Mike Essex

Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...

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