Copyright Infringement Rampant on CreateSpace

piracy

I don’t think it’s any secret that Amazon owns CreateSpace. I also don’t believe it’s any secret—especially after the author uproar that occurred in April—that CreateSpace no longer offers “creative services” such as interior book formatting, cover design, editing, or the like. When they ceased offering those services, they severed the one last component that identified them as a “publisher” instead of a “content curator,” which is the role CreateSpace now plays, and is a far cry from meeting the goals of writers who dream of publication.

A perfect example appears in a recent article on the Publishers Weekly website, written by Kenny Brechner and titled “Pirating on CreateSpace,” in which he identifies very specific examples of flagrant copyright infringement by individuals (I wouldn’t call them writers) sharing (I wouldn’t call it publishing) content through the CreateSpace platform.  One objective of a publisher is to protect their authors, and also prevent circumstances like the ones reported by Mr. Brechner. Unfortunately, the exact opposite objective is true for a content curator like CreateSpace.  Since it’s “free” to “publish” content there, CreateSpace and Amazon value neither the content nor the authors who created it. Instead, their goal is to compile as much content as possible for the purposes of offering it—usually by giving it away or encouraging their authors to give it away through thinly-veiled “marketing promotions”—to lure new Amazon members into its Prime, Prime Video Streaming, and KindleUnlimited memberships (all of which require monthly/yearly dues, and none of which reward the content creators for their contribution).  

Since CreateSpace/Amazon uses content and its creators as loss-leaders for subscriptions, they are hardly compelled to prevent copyright infringement or acts of piracy. In fact, as you can see from Brechner’s Publishers Weekly article, it was only after the article appeared on a highly respected industry website that Amazon bothered to do anything about it … and the author himself was unable to get CreateSpace to take any action at all, though not from lack of trying.  And as you’ll see from the comments already piling up below the article, this wasn’t an isolated case, nor is it something that authors are willing to tolerate. Comments include phrases like:

“I’d say, Createspace should be embarrassed – beyond measure.” – GISELA HAUSMANN

“…this article is a wise word of caution to us writers.” – Carol Johnson

“Same thing happened to me. I discovered one of its CreateSpace books had pirated both some text and several of my photos from my website that included those texts and those photos selected from my traditionally published book.” – Mark Mathew Braunstein

In fact, the same thing happened with one of my own books, too: Publishing Gems. I discovered that it had been copied in its entirety through the CreateSpace platform without my knowledge or consent. Not only was CreateSpace selling the pirated version, but so were a vast number of Amazon Marketplace booksellers. When I contacted Amazon about the infringement, they were quick to remove it. When I asked them the name of the individual who was responsible for this act of piracy, they ignored me entirely. Then I started receiving emailed requests from all the Marketplace booksellers, notifying me that they had removed the stolen book from their virtual shelves, and asking me to “approve them” for continued business under the threat of cancellation from Amazon.  Here’s the interesting part – all their emails were nearly identical, as if someone from Amazon’s legal department provided them with the exact verbiage to use to request forgiveness.

Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that copyright infringement happens so frequently through CreateSpace that Amazon’s legal department has come up with an actual procedure to cope with it.

Is that the kind of publ—er, algorithm, you want handling your books?

computer piracy


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Self-Publishing News: 6.25.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

june

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

We’ve written occasionally about the happy synchronicity between self-publishing and genre fiction, but this article more or less proves it: while traditional sales in some of these genres, here specifically science fiction and fantasy, actual sales may have actually doubled when those crunching the numbers include information from indie and self-publishing sources. The difficulty, of course, is that many of these companies (here’s looking at your KDX service, Amazon!) refuse to give up information, or at least to do so reliably. Still, from the information available Adam Rowe of Forbes is able to speculate, drawing upon Nielson reports among others, that while “Indie-published authors may be just 48% of the SF&F market (and their unit prices average just $3.20 compared to traditional publishers’ ebook average of $8.04), but these authors are likely still earning the majority of the profits.” This is good news for self-publishing authors, Rowe writes, but may not be the kind of boost or reminder that traditional publishers need to invest in these genres in which authors are jumping ship. The authors are, in part, jumping ship because they weren’t being invested in; they have good reasons to leave the traditional route, just as much as they have good reasons to choose an indie route. At some point, are the Big Five going to reach a tipping point where they simply discontinue their science fiction and fantasy (as well as other genre fiction) imprints? Because that would be a loss to us all.

