Author Topic: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.  (Read 296351 times)  

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3175 on: April 16, 2017, 07:54:47 PM »
Sounds like a waste of money to me. If the purchased visibility were leading to real buys/reads, the book(s) would be getting reviews. Visibility isn't everything, eh?

Not a waste of money if it's getting clickbot page reads. We really don't know.


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Offline Seneca42

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3176 on: April 16, 2017, 08:17:29 PM »
Sounds like a waste of money to me. If the purchased visibility were leading to real buys/reads, the book(s) would be getting reviews. Visibility isn't everything, eh?

Depends on the money being spent. I have no idea how botting works or how much it costs.

But yes, i agree with you that it's a waste of time. On the other hand, I image there are plenty of authors who reach the end of their rope and figure there's nothing left to lose.

What's really odd is that when you get up in the ranks, you'd think with increased visibility (especially in KU) you'd at least seal your fate one way or another (lots of good or bad reviews). But to be top #400 in all and have zero added reviews over 2-3 months. It's baffling.

Makes you wonder just how much visibility actually plays into things.

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3177 on: April 21, 2017, 05:17:36 AM »
Amazon needs to try something different with the whole visibility thing. They are basically forcing authors to either: put out a book a month minimum to maintain search visibility; or putting out collections to boost their backlist.

With the deluge of books being put out by brand new authors (over 1500 per day?), I read that if your book isn't ranked 200,000 or better, it's dropped out of Amazon searches entirely. I don't know if that's true.

Since most new authors seem to jump into KU, better authors are getting pushed aside. My editor had a KU sub and canceled it a few months ago; the offered books were so bad that the cost wasn't worth the time to search and read.

I've been out of KU for some months now (thankfully), and have seen my sales compensate. My paperback sales jumped from 10 per month to 40+. I don't know if KU is still having problems, but I'm rather glad I dumped the program and went wide. Wide was a bit of a slow start, it has been accelerating every month. Between paperback increases and wide, my former $300+ per month in page reads has just about been replaced.

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3178 on: April 21, 2017, 06:05:59 AM »
Amazon needs to try something different with the whole visibility thing. They are basically forcing authors to either: put out a book a month minimum to maintain search visibility; or putting out collections to boost their backlist.
From Amazon's perspective, do they really, though? They're trying to sell books, not help authors. And as you note, there are ways that authors can maintain visibility, to which list you can add advertising. Or getting picked up by an Amazon imprint. There are plenty of authors who always have books in the top 10,000, so I can't imagine Amazon thinks there is a problem.

As a side note - here's an anecdote to counter the idea you have to release a book a month. My last book was released on 2/9, a kindle worlds book in David Wood's kindle world. David has very solid sales and a receptive initial audience, but he's hardly a household name. The kindle world books are not in KU. It's priced at $1.99 (I have no control over this) which is an odd sort of price not likely to drive readers on price like a 99 cent book. After an initial push the first day, the book had no promotion. It stayed between 5000 and 12000 for three weeks or so, then it stayed in the top 25,000 for another five weeks. This is only a single anecdote and I know a lot of folks experience the 30 day cliff. But it does seem quite possible that with 4 books a year plus collections and shorts, an author could do well.

With the deluge of books being put out by brand new authors (over 1500 per day?), I read that if your book isn't ranked 200,000 or better, it's dropped out of Amazon searches entirely. I don't know if that's true.
This is an urban legend. Books come up just fine no matter what their rank. Lower rank does have a correlation with appearing further down the search results pages, but it's not a perfect correlation. There's no magical level where books stop appearing in searches. I have a shorts collection ranked a million and it comes right up. It's not near the top unless I put most of the words in the title in my search, but thst's to be expected.

Since most new authors seem to jump into KU, better authors are getting pushed aside. My editor had a KU sub and canceled it a few months ago; the offered books were so bad that the cost wasn't worth the time to search and read.
Data is not the plural of anecdote. Honestly if there is a single mistake I see repeated in posts many times a day by kboards authors, it's assuming that the way they (or people they know) consume and judge books is the way most people do. KU almost certainly has several million subscribers and there are many, many books by excellent authors in KU. The Amazon Imprint books alone provide many "vetted" authors in many genres. And what do you mean, "better authors" pushed aside? Who decides who's a better author?

