Selling Crap

You know what I hate? Crap. And more specifically, the people that knowingly sell crap to unsuspecting people, just because they can get away with it. Maybe I shouldn’t hate them. The jury’s still out.

Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I’m always interested in how people are making money these days. Millions of ideas out there, and you never know when you might see something that resonates.

A friend suggested selling ebooks on Kindle, so I thought I’d take a look at the idea. Most of the stigma is off of self-publishing (and thank goodness for that), and readers are snapping up Kindle ebooks at an astonishing rate. Maybe there’s an opportunity there for me or the people I help?

To find out more about selling ebooks on Kindle, I started nosing around the web. There’s a ton of stuff out there, most of it pretty basic. Eventually I found a course on Udemy.com and signed up. (If you don’t know Udemy, you’re missing out, but that’s a different subject for another day.)

Today I started the course. I was hoping for insight, revelation, an epiphany. Do you know what they suggested? Find a hot topic, pay someone $25 on elance.com to write your ebook (20 pages or so), pay someone $5 on fivver.com to design the cover, then publish. Voilà.

Ouch. Has it really come to this? Are we so desperate to make money that we don’t care who we hurt or whose money we take in the process? 

ebook

I started looking at Amazon through a different lens, the way this Udemy course instructor recommends, to see if people are actually doing this. They are. Lots of them.

As a physical therapist who specializes in working with seniors, I speak to a lot of community groups. Next month I’m leading a discussion on caregiving for loved ones with Alzheimer’s, so today I searched “Alzheimer’s caregivers” in the Kindle store. Turns out there are dozens of Kindle books about Alzheimer’s that seem to follow the 20 pages + a cover format. Here are some of my favorite authors’ descriptions of their books:

  • These are all typical a sign of Alzheimer’s since it causes a lot of mental confusion. It is important to get help as soon as you can!
  • This like all my books I cover the disease or problem so the reader has an understanding of the disease or problem!! So in this book you will learn about Alzheimer’s/Dementia, but Most Importantly you will learn how to care for Your parent or Loved one with Alzheimer’s/Dementia. This might be one of the hardest tests in a person’s life, to care for a Parent with Alzheimer’s. I always remember my Grandmother as a strong independent woman. That is how I think of her, but when she got this disease she was no longer that person that I remember, THAT in itself is hard, but caring for her was a mountainous problem…… I didn’t even know where to start!!
  • Have you ever forgotten something important ant then swore up and down you must have Alzheimer’s? Usually we’re laughing at the time, but it is not a laughing matter when symptoms start to appear. Alzheimer’s attacks the memory and can start as young as 30 years old!

Scintillating, I know! And a healthy use of exclamation points, too!!!!

Here are a couple reviews of these types of books:

  • This seemed like an outline for a high school term paper…just a few sentences about each of the seven types and stages of dementia. Can be read in less than five minutes. I could have gotten more information about dementia just by glancing at a Wikipedia page.
  • I’m disturbed. I was hoping for expert advice…. I’m saddened that there are people trying to make money from Kindle technology, for naught…

It may be the way of the world, but it still sucks. If you feel like it’s ok to sell crap to unsuspecting people, you need confess, repent and sin no more. It’s just wrong. It’s an affront to humanity.

Is there hope for humanity? Yes! Today I had a handyman out to my house to fix some drywall problems the previous handyman made worse (I know I should probably learn to do this sort of thing but I’m just not motivated). We were talking about his business and he told me about some of the ethical choices he has to make. He said contractors call him in to help with a job and they’ll ask him to cut corners and do things that are potentially unsafe. He told me, “My name is on my truck. My name is on my shirt. There’s no way in hell I’m going to risk my reputation to make a quick buck.”

That’s a guy I like. That’s a guy I want to do business with. He may never sell a crap book on Kindle, but he can sleep at night and doesn’t have to worry that his name is on his truck.

Rant over. Carry on.