Speaking of science fiction, did you know that the history of zines is inextricably tied up with this genre? As Claire Williamson of the Japan Times Culture column writes,

“The Comet” is widely acknowledged to be the first zine — first published in 1930 by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago — and its release heralded the beginning of a decades-long trend of fan-produced science fiction zines. By the 1970s and ’80s, zine culture was decidedly punk; in the 1990s it centered on the feminist “riot grrrl” movement. Nowadays zines often combine elements of both text and design, running the gamut from in-depth, research-based publications to pocket-sized collections of personal doodles, and encompassing myriad topics.

Zines are also, of course, tied up with self-publishing. Writes Williamson, “From the modern ukiyo-e prints of the Edo Period (1603-1868) to contemporary dōjinshi (self-published) fan comics, there has always been an outlet in Japan for artistic self-publishing.” It may have begun in the Edo period, but “The mid-2000s, for instance, heralded the rise of keitai shōsetsu (cell phone novels), which were written in sparse, colloquial Japanese — ideal for drafting or reading on cramped cell phone screens — and appealed to the masses. Meanwhile, nijisōsaku (derivative works) that draw on copyrighted characters have historically been protected from lawsuits to allow the growth of the parent work’s fanbase and encourage budding artistic talent.” As Williamson points out, in such a historical context, self-publishing as we know it today makes for a natural fit. Williamson unpacks the rich story of zines and self-publishing in modern Japan, as well as several of its current players, making this a must-read article. The article may be of local interest, but its implications are global.

Not familiar with The Kissing Booth? That’s alright; until two weeks ago, no one else had either. This made-for-and-by-Netflix teenage drama has risen to through the ranks of most-watched films online in its brief time in the world, and is forcing entertainment companies to re-evaluate where they find their source material. Because The Kissing Booth? Yeah, that was self-published. We’ve written about Wattpad, the blogging and self-publishing site so popular with teens, before on this blog–but it’s worth point out again that self-publishing doesn’t ever look like any one thing. It’s microbloggers like Rupi Kaur who use Instagram to find an audience. It’s fanfiction and lengthier bloggers like those who use Wattpad, LinkedIn, and Tumblr to find their audiences. It’s authors writing full-length novels and publishing them through companies like Amazon and Outskirts Press. It’s zine makers making and distributing their work by hand or through the Internet. It’s indie comic creators and game designers pushing the envelope of what’s considered self-publishable material, as well as musicians and artists and so, so many more. Now that companies like Netflix are literally banking on self-publishing authors and other creators, it’s only a matter of time before we see an explosion and diversification of the base definition of self-publishing, and before that list is multiplied by a factor of ten. If you’re a self-publishing author or creator reading this blog, you’re in the right place at the right time. We can’t wait to see what happens next.


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 2.5.2018 – The Company Files!

february

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically news from or regarding self-publishing companies!

The title might be straightforward, but as Forbes contributor Adam Rowe wrote this week, the recent history of self-publishing is anything but, unless you’re looking at sales numbers … and if you are, those numbers tell a very simple story, one of rapid exponential growth in both production and publication as well as readership and market share. As Rowe puts it in the opening to his article, “In September 2014, there were “perhaps two million” titles in the Kindle Store, according to digital publishing expert David Gaughran. Today there are seven million.” Rowe interviewed Gaughran for his article, unspooling his origins in the self-publishing industry as well as his thoughts on where things have gone (and how they’ve gotten here). Says Gaughran, “It’s not just that the market has swelled; the tools we have for reaching readers have evolved at an incredible rate. It’s harder today, in some ways, and easier in others. But definitely more complex overall.” Complex is our forté! We highly recommend you check out the full article on the Forbes website.

Looking to take the next step in self-publishing your book this February by branching out in your marketing? The best deal around seems to be this one from Outskirts Press, which offers 15% off their Global Book Tour service package. For those unfamiliar with book tours, we can’t recommend them enough (no matter whom you choose to incorporate into your team) here on Self-Publishing Advisor. Interested in knowing more about book tours in general, and what they can do for your book? Check out Elizabeth’s brilliant blog post on the subject, and check out the Outskirts Press website for more information on their February deal.