I've been out of KU for some months now (thankfully), and have seen my sales compensate. My paperback sales jumped from 10 per month to 40+. I don't know if KU is still having problems, but I'm rather glad I dumped the program and went wide. Wide was a bit of a slow start, it has been accelerating every month. Between paperback increases and wide, my former $300+ per month in page reads has just about been replaced.
I think this is great and it must be a relief to see things picking up. I am wide with all but two books. As authors, we have to make the best decisions we can for our own books and approach. Like many, I don't care for the exclusivity requirement, and I can't give away the first book in my series as a reader magnet if it's in KU. And the even bigger problem is one which you hint at in your first comment - if you're not in KU, it's harder to get visibility because you don't have borrows helping your rank. Those concerns, however, don't mean that KU has bad books or is not doing well.
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Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3179 on: April 21, 2017, 07:04:56 AM »
From Amazon's perspective, do they really, though? They're trying to sell books, not help authors. And as you note, there are ways that authors can maintain visibility, to which list you can add advertising. Or getting picked up by an Amazon imprint. There are plenty of authors who always have books in the top 10,000, so I can't imagine Amazon thinks there is a problem.

I most certainly believe Amazon thinks things are great.


And what do you mean, "better authors" pushed aside? Who decides who's a better author?

Readers decide what they like. As an author and a sometimes editor, when I see many of the "hottest" offerings in KU I often wonder which blind monkey edited it? Blurb errors? Improperly formatted Kindle? Subjectively, I decide if an author is "good" if they take the care to offer their best presentation to the reader. If they can't even be bothered to correct simple errors, they are telling me they don't care about the reader.

However, one cannot argue with a top seller, even if it contains horribly mangled grammar and errors in speech identification.

And the even bigger problem is one which you hint at in your first comment - if you're not in KU, it's harder to get visibility because you don't have borrows helping your rank. Those concerns, however, don't mean that KU has bad books or is not doing well.

I think KU is doing great - for Amazon. And certainly for some authors who do write good books. But there is a flood of new books released every day by new authors - and most pouring into KU. The reader, of course, can decide if it is worth reading something unpolished. In going through the top 100 lists and reading blurbs and peek insides for research, I often find myself cringing. But there it is, they are in the top 100 and not me. I don't complain about my standing, I keep plugging away and my readership grows.

My editor didn't think $9.99 was worth it for the "garbage" she was reading (she used a four-letter word). For her part, I believe she was searching specific genres and not just reading a "bestseller."

As for myself, I'd love to be back in KU - not because of missed sales or income, but just being able to offer some or all of my books in something popular. However, as you said, the exclusivity bothers me and so do the problems I have read about botters inflating legitimate books, reporting them, and getting accounts banned. Those kind of things make me extremely shy of getting back in.

Hopefully those things get addressed.

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3180 on: April 21, 2017, 07:51:55 AM »
As for myself, I'd love to be back in KU - not because of missed sales or income, but just being able to offer some or all of my books in something popular. However, as you said, the exclusivity bothers me and so do the problems I have read about botters inflating legitimate books, reporting them, and getting accounts banned. Those kind of things make me extremely shy of getting back in.

I do hope they fix these things, and it seems like it's something they could do which wouldn't be counter to their other goals. My opinion is that KU would not be successful without Amazon Imprints. The existence of those imprint books is why they were able to ignore the page read problem and why they have been able to ignore decent selling authors leaving in some genres. The one thing we can be sure of is that the details of KU will continue to change. All we can do is monitor them and keep evaluating what makes sense for us.
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Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3181 on: May 06, 2017, 12:33:08 PM »
The loss of page reads has now come up on the KindleUsersForum in the UK.  ::)

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3182 on: May 06, 2017, 03:05:46 PM »
The loss of page reads has now come up on the KindleUsersForum in the UK.  ::)

This is a serious problem and not merely a page-flip problem and needs to be fixed by Amazon. If authors are being shorted page reads in KU because of the way Amazon counts page reads, that's tantamount to fraud. Of course it's not wilful but the effect is the same--a loss of money for the authors. Amazon should either fix it or junk the page read system. To continue with this travesty is both unfair and an insult to all authors.

Offline dn8791

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3183 on: May 06, 2017, 03:40:57 PM »
This is a serious problem and not merely a page-flip problem and needs to be fixed by Amazon. If authors are being shorted page reads in KU because of the way Amazon counts page reads, that's tantamount to fraud. Of course it's not wilful but the effect is the same--a loss of money for the authors. Amazon should either fix it or junk the page read system. To continue with this travesty is both unfair and an insult to all authors.


