Those of you who know me or have read my self-publishing books will know that I’ve been a fan of the Kindleboards as a place where new writers find out about news and best practices.
As of this week, I no longer recommend that anyone even goes to the Kindleboards.
The board was started in 2008 or thereabouts by Harvey Chute as a forum for users of the new Kindle device. Very soon after people were allowed to publish on Kindle, the Writer’s Cafe became a very important part of the board and the one that attracted the most traffic.
Payments late? Author Central down? New sales platform? Been scammed? You found soulmates, solace and solutions at the Kindleboards.
Harvey Chute died in 2014 or 2015 (not researching this, just penning a quick announcement) and his daughter carried on for a while.
However, to manage a board with over 60,000 members is no small job, especially if it was not your passion. There is the hosting, the tech support, the ads (and appropriateness thereof), complaints, SSL, everything. And then came the people eager to drag the boards into court. For me, that would have been the drop. I get it. She didn’t want to do it. So she sold the forum. We know nothing about whether she was approached of how the sale happened. “Sold out” is bandied about, but they may simply have posed a solution to a situation that was no longer fun, especially since an idiot on the boards was screaming about talking them to court.
Vertical Scope, the new company changed the TOS. For full detail, see this Passive Voice post.
DON’T GO TO THE KINDLEBOARDS to look. DON’T GIVE THEM THE TRAFFIC.
A number of writers got up in arms about the ridiculous TOS that said the company owned in perpetuity everything we’d ever written there. That’s ridiculous and not to say unenforceable. A lot of even more ridiculous assumptions were made by many Chicken Littles. Like that they also owned our books cover images that we posted. Some people even suggested that our books were owned by them. Yeah, I know, ridiculousness all around.
Fact is, the TOS is stupid. Just a copied boilerplate agreement is my guess, but writers are precious about their words.
Up until that point, I would have taken the wait-and-see approach.
But then two of the VerticalScope staff members “Phillip” and “Helena” came in and proceeded to stonewall and insult the members who asked genuine questions about the possibility to make the TOS more writer-friendly. “Helena” called us trolls, and anyone who has spent any time on the KB will know that the word troll is not allowed there.
The place erupted in a huge ball of flames.
I’ve logged out and don’t intend to go back. Thanks to Ann and Betsy and Becca for moderating.
DON’T GO TO THE KINDLEBOARDS. The new owners have NO respect for the writer community.