Remember Medium? It’s been going through a lot of changes lately (some of which we’ve documented on our blog in various news posts), some of them significant. This one seems to be less dramatic than the usual, just a change in chief editor (as if that weren’t still an incredibly significant change!). But Siobhan O’Connor comes with an experience portfolio to rival the best, with experience at Time Inc. and a number of other important traditional print institutions, and many think she has a real chance of making the company finally turn a profit. Medium, a Twitter platform dedicated to longform self-published articles, has struggled to find a financial model which might do so. We’ll be watching closely!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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5 Steps to Creating a Culinary Cookbook

What separates good cookbooks from bad ones? Just like everyone’s individual palate, the answer to that is largely a matter of personal taste, but these five hints just may help keep your cookbook from leaving a bad taste in someone’s mouth.

cookbook

  1. Include full-color photographs
    The number one most important thing you can do for your cookbook is include high-quality, full-color photographs of the food. Rare is the self-publishing author who can afford to spring for a professional photoshoot, but with today’s cameras, some 3-point bounce lighting, and a photo editing program like Photoshop, there’s no reason to limit your 5-star tartare to a 3-star photograph.  There are simply too many cookbooks on the market to publish one without images, or in black & white.  The old adage says you can’t judge a book by its cover and while that is proven false time and time again, nobody ever said such a thing about a cookbook – where you definitely CAN judge it by its cover. And its cover better look delicious! And so should the inside!
  2. Include original, unique, and exclusive recipes
    No matter how appetizing the pictures look, there has to be a reason for someone to buy your cookbook.  Sure, the design might be amazing, and the images breathtaking, but content trumps design every time, and that is especially true for cookbooks.  Your target market already knows how to make spaghetti, pot roast, and shrimp cocktail; you have to include recipes they’ve never seen before, or at least feature startling new takes on old standards that will justify their purchase, as well as satisfy their cravings.
  3. Allow content and design to dance
    Speaking of design and content, formatting a cookbook is much like dancing the tango, with the content and the design making magical music together as they flow in unison. Cookbooks require larger print than other books because people don’t “read” cookbooks, they “use” them (typically with wet fingers or flour-caked palms).  So, if you have too many recipes to hit your target page count at 14- or 16-point font, don’t decrease the font size to 12 just to make it fit.  Remove a recipe. Or, better yet, find a way to reword those three-page recipes into two-page spreads.
  4. Include finishing flourishes
    A good meal is like a good story (or a good cookbook); it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Anybody can print a recipe for baked Alaska from the Internet but only your cookbook contains the amusing anecdote about how making it for the first time led to a food fight with your grandson, which turned into a fond memory told over Thanksgiving Dinner for years to come.  Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some saffron into your prose to excite the senses and make the recipes in your cookbook truly your own.
  5. Obsess over the details
    The details of your recipes can make or break your cookbook. This includes the ingredients, as well as the instructions, down to the units of measurements and the cooking equipment.  If your audience is comprised mostly of US residents, don’t refer to grams or liters when your cook wants to see teaspoons, tablespoons, or cups, instead.  If your recipe calls for a very specific ingredient that is not available at the local grocery store, advise your cooks where to get their hands on it – a farmer’s market, online, a quick trip to China, etc.  By the same token, be informative and detailed about the pots, pans, molds, presses, graters, utensils, etc. you’ve used to create your inspiring dishes.  The purists will appreciate the opportunity to match your expertise and it gives the lay-cook something other than their prowess to “blame” when their soufflé flops.

To make a soufflé you’ve got to break a few eggs, but nobody warned you publishing a cookbook would be such a headache. It doesn’t have to be! Check out this One-Click Cookbook package over at Outskirts Press.


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Self-Publishing News: 12.25.2017 – Merry Christmas!!

And now for the news!

Yes, yes, it’s Christmas! And we know you have some yuletide carols to sing, some gifts to open, and some people to see. We’ll keep it short, but we wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas first! Here are some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

First off, the really really good news: Outskirts Press (with whom many of our writers over the years have worked) are offering a really spectacular deal this holiday season, with $800 off the package price of any of their One-Click Publishing suites. These suites already offer really spectacular discounts by combining services in order to drop prices, so this discount means that for a couple of days over this Christmas season, you’ll be getting everything at rock-bottom price. And if you’re not ready to commit to one of their One-Click Publishing suites, they’re also offering $300 off the package price for their Ultimate and Full-Color publishing services, which are excellent as well. Check out the press release (at the link) or visit their website at www.OutskirtsPress.com for a Christmas present all your very own!

Have you been thinking about self-publishing this holiday season, maybe taking advantage of that sweet deal (above)? Shirley McMarlin of the Tribune-Review has some words of wisdom for you as you move forward. Some of them are warnings, some are encouragements, but they are all of them very wise indeed. Take a peek as she explores some of the ups and downs of both traditional and self-publishing platforms, and digs into those specifics which sell books (it’s not always what you might expect!). Nobody ever said it would be easy … but with experts like McMarlin around, it’s certainly easier to make the right decision to fit your needs.

