Author Topic: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video  (Read 24280 times)  

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #125 on: January 04, 2018, 01:32:59 PM »
Folks,

Let!s not discuss each other, keep on topic, thanks.

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Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #126 on: January 04, 2018, 01:45:58 PM »
I'm also sure it won't be a huge surprise for you to hear the truth about these "bad boy authors". I've investigated them. Many started out as authors of crappy non-fiction - 10 page junk titles designed to scam the first iteration of KU.

Least surprising plot twist ever...
That's just it, though, David. The system has been broken since its inception. Some of us here predicted exactly how the system was going to be scammed before KU 1.0 even launched. Switching to page reads allowed Amazon to stop hemorrhaging money on bogus borrows, but 2.0 was even more broken because Amazon has never been able to track actual pages read in their software. And Amazon has zero incentive to fix these problems because they're paid up front by the subscribers and they control the payout so they're essentially guaranteed to make money no matter how many scammed page reads there are. This is why 2.5 years later there is still no page read fix and nothing more than token efforts to keep the scammers out of the top 100 for "visibility" purposes. They don't care. They don't have to as long as the monthly subscriptions keep coming in.

Fixing the program would require Amazon implementing a system that could determine every individual page read. They can't do that. It would require firmware updates for dozens of different devices, running two completely different data collection and reporting systems in parallel effectively forever to cover any devices which weren't upgraded, and the data storage and bandwidth requirements would increase by at least two orders of magnitude. They can't do those things and still make money on the program without slashing the payout to levels that no one would accept or raising the subscription fee so high that their rates would crater. So they don't. But without knowing which individual pages are read there are always going to be ways to game the program.

So the scammers are here to stay because Amazon isn't going to spend the money to do anything about them. The page reads system will never be truly fixed because it can't be. We can beat our heads against the wall about it, but at the end of the day it's just part of the cost of doing business in the program.

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Offline Ava Glass

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #127 on: January 04, 2018, 01:52:22 PM »
It's my understanding that this loophole was not successfully plugged, as many have assumed.

As of August is wasn't fixed on the PC and cloud readers. Other readers however:


I tested someone's book on my phone (Android), and only 7 page-reads were registered, even though I skipped from the beginning to close to the end. I'm about to test another, but this seems pretty darned promising!

Maybe Amazon removed that language about "improving our ability to measure pages read for such cases as non-linear reading" from the site because it doesn't yet apply to the Cloud Reader and could therefore be seen as misleading.


Also, I noticed an example of a stuffed book you posted once didn't have Page Flip enabled. Who knows what happens when an author disables PF.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 02:10:57 PM by Ava Glass »

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #128 on: January 04, 2018, 02:02:16 PM »
Seems fitting.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #129 on: January 04, 2018, 02:10:31 PM »
That's just it, though, David. The system has been broken since its inception. Some of us here predicted exactly how the system was going to be scammed before KU 1.0 even launched. Switching to page reads allowed Amazon to stop hemorrhaging money on bogus borrows, but 2.0 was even more broken because Amazon has never been able to track actual pages read in their software. And Amazon has zero incentive to fix these problems because they're paid up front by the subscribers and they control the payout so they're essentially guaranteed to make money no matter how many scammed page reads there are. This is why 2.5 years later there is still no page read fix and nothing more than token efforts to keep the scammers out of the top 100 for "visibility" purposes. They don't care. They don't have to as long as the monthly subscriptions keep coming in.

Fixing the program would require Amazon implementing a system that could determine every individual page read. They can't do that. It would require firmware updates for dozens of different devices, running two completely different data collection and reporting systems in parallel effectively forever to cover any devices which weren't upgraded, and the data storage and bandwidth requirements would increase by at least two orders of magnitude. They can't do those things and still make money on the program without slashing the payout to levels that no one would accept or raising the subscription fee so high that their rates would crater. So they don't. But without knowing which individual pages are read there are always going to be ways to game the program.

So the scammers are here to stay because Amazon isn't going to spend the money to do anything about them. The page reads system will never be truly fixed because it can't be. We can beat our heads against the wall about it, but at the end of the day it's just part of the cost of doing business in the program.

It's true that there will always be scammers.

It's part of the human condition because there are always people with broken consciences who don't care as long as they are lining their own pockets.

That doesn't mean that the rest of us with intact consciences should throw our hands up and say "That's life". We don't do that about murder or rape or theft or other acts that are outlawed.

If it wasn't for people complaining to Amazon, both customers and authors, (but mostly customers. Let's face it -- Amazon really only cares about customers -- not authors) Amazon may have done nothing. In fact, they probably wouldn't have because all they really care about is whether the program keeps performing its function of drawing new customers into Amazon.

