Amazon’s Kindle Publishing has opened the floodgates for passionate writers to publish their stories and knowledge to the world like never before. Gone are the barriers to entry such as agents, editing teams, marketing advisors, and gauging the general marketability of the author. What I have noticed though – at least in numismatics – is that it is allowing a lot of charlatans and internet marketers to make a quick buck publishing about our hobby. The lasting impact though is a market flooded with crap, as well as disillusioned and vulnerable customers.
My passion for this topic is immense. I have been writing several books for years now, waiting to publish in order to perfect my research, in addition to correcting style and errors. I am not trying to be a perfectionist, but close to it. My work will be associated with my name and I am vested in ensuring it makes a great impression. Hopefully, this summer I will finally have one of them published on Amazon Kindle.
Before I hit publish though I did some research on the market for numismatic books on Amazon. The usual suspects are there. Most of the great titles we know and love from the authors who are experts in their respective series. Along with those experts are hundreds of inaccurate “books” floating around geared toward appealing to a reader’s desire to make a quick buck in coins.
It actually compelled me to leave my first damning review of a Kindle book today. It was not prideful. It was an undeniable urge. Upon seeing a recommended book and never hearing of the author I had to research them and see how and why they were receiving so many positive reviews and in some cases outselling Whitman titles in the same area of numismatics.
My research resulted in nothing. Their other “books” drew skepticism as they were hardly related to coins, instead favoring various ways to make a quick buck online or discussing various ways to take advantage of arbitrage. Still interested in why the positive reviews where there I decided to try the introduction to the book which is a complimentary service via Amazon Kindle.
What I found upset my stomach. At first I had a strong opinion that the “book” was completely outsourced from Asia. The sentences were fluffy and made overarching statements like “since the beginning of time” and “the history of coins is important.” Repetition filled their page count. Where was the meat of this product that I could learn, grow, and be entertained by?
I would never find the meat, just a bunch of fat. The introduction was full of misunderstandings and inaccuracies that average numismatist would have thrown their arms up about. What I found most disturbing was the blatant disregard for numismatists’ copyright. I saw numerous images in the introduction owned by other numismatists, friends of mine, who did not consent to use of their work. I can only imagine how many are filled in all of his thin offerings.
So I left a negative review and I am that much more compelled to write a better book than I had planned. Obviously I want to protect my own brand and make a living for myself, but I also want to have a positive legacy on this hobby. Collector’s everywhere deserve it!
I ask you to please leave honest reviews for these self published books in whatever category you find them. There is nothing wrong with an independent author. However there is everything wrong with someone producing lazy content that is inaccurate, with no credentials, in order to make a quick buck at the expense of others. Keep the review civil and constructive. It has a much better chance of sticking around and making a positive impact on everyone.
If you find a great self published numismatic book please draw my attention to it. I would be happy to review and promote it here and with my friends and clients. And if you find a self published numismatic book that is honest, trying to make a positive impact, that just needs a little help let me know. I would be happy to help a fellow numismatic author out.