Considering all the scams and schemes so many indie authors seem to be pulling all over the Amazon platform, Amazon's probably seeing the page-flip thing and calling it even. This whole industry is a mess.


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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3184 on: May 06, 2017, 05:01:21 PM »

Considering all the scams and schemes so many indie authors seem to be pulling all over the Amazon platform, Amazon's probably seeing the page-flip thing and calling it even. This whole industry is a mess.

But this is not a page-flip problem. This is reading to the end of the book (without page-flip) and then going back to the table of contents at the beginning of the book and exiting from there--in which case the author does not get credit for the whole book pages read. KU is obviously recording only the last page before exit, even if the whole book has been read.

Offline Joseph M. Erhardt

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3185 on: May 06, 2017, 07:55:55 PM »
I am seriously disappointed that, after all this time, the Page-Flip and Exit Point problems appear not to have been addressed.  I keep checking this forum, hoping that someone has posted some happy news.

Alas, not.

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Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3186 on: May 07, 2017, 12:45:15 PM »
I am seriously disappointed that, after all this time, the Page-Flip and Exit Point problems appear not to have been addressed.  I keep checking this forum, hoping that someone has posted some happy news.

Alas, not.


^exactly this^

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Offline dn8791

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3187 on: May 07, 2017, 02:29:22 PM »
But this is not a page-flip problem. This is reading to the end of the book (without page-flip) and then going back to the table of contents at the beginning of the book and exiting from there--in which case the author does not get credit for the whole book pages read. KU is obviously recording only the last page before exit, even if the whole book has been read.


Whatever the actual problem is, the point remains, this industry is a mess.


Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3188 on: May 07, 2017, 02:44:47 PM »
Amazon is pulling in floods of new authors and books into KU. I think fixing "minor" problems (compared to those that scam them of $$$) has been pushed far back to the back-burner.

Money first, bug-fixes later. Unfortunately.

Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3189 on: May 08, 2017, 11:32:27 AM »
I'm not sure how to tell if your pages read are turning up okay, but I just went through about six months' worth of sales data and noticed CA has only 1 read showing up. This has happened twice so far. Is that normal, something I should be contacting the zon about?

The one page reads could be due to readers just checking to see if the book has downloaded ok, or it could be due to a reader returning to the beginning of the book before exiting. Sometimes a one page read will increase later - and sometimes not.
Going on what has happened previously, I don't think contacting Amazon will do much good, but no harm in trying  ::).

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3190 on: May 08, 2017, 11:45:13 AM »
The one page reads could be due to readers just checking to see if the book has downloaded ok, or it could be due to a reader returning to the beginning of the book before exiting. Sometimes a one page read will increase later - and sometimes not.
Going on what has happened previously, I don't think contacting Amazon will do much good, but no harm in trying  ::).

There are a number of popular authors with clout in KU (e.g. Hugh Howie). Also some trad pubs. Does anyone know if someone with clout has commented or contacted AZ about the Exit Point problem?

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3191 on: May 08, 2017, 11:59:08 AM »
There are a number of popular authors with clout in KU (e.g. Hugh Howie). Also some trad pubs. Does anyone know if someone with clout has commented or contacted AZ about the Exit Point problem?

If you can manage to read through this lengthy thread you will find that NUMEROUS people have reported it NUMEROUS times with screen shots proof. I had a telephone conversation with a rep and an experiment proved the exit point problem, but unfortunately nothing came of it >:( :(

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Offline IreneP

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3192 on: May 08, 2017, 12:17:05 PM »
But this is not a page-flip problem. This is reading to the end of the book (without page-flip) and then going back to the table of contents at the beginning of the book and exiting from there--in which case the author does not get credit for the whole book pages read. KU is obviously recording only the last page before exit, even if the whole book has been read.

OMG - this is a problem? I do this all the time.

Well, I'm not a subscriber at the moment. But I sort of do this by default because if I open the book again I don't want to be at the end.


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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3193 on: May 08, 2017, 02:32:54 PM »
OMG - this is a problem? I do this all the time.

Well, I'm not a subscriber at the moment. But I sort of do this by default because if I open the book again I don't want to be at the end.

That's why I cancelled my KU subscription. The way I read could very well cost authors page reads. I might skip to the last couple of chapters, read the end (okay, so I sometimes can't stand the suspense), then go back to my bookmark and read up to the last couple of chapters. That could take a huge chunk out of an author's total pages read.



