Sadly for distributors like Mobipocket who rarely if ever discriminate, this meant that anyone with a laptop, Notepad and their Creator software could upload and sell a copy of Pride and Prejudice. That's a problem. Some publishers took the raw digital adaptation from the Gutenberg project and did a fantastic job of indexing and formatting the classics, others just copied and pasted or worse. If you want to see how utterly extreme this problem has become you only have to do a search for Pride and Prejudice.
The problem doesn't end with Mobipocket.com, they're a major eBook distributor and have a direct pipeline to the Amazon Kindle store. Everything you see on Mobipocket.com (in English, I'm not sure about other languages), you'll see in the Kindle store. The announcement Mobipocket put out indicates, though indirectly, that the resulting mess for Kindle users is what prompted this cleanup.
Regardless of what may have brought this on, I hope this improves things for Mobipocket. The vast majority of my readers are Mobipocket users and anything that improves their experience on that site has got to be helpful.
As long as they don't remove self published content like the First Light Chronicles Omnibus, for example, I'm happy. Not all self published content is bad content, so I hope the Mobipocket and Kindle teams just leave that as it is. The users sink anything they dislike with bad reviews and few purchases anyway. It's a self policing system that generally works across the Internet.
There was no mention of them cleaning up self published titles in their notice, so I'm led to assume that as long as self published work is part of their bread and butter it'll remain. I've been in the top ten in Science Fiction on Mobipocket.com for a year now. I take extra pride in that because the readers put me there with their reviews and their hard earned money. I'm also thankful and humbled. Readers put a welcome pressure on me to reciprocate with high quality releases, and I'm told each book gets better.
Let's hope that the changes to Mobipocket end with the removal of poor quality royalty free titles, I'd hate to see my readers lose access to my work.
[What do you think of Mobipocket removing poor quality classics? Would you stop using Mobipocket if one went missing from your bookshelf?]