We have to keep pushing if we hope that Amazon will do anything, because the easiest -- and cheapest -- thing for them is to let things stay as they are.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #130 on: January 04, 2018, 02:12:17 PM »
It isn't an either/or. We can feel that Amazon has a screwed up system and those that stuff/etc are scammy.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #131 on: January 04, 2018, 02:16:27 PM »
Also, regarding getting paid for the same book 10 times. Now, I'm not in KU but I'm pretty sure authors are paid once per account/read. If so, aren't those who are paid more than once circumventing the terms. Isn't that exactly why they do this? To "try" to get around the TOS to make money that they should not be making under the rules.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #132 on: January 04, 2018, 02:18:23 PM »
Also, regarding getting paid for the same book 10 times. Now, I'm not in KU but I'm pretty sure authors are paid once per account/read. If so, aren't those who are paid more than once circumventing the terms. Isn't that exactly why they do this? To "try" to get around the TOS to make money that they should not be making under the rules.

That's it.

They wouldn't do this except for KU's broken page read system. They wouldn't bundle up 15 books in a print volume and charge 99c for it. Nope.

It's really simple to understand.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #133 on: January 04, 2018, 02:20:53 PM »
As of August is wasn't fixed on the PC and cloud readers. Other readers however:
It isn't fixed. Most of the older devices - of which there are no telling how many millions - have not received firmware updates in years.  And there are dozens of videos of people demonstrating on test books that it is not fixed on their devices. It is an enormous problem from a technical standpoint, and I doubt Amazon fully understood how difficult at the time they decided to change over. It was almost certainly a knee-jerk reaction to the KU 1.0 scamming issues which they intended to rectify using the "Last Page Read" feature without any real consideration for how easy that would be to scam. Much like how they pushed the Page Flip feature which made the problem significantly worse. Minimal beta testing would have revealed the problem, so they either didn't do it or they didn't care. My money would be on didn't care, especially considering their complete denial that the problem exists despite it being so easy to replicate.

Amazon fixes problems that they want fixed and ignore the others. For example, about three years ago I discovered that the keywords for a number of my books were "stuck." I keep records of them going back to initial publication and I stumbled across the fact that while they were being updated on the KDP dashboard side, the changes were not propagating to the search engine. I got it escalated up to their tech guys, was able to demonstrate that the search engine was not using the keywords that were in KDP, and they agreed it was an issue and they'd get back to me. Two years later it still wasn't fixed and I gave up worrying about it. Whatever the problem was, they weren't going to fix it because it wasn't an issue that was costing them money or "broke" the site.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #134 on: January 04, 2018, 02:27:53 PM »
It isn't fixed. Most of the older devices - of which there are no telling how many millions - have not received firmware updates in years.

Sure. Older ereaders could very well count skipped reads. However, it is an error to not acknowledge that a partial fix occurred with KENPC 3.0--not as a call to stop discussing the issue, but merely as fact.

And there are dozens of videos of people demonstrating on test books that it is not fixed on their devices.


Were these videos made before or after KENPC 3.0?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 02:34:16 PM by Ava Glass »

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #135 on: January 04, 2018, 02:29:52 PM »
I'm also sure it won't be a huge surprise for you to hear the truth about these "bad boy authors". I've investigated them. Many started out as authors of crappy non-fiction - 10 page junk titles designed to scam the first iteration of KU.

Least surprising plot twist ever...

David, I've always been a fan of yours, but I have to say, your focus on "bad boy" authors makes it harder to take your issues seriously. You may not realize it, but romance authors have been called scammers for all matter of things that are just good marketing. This is especially true in more sexy and trendy romance.

Now, I know the authors you are talking about and they do indeed write bad boy romances. But it's legitimate bad boy romance authors who are hurt most by their shady tactics. The vast majority of bad boy romance authors are not doing anything black hat.

Again, as much as I hate stuffing, Amazon's continued inaction makes it clear to me that stuffing if allowed. If it's allowed, people will do it. Debating ethics is entertaining, but, at the end of the day, it doesn't do anything to change people's behavior.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #136 on: January 04, 2018, 02:30:45 PM »
Most of the older devices - of which there are no telling how many millions - have not received firmware updates in years. 
Are you sure? I still have a 2009 Kindle and another from 2011 and both get regular firmware updates. By "regular" I mean at least once a year. At least I think. I had the 2011 one out (I just keep it for emergencies) about two months ago and an update went through the minute I put it on the wi-fi. The other one has Amazon's old wi-fi (the one where it just hooks up to the server) and it updated last time I booted it up about four months ago.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #137 on: January 04, 2018, 02:37:37 PM »
In that case you would be putting an excerpt chapter to entice a reader to look at another book, which is not stuffing. What reason would there be to stuff twenty books -- including a cook book, scraped Wikipedia content, stolen erotica, bad translations and a public domain history textbook -- after the initial book?

