From Livia Blackburne‘s Twitter feed I came across this post about self-published spam ebooks that are clogging Amazon’s Kindle marketplace. (The original Reuters article can be found here at Yahoo.) It caught my eye because of several things I’ve read lately, one being former agent and current YA author Nathan Bransford’s recent poll on what readers think is a fair price for ebooks. Then, of course, there was the New York Times piece on Amanda Hocking who got her start self-publishing (the quote that stands out for me there, and not in a good way, is, “For me to be a billion-dollar author,” she would tell me later, “I need to have people buying my books at Wal-Mart.”)
This gets back to quantity-versus-quality and how the flood of ebooks can make it nearly impossible for a good, legitimate work to make its voice heard in the marketplace. It’s always been a challenge for small, independent, and midlist writers. For me, it also highlights the continued importance of the role that gatekeepers play in the traditional publishing process.
What do you think: Is price a reliable way to determine the relative merits of an ebook? Or are you more or less likely to take a chance on an ebook priced at 99 cents because, even if it’s crap, it was only a buck?