Book News: Amazon’s Fan Fiction and Data Crossover

I have two tidbits of book news information for you today, both relating to Amazon.


It’s called Kindle Worlds. Amazon is in the process of pursuing different licenses for certain series. Right now, they have already acquired certain rights to Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars. Those right allow people to then write within those worlds, be it originally from television, movies, or books.

Authors of fan fiction from those licensed worlds can then use Amazon Publishing to publish their eBook. The service offers ways to help you to design the cover of your book as well as offer some amount of royalties for your book to you and the originator of the world’s license.

In some ways, this could be an endeavor to legitimize what has been going on forever anyways. Fan fiction is definitely something that has a devoted following. In some cases, fan fiction can be quite literary and artful.

However, there are those with major concerns about this. It is seen as a way for the original material holders to get free content for their productions. That’s because Amazon’s terms for writers is very favorable to both Amazon and the original material holders. Amazon can take control of your work to publish it internationally without your permission, and the original material holders can take any elements, characters, etc from your story for their own works. Most notably, John Scalzi’s post on the matter most clearly describes a lot of these kinds of concerns.

For me personally, I’m indifferent. No one is forcing anyone to use Kindle Worlds. It is definitely one way to go about working on fan fiction within the laws and it could promulgate some really interesting stories. But I think more importantly, it is another sign of Amazon trying to broaden its reach—which is both a smart business move (something I can admire) and something worrisome for the little small people and companies.

This is something far smaller in scale than the previous news tidbit. Goodreads Librarians can now use Amazon’s data for Goodreads’ book records. I am not a Goodreads Librarian so I am completely unfamiliar with how edits were done formerly, but from what I’ve seen, this change will make it easier to gather data to help improve Goodreads. I imagine that it is not coincidental that this news come just two months or so after Amazon acquired Goodreads. As users of any form of social media and internet services, we need to be aware of what changes in terms occur to properly protect ourselves and to be conscientious.

What do you think about these news items? Would you use Kindle Worlds? What is your opinion of Amazon’s ever-growing presence in the book world?


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