Exactly. I think people who aren't trying to do something shady are pretty much capable of using common sense. Does the advertised book end at 20% of the total book? OK that is bullsh-- territory.

Is it an extra chapter to advertise your next book? No one will complain.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #138 on: January 04, 2018, 02:38:48 PM »
David, I've always been a fan of yours, but I have to say, your focus on "bad boy" authors makes it harder to take your issues seriously.

Why? Why on earth would that make it difficult to take the issue seriously? It's an accurate name for a current bunch of scammity scammers. They're morphing into some new creature so perhaps a rename will come, although why you want it, I don't know.

Quote
You may not realize it, but romance authors have been called scammers for all matter of things that are just good marketing. This is especially true in more sexy and trendy romance.

Not David but I'm pretty sure he knows what's what here. If you feel he's somehow calling all "bad boy" author scammers, you are mistaken. If not, I don't understand why you would care.

Quote
Now, I know the authors you are talking about and they do indeed write bad boy romances. But it's legitimate bad boy romance authors who are hurt most by their shady tactics. The vast majority of bad boy romance authors are not doing anything black hat.


Pretty sure he's never implied they are. He's ON THE GOOD AUTHORS' SIDE. Why do you think he does this? For fun? To help those who are most affected.

Quote
Again, as much as I hate stuffing, Amazon's continued inaction makes it clear to me that stuffing if allowed. If it's allowed, people will do it. Debating ethics is entertaining, but, at the end of the day, it doesn't do anything to change people's behavior.

LOL. Stuffing is NOT allowed. Amazon's failure to properly enforce their rules on any sort of consistent basis doesn't mean they don't exist. I can't grok this mentality.

Ethical discussions are critical. Clearly, from this thread they are needed now more than ever.

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Offline Ava Glass

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #139 on: January 04, 2018, 02:40:20 PM »
Are you sure? I still have a 2009 Kindle and another from 2011 and both get regular firmware updates. By "regular" I mean at least once a year. At least I think. I had the 2011 one out (I just keep it for emergencies) about two months ago and an update went through the minute I put it on the wi-fi. The other one has Amazon's old wi-fi (the one where it just hooks up to the server) and it updated last time I booted it up about four months ago.

There was once an update that older Kindles had to download or lose internet connectivity.

https://the-digital-reader.com/2016/03/23/how-to-manually-update-your-kindle-if-you-miss-the-deadline/

Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #140 on: January 04, 2018, 02:42:33 PM »
It's true that there will always be scammers.

It's part of the human condition because there are always people with broken consciences who don't care as long as they are lining their own pockets.

That doesn't mean that the rest of us with intact consciences should throw our hands up and say "That's life". We don't do that about murder or rape or theft or other acts that are outlawed.

If it wasn't for people complaining to Amazon, both customers and authors, (but mostly customers. Let's face it -- Amazon really only cares about customers -- not authors) Amazon may have done nothing. In fact, they probably wouldn't have because all they really care about is whether the program keeps performing its function of drawing new customers into Amazon.

We have to keep pushing if we hope that Amazon will do anything, because the easiest -- and cheapest -- thing for them is to let things stay as they are.
The problem with this is that our pushing - and a lot of people have pushed and complained - has accomplished exactly nothing since the 2.0 rollout. The things that they could do would add enough overhead to the cost of the system that it would no longer be sustainable. Fix page reads. Follow iTunes' lead and require that every single book be reviewed by a live human being before it goes live. Either of these would largely eliminate the problem. But Amazon won't (or can't) do them because of the associated costs. Those are the ONLY ways to fix the problems with KU. Anything else would just be yet another hack which would open up more loopholes for the scammers. Unless the underlying problems are fixed, the program is going to remain broken and all the complaints in the world aren't going to change anything.

Are you sure? I still have a 2009 Kindle and another from 2011 and both get regular firmware updates. By "regular" I mean at least once a year. At least I think. I had the 2011 one out (I just keep it for emergencies) about two months ago and an update went through the minute I put it on the wi-fi. The other one has Amazon's old wi-fi (the one where it just hooks up to the server) and it updated last time I booted it up about four months ago.
Amanda, it was true as of the last time I had checked which I'll admit was a while ago - back before Page Flip was implemented. Many of those older devices hadn't gotten firmware updates in 2-3 years at the time, which was a strong argument in support of the fact that they simply were not capable of doing what Amazon claimed. Amazon is now publishing the source code for a lot of their firmware updates. An enterprising girl who was so inclined could dig into that and probably get a better idea as to what is actually going on under the hood with respect to these things. It isn't going to be me, though. Life is too short. :)

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #141 on: January 04, 2018, 02:43:01 PM »
There was once an update that older Kindles had to download or lose internet connectivity.

https://the-digital-reader.com/2016/03/23/how-to-manually-update-your-kindle-if-you-miss-the-deadline/
I remember. I did the update so as not to lose the reader but now it updates whenever I turn it on, which is like once a year. I honestly don't know why I still keep it.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #142 on: January 04, 2018, 02:45:39 PM »
Again, if you write a book so good that someone reads it 10 times, you deserve to be paid more. If you're worried about people taking a piece of your pie by reading someone else's book 10 times, then write books your readers want to read 10 times.

