TL;DR - If you have books enrolled in KDP Select and you think your reported page reads have been unusually low recently, you should send an email to email@example.com
, and firstname.lastname@example.org
. Provide them with data and if your numbers don't look right, be firm
. You might get results that are worth your time. Others have.
For the past few weeks dozens of authors have been reporting that their page read counts on new releases have been...off. Not off by ten percent, but by 50-95%. These are for consistent releases with expected patterns of performance (as expected as you can be in this industry). I don't want this discussion to get bogged down in conjecture about bad books, bad promos, etc. Sales numbers and sales ranks are as expected, but page reads are drastically lower.
As authors have started to come together in their genre-focused forums and support groups, they started to compare their data and take action. Emails began to fly, initially meeting with a stalwart wall of "We looked into your pages read and can confirm that they are accurate." Most of us took that and gave up. But one didn't. They insisted on getting someone on the phone and elevating their issue up the chain.
After thirty minutes on the phone, insisting something wasn't right, something kind of miraculous happened: On Friday Sept 30, Amazon admitted that there's a problem on their end and that they have to get their legal team involved
. Since then, a handful of authors have gotten emails stating that a "small number of pages" were erroneously left out of their reports and were now being credited. One author saw their September page total go up by a little over 1,000 KENP and another saw it go up by over 30,000 KENP.
But so far, those small handful of responses are the only thing we've gotten. Interestingly enough, the author who first broke through the Amazon shieldwall and got the admission that there was something wrong hasn't received an email about additional page credit yet. In fact, concurrent with these developments this weekend, Amazon was still emailing authors with massively suppressed page reads that everything was fine.
Just to make a few points clear: the pool of authors who have noticed things aren't right includes those with fewer than five books under their belt and NYT bestselling authors with over 100 books who regularly break into the top 100 or top 50. This issue does not seem to be system-wide: it's only affecting new releases (perhaps since July, but mostly those published in September). These are books which are selling well, ranking well, but the reported pages are vastly lower.
I had a promo push on September 23. The book sold 80 copies and had 100 pages read. The prior books in the series had about the same sales but 20 times the page reads on their promo day.
I had a promo push on September 30. The book sold 118 copies and had 300 pages read. This should have been 10-15 times higher based on prior series releases.
If you recently published and your page reads look off, you should reach out to Amazon and let them know. The worst case scenario (unless you're me) is that they tell you that everything is fine and you're right back where you started. We're in a weekend, and it's not clear what will happen next week. But Amazon reaching out to individual authors seems to indicate that only the squeaky wheels are getting grease.