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Offline DanaFraser

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3194 on: May 08, 2017, 04:40:33 PM »
That's why I cancelled my KU subscription. The way I read could very well cost authors page reads. I might skip to the last couple of chapters, read the end (okay, so I sometimes can't stand the suspense), then go back to my bookmark and read up to the last couple of chapters. That could take a huge chunk out of an author's total pages read.

When I was younger and read a ton more, I'd often start in the middle (yeah, skipped the first after maybe the first chapter of figuring out who was who) and read to the end (if it kept me intrigued) then, if I really liked it, go back and read the first half that I had skipped. This was my standard reading protocol for everything other than mysteries. It also made it harder to guess the ending, so I'd be surprised when I got there instead of seeing all the road signs in the first half. Lucky for the KU authors whose books I borrow, I now read front to back.

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3195 on: May 08, 2017, 05:36:58 PM »
If you can manage to read through this lengthy thread you will find that NUMEROUS people have reported it NUMEROUS times with screen shots proof. I had a telephone conversation with a rep and an experiment proved the exit point problem, but unfortunately nothing came of it >:( :(

With all due respect, I don't mean "numerous" people. I mean people with clout, influence, power.

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3196 on: May 08, 2017, 06:10:52 PM »
As I understand it, the closest Amazon has ever gotten to officially admitting there is a problem is Amazon's statement that Page Flip doesn't have a "material" effect upon authors --but no worries, they'll continue to monitor just in case.

Authors thereupon left KU.

So, Amazon created the Storyteller Contest whose condition of entry is that an author enter a new book into KU.

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3197 on: May 08, 2017, 06:24:25 PM »
As I understand it, the closest Amazon has ever gotten to officially admitting there is a problem is Amazon's statement that Page Flip doesn't have a "material" effect upon authors --but no worries, they'll continue to monitor just in case.

Authors thereupon left KU.

So, Amazon created the Storyteller Contest whose condition of entry is that an author enter a new book into KU.

Maybe it's too easy to assume insidious intent. Maybe it's a matter of them not yet knowing how to fix it. They may have to junk the present KU page read system. But replace it with what? KU is very profitable for many authors. I really don't think AZ wants tp cheat anyone. KU is only a tiny part of their revenue. We all say "fix it" but maybe fixing it is not that easy. A little pressure from some people with influence might help.

Offline Seneca42

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3198 on: May 08, 2017, 08:33:11 PM »
Maybe it's too easy to assume insidious intent. Maybe it's a matter of them not yet knowing how to fix it. They may have to junk the present KU page read system. But replace it with what? KU is very profitable for many authors. I really don't think AZ wants tp cheat anyone. KU is only a tiny part of their revenue. We all say "fix it" but maybe fixing it is not that easy. A little pressure from some people with influence might help.

Well, if we look at this through the lens of the "law" ... Amazon is letting people read your work without paying you. Technically they are committing a crime, just not one anyone can officially prove. Now, if they said "We're occassionally having issues that fail to record page reads" then people could choose not to enroll. But their stance has always been that there are no problems, which is a fraudulent statement.

Now, if the TOS says "Issues with our system may result in the occasional sale of your product without you being compensated..." and you agree to that, then that's fine.

Everything zon does in insidious from the perspective that they:

1) Are breaking the law (ie. selling your work without paying you - but rest assured they make sure they always get paid)
2) they know this is happening (so it's being done with absolute forethought)
3) Have made no efforts to correct it or acknowledge it is happening (ie. warn authors of their deficiencies)
4) And we can throw onto this the fact that they pay scammers out your royalty pot (essentially passing on their losses to you).

They can do this though because they are a giant multinational company who does not fear the law and who knows that authors have no way of proving anything because only zon has the data. Even if you did amass said proof, good luck suing them.

I'm not saying Amazon is evil, they are simply like any other big company. Their focus is singular, to make money for themselves.

I don't think they are out to rip authors off, but they sure don't care about what to them is pennies around the margin. It may be a HUGE deal for you that you lose some reads, but to them it's utterly irrelevant. So long as their balance sheet is in the black, and they aren't facing any lawsuits or bad publicity, then there's not only no fire, there's not even smoke.


Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3199 on: May 08, 2017, 09:42:54 PM »
Actually, legally, the thing is, they can define a "page read" any way they want to. That's in the contract you sign. So, before you proved they committed fraud, you'd have to prove your (plain) meaning of "page read" is better than theirs.

And remember, innocent until proven guilty. You may know in your gut they're guilty, but before the law, they're innocent.


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