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Weekly Write-Up: 3rd April 2019

by Tom Ashford

Welcome to the SPF Weekly Write-Up, where each Wednesday we collect together the self-publishing news of the week so you don’t have to.

This week: Amazon are banning alleged book-stuffers, POD makes yearbooks cheaper, and China has a crazy bookstore.

Yes, Amazon are Banning Alleged Book-Stuffers

Though the practice of book-stuffing to rinse the collective Kindle Unlimited payout pot through page reads has a few indie authors worried (in the big picture, probably unnecessarily), rest assured that Amazon aren’t taking those trying to trick the system lightly.

In a recent Guardian article, it was noted that multiple book-stuffers, such as Chance Carter and Victoria Belle, have already been banned from Amazon. The problem is that, as with scammers in any industry, it’s a bit like whack-a-mole – knock them down and they just pop up someplace else.

Let’s hope that a longer-term solution presents itself. In the meantime try not to worry – Amazon doesn’t benefit from people rigging the system any more than we do.

POD is Bringing Down the Cost of Yearbooks

Apparently the average end-of-school yearbook costs between $65 and $100, which seems quite a bit for what is essentially a series of photos of people you’d mostly like to forget. And school-leavers (and their wallet-owning parents) seem to agree: sales of yearbooks have never been lower. After all, why pay so much for pictures of people you’re already following on Facebook?

But is self-publishing changing that?

According to Forbes, self-publishing Print-on-Demand can create the same yearbook for a third of the price, cutting out some of the “secret costs” that are passed onto consumers. And that’s using a “costlier” service such as Lulu, too. I wonder how many other businesses are being either revitalised or dismantled by the rise of self-publishing?

The Most Wonderful Bookstore Yet?

A book shop in China is surely in the running for the title of Most Interesting Bookstore. Guiyang Zhongshuge spans 3,400 square metres and consists of a series of ‘endless’ mirrored tunnels, which all create the effect of a trippy optical illusion. There are also boutique reading areas and a children’s library.

The pictures are fantastic. Check them out here.

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford is a professional copywriter, author of numerous dark fantasy and sci-fi novels, and the Head of Content at the Self Publishing Formula Blog. His books include the Blackwater trilogy and the Checking Out series.

He lives in London with his wife, in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Find out more about Tom here.