Oh, who are we kidding? We love a good and positive story during the holiday season, and Jeff Polman’s piece for HuffPost earlier in December truly fits the bill. Herein Polman shares how, as a previously self-published author, he made his first foray into traditional publishing … and then turned right around and returned to self-publishing. Why? He’d written a book he loved, in a voice he felt at home in, and afterward discovered that agents and publishers were looking for some specifics which would require him to rewrite the entire thing to suit. Rather than do that–and sacrifice his original vision for this newest book–Polman went his own way, again, proving the (maybe not-so-) old adage that self-publishing is a refuge for those creators who want to maintain creative control over their work. Read the full article for more!

Yes! Self-publishing is about more than books! We’ve written before on how the self-publishing industry has its roots in everything from printed literature like books and comics and magazines to digital materials like ezines and so forth … but this might just be one of the first times we’ve seen games brought into the conversation. And we love it! the Xbox (and its archcompany, Microsoft) might just be opening its doors to independent games publishers and creators, who formerly were barred from seeing their games used on the platform. This would be, if it truly comes to pass, a massive move in reshaping the gaming industry, with repercussions which will be felt for years to come. Indie game designers have been making inroads into the industry for a while, but the Xbox remains one of the primary hardware components to gaming, and this decision places a thumb very heavily on the scales in favor of the diversification and democratization of game-space. Read the full article, courtesy of Matt Liebl and GameZone, here.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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A Quick 5 Minute Survey to Serve You Better!

We’d love to hear from you about how we’re doing and what more you’d like to see on Self-Publishing Advisor! After all, we’re here to serve your needs and interests, and we want to ensure we’re delivering material that you need—and enjoy!

Click here to access the survey link

This survey should take around 5 minutes, and responses are completely anonymous.

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Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Self-Publishing News: 10.16.2017 – New Releases!

hello October word abstrtact in wood type

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically new releases written by self-publishing authors and published by independent presses! Today we’ll be featuring brand-new releases in the Outskirts Press Bookstore!

Are you looking for a whodunit to liven up your October evenings? You can’t go wrong with Reginald Buchanan’s Deceived, a killer story with a serious twist. It follows the story of Joan Witherspoon, a rising star of an athlete and the kind of senior everyone hopes their children grow up to be: a bright spark, full of life and passion. But her life is about to get very complicated indeed. Tragedy strikes while she’s away at volleyball practice, and while her parents’ deaths are explained away by the local law enforcement at the time, she finds herself years later at the heart of a burgeoning serial murder story. There’s plenty of deceit to go around, as the book’s title indicates, but you won’t see the end coming until it arrives! Sure, it may not be as overtly spooky as a book with “Halloween” in the title, but Deceived is a fantastically creepy exploration of the various sides of grief, tragedy, and the mind of a killer.

On a lighter note, who hasn’t wanted to go backpacking or river boating or parasailing through Europe? (Okay, so that last one may be a bit too much, but there’s always room for a personal fantasy or two in the midst of a book review!) Francis J. Clauss is here to walk us through the jewel of the grand European tour of ages gone by: Italy, land of Roman ruins and lush wineries and volcanoes galore. But Clauss has something more to offer than just a smidgen of sight-seeing! A regular at the San Francisco Opera, West Bay Opera in Palo Alto, Opera San Jose, Santa Fe Opera, the New York Metropolitan Opera, and many foreign venues, he and his wife have volunteered behind and in front of the scenes at various venues and know the lay of the operatic land, so to speak. In this volume, Clauss takes readers on a journey through not just the heart of Italy’s opera scene, but also the history of opera and why it has become such an emotional lynch-pin for those like him, and why it has become a city- and nation-building force throughout the ages. Fascinating, right? More than worth a look!

Following up on the joyous ride that was the first book in this series, Tom Boyhan is back with a new installment! If you or someone you know has loved Harry Potter, The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes, or How to Train Your Dragon, here’s another fantastic fantasy series for young readers that really knows how to blow your socks off! With fire! Dragonfire! What’s cooler than that? I’ll tell you what: a story which combines the allure of martial arts (they win belts!) with boarding school (which we’d much rather read about than attend, except when it’s a magical boarding school for magical kids and DRAGONS) and podracing. I mean, dragon racing! Dragon racing is even cooler than podracing, in our humble opinion. But of course, not all is fun and games at the academy, and our intrepid cast of heroes must fight a shadowy organization in order to survive, save the world, and make it to class on time in the morning. They’ve got a full semester ahead of them, and we have a full evening by the fire reading ahead of us. Can’t wait for book three!


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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