Monday, March 14, 2016

Amazon Lied and Legit Writers Are Paying the Price

In case you actually had a life over the weekend, Amazon got caught with their pants down.

And on fire.

They swore up and down that they knew how many pages a reader read on their apps and Kindles when calculating pages read for Kindle Unlimited (KU) payouts. Turns out, they can't. And a number of scammers exploited that ginormous loophole to an estimated tune of $3+ million dollars in January of 2016 alone.

So what are they doing? Adding a "CLICK HERE" button at the beginning of the book to send you to the back of the book. With Amazon's fucked up system, it looks like the entire book has been read. If you don't take the bait and try to read the book, you'll quickly find out, the story is not what you thought you borrowed or bought.

If you want to see a good example of what I'm talking about, check out A Duke's Arrangement, using Amazon's Look Inside feature. In addition to the other bullshit, the title itself is loaded with keywords which is supposed to be a no-no under Amazon's TOC.

Selena Kitt has a rundown with her experience talking to Amazon, along with graphs and numbers of how this mess has affected the author community.

David Gaughran explains what Amazon is doing to rectify the problem, except their solution punishes legit authors and doesn't really plug the hole in KU 2.0.

The worst part of the problem as I see it? Amazon is ruining their rep on these scam books in KU, but they won't do anything until readers stop signing up for it.

I get that books are no longer Amazon's prime concern (pun intended), but their number one concern has been customer service. Where does that leave writers in this wasteland of scraped junk books?

Up the proverbially creek.

And people wonder why I didn't jump on the KU bandwagon two years ago.

UPDATE: Amazon finally answered, and it's pretty much the "Fuck You!" I expected.


  1. SUCK!

    I'm swimming in the Amazon pool, for now. Doesn't mean I'll stay though. People will stop subscribing if authors start jumping ship or the product is glutted with scammers.

    1. Joseph, I'm worried about the slippage in forethought by Amazon. They've been at the front of the pack regarding innovation for so long. To see them make basic programming mistakes in disconcerting.