The dark side of digital

After reading Clare’s post yesterday about e-publishing’s Radiohead moment, I read an LA times article that noted a disturbing new trend in the world of Kindle books: spam.

It seems that everyone and his brother is now uploading e-books to Amazon. Many of those books are e-wrapped versions of books that are no longer under copyright–others are pirated versions of original works, with new covers.  The article cited one author who discovered that one of her books had been copied and sold on Kindle

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the spammers who flood our email in-boxes with Viagra ads and solicitations to collect inheritances in Nigeria would figure out a way to inundate the Kindle world with literary dreck. Amazon will have to find a way to filter out the spammers. There are a number of ways to do it: They could create a “verified publisher or author” seal, a la Twitter. They could develop better filters. They might have to–gasp!–act like a publisher and wade through the e-slush pile before unleashing it on the world. Any way you look at it, Amazon will have to spend some time and money figuring it out–which will probably raise the price of Kindle books fdown the line. (I hear the dead-tree book contingent laughing in triumph).

As a reader, so far I haven’t yet encountered much spam on Kindle, probably because I use filters when I browse. The only time I’ve been had was when I thought I was downloading a novel, only to discover that my “book” was only a few chapters, which had been bundled and sold as a bait.

Have you encountered spam on Amazon?  Have you ever paid for a Kindle book and then discovered that it wasn’t what you thought it was?