I... what?

Are we pretending that there are a significant portion of readers who like to read the same book ten times? That's not a real thing.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #143 on: January 04, 2018, 02:48:01 PM »
I... what?

Are we pretending that there are a significant portion of readers who like to read the same book ten times? That's not a real thing.

Yeah, I know. People have thrown that out as an example, though, so I responded.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #144 on: January 04, 2018, 02:48:46 PM »
I... what?

Are we pretending that there are a significant portion of readers who like to read the same book ten times? That's not a real thing.

I won't argue the adjective 'significant' but there are definitely a lot of people I know who re-read favorite books yearly, or even more often. That said, they're likely to have purchased such books rather than borrowed via KU or another subscription service.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #145 on: January 04, 2018, 02:53:24 PM »
David, I've always been a fan of yours, but I have to say, your focus on "bad boy" authors makes it harder to take your issues seriously. You may not realize it, but romance authors have been called scammers for all matter of things that are just good marketing. This is especially true in more sexy and trendy romance.

Now, I know the authors you are talking about and they do indeed write bad boy romances. But it's legitimate bad boy romance authors who are hurt most by their shady tactics. The vast majority of bad boy romance authors are not doing anything black hat.

Crystal, I'm not trying to make generalizations. I'm trying to keep within the strict parameters set by the mods. If they want me to be explicit and name names, I have mountains of actual evidence, screenshots and the like, to back up every single claim.

It seems they don't want names named, so I have to use some form of words to express who I am talking about.

The group I am talking about is well known to most people. They write bad boy romances. They all engage in book stuffing. Many use ghostwriters. Many squat in inappropriate cats. Many use click here inducements. Many incentivize reviews and engage in mass gifting.

The people are generally known to those paying attention, I wish I could be more explicit.

I'm obviously not talking about all people who write bad boy romance. That is the sandpit in which they have chosen to play. If you have a better identifier for this group of people, I'm all ears.
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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #146 on: January 04, 2018, 02:54:13 PM »
I won't argue the adjective 'significant' but there are definitely a lot of people I know who re-read favorite books yearly, or even more often. That said, they're likely to have purchased such books rather than borrowed via KU or another subscription service.

For the past month or so I've been rereading paperbacks that I bought 20+ years ago--some for the fifth or sixth time.  Not to mention how often I pull down Conan Doyle, Jane Austen, or other writers on my "keepers" list from my bookshelf.
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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #147 on: January 04, 2018, 02:57:08 PM »
OK, there are people who read old paperbacks repeatedly. But we are talking about KU books and book stuffing. If you want to read the same book ten times, it would make sense to keep it in your kindle instead of borrowing another book and reading it at the end of ten other books. That makes no sense.

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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #148 on: January 04, 2018, 02:57:58 PM »
Again, if you write a book so good that someone reads it 10 times, you deserve to be paid more. If you're worried about people taking a piece of your pie by reading someone else's book 10 times, then write books your readers want to read 10 times.

That's like saying that since I like my new truck so much, I should pay the dealer two or more times as much?

No, you write a book, you sell the book, and the reader reads it as many times as they want. But, the author only gets paid once. Same with KU, if you liked the book and want to read it again, fine. But, the author doesn't get paid again just because you read it again.

Slipping Book A into the backmatter of Book B, with Book C after that is a scam. Slipping Books A and B into the back matter of Book C with Book D after that is an even bigger scam. You can call it any politically correct thing or brilliant marketing idea you like, but anyone with a strong moral compass will say, "No, that's just wrong."



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Re: KU Page Stuffing Explained - Helpful Video
« Reply #149 on: January 04, 2018, 03:02:10 PM »
OK, there are people who read old paperbacks repeatedly. But we are talking about KU books and book stuffing. If you want to read the same book ten times, it would make sense to keep it in your kindle instead of borrowing another book and reading it at the end of ten other books. That makes no sense.

Kind of off topic, but I don't think I've ever read a book more than once. (Except Frog and Toad when I was, like, 8). My TBR pile has about a thousand books in it. There's no way I'm going to miss out reading a new book to read one I've already read.

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