Author Topic: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]  (Read 52381 times)  

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Offline FelissaEly

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2018, 08:48:59 AM »
So happy about this, came across one the other day that was listed at over 3,000 pages-blatantly stuffed with a bunch of books that they also published individually, essentially 'double dipping' I really hope this will improve things on Amazon.


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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2018, 09:18:04 AM »
I wish Amazon had done this long ago, but it's good to know the company is taking action now. In the long run, allowing such nonsense to continue is damaging to Amazon's reputation.


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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Yes, Virginia, Amazon really does object to book stuffing
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2018, 09:20:40 AM »
https://twitter.com/DavidGaughran/status/981893826288803840

From David Gaughran this morning:

"HUGE NEWS: Amazon has filed suit against a UK self-publisher in Washington federal court, seeking to confirm an arbitration award against him for using clickfarms and bots AND BOOK STUFFING."

David explains more as the article is behind a paywall. Whenever this topic has come up here, folks who do this have said it's fine with Amazon despite emails that explicitly say it's not fine. They have pointed to Amazon's inaction against it as evidence--and, well, it's been hard to argue with that. If it really violated Amazon's TOS, wouldn't they do something?

Well, now they have.

David provides quotes from the stories to show this:

"Amazon's demand also explicitly said that book stuffing and rank manipulation artificially increase the payout at the expense of other authors."

Worth a read.

ETA: Kristen beat me to it!

Offline dgaughran

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2018, 09:21:11 AM »
Can't wait to see what all the stuffer-defenders have to say about this.

I'd imagine there's a lot of formatting going on right now :)


Edited to remove names. Evenstar, Moderator.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 01:34:55 PM by Evenstar »
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Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2018, 09:27:39 AM »
Is this farewell to the box set and collection market?    :(

Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2018, 09:28:06 AM »
Folks,

This is an important topic of interest to the community. (Thank you, Kristen, for posting.)  Advance warning, we'll be watching this thread closely. Let's keep the discussion to the issues involved and avoid personal comments, thanks.

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Offline countwordsmith

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2018, 09:29:31 AM »
What is book stuffing? It doesn't mean you can't have box sets, does it? And have the individual books still on sale?

Offline EB

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2018, 09:31:29 AM »
Glad to see Amazon has cracked down on that nonsense. Also glad to see that they specifically mentioned book stuffing and how it affects other authors in the program. Amazon unquestionably states that YES, these scam practices DO affect all authors in KU, and are TOS violations.






And IMO, there are a few people that owe David an apology.

Offline dgaughran

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2018, 09:32:18 AM »
What is book stuffing? It doesn't mean you can't have box sets, does it? And have the individual books still on sale?

Book stuffing is when authors take all their books and stuff them into the back of every other book to artificially inflate their page count, and thus their Kindle Unlimited payout, at the expense of their fellow authors. Some authors even stuff in newsletters to inflate the page count as much as possible.

The authors in this particular case have also been accused - by Amazon - of using clickfarms and bots, and purchasing reviews - a huge surprise to everyone, I'm sure.
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Offline Steve Voelker

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2018, 09:33:53 AM »
I'm glad they are doing something about it.

But my biggest issue is that it never should have worked in the first place. Amazon told us they knew EXACTLY how many pages were being read in KU books. We trusted them to keep track without any transparency whatsoever. Then this came along and showed us they weren't tracking pages the way they had promised they were all along.

It is still amazing to me that a large group of authors is willing to sign onto a program where they don't know what they are being paid upfront, and not only is the formula used to calculate payment 100% behind closed doors, but has been proven to be inaccurate and easily manipulated.

The whole program is shady af.


Offline countwordsmith

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2018, 09:38:16 AM »
Book stuffing is when authors take all their books and stuff them into the back of every other book to artificially inflate their page count, and thus their Kindle Unlimited payout, at the expense of their fellow authors. Some authors even stuff in newsletters to inflate the page count as much as possible.

The authors in this particular case have also been accused - by Amazon - of using clickfarms and bots, and purchasing reviews - a huge surprise to everyone, I'm sure.

Ah, okay, thanks. I wonder about a limit to back matter though. I hardly have any (just one page) but then there are authors with several pages of info, including the first chapter of the next book. With this, a first chapter of the following book in a series that is already on sale would be prohibited if they cracked down on it as well.

Offline EB

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2018, 09:41:21 AM »
Is this farewell to the box set and collection market?    :(

What I was told by KDP:
Amazon allows box sets in KU; books in the KU box set must be exclusive to Amazon and may not be published by more than one account. So you can include your book in a multi-author KU boxset, but you cannot list that book individually for sale via your own KDP account. Authors are permitted to package their own books into box sets and publish via their own account. Box sets must clearly list the contents on the product page, and links in the front of the book skipping to the back are not permitted. Publishing the same book repeatedly under different titles in order to inflate page count is not permitted.

I want to say Amazon knows the difference between a stuffed book and a legitimate box set. One provides a poor customer experience; the other provides a good customer experience. I'd like to say they won't go after legitimate box sets, but it truly beats the heck outta me most days trying to figure out what Amazon is going to do next. :-X
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 09:43:46 AM by EB »

Offline The Fussy Librarian

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2018, 09:44:19 AM »
Glad to see Amazon pursuing this. I hope they commit the legal resources needed to collect damages. Otherwise, these people will just pop up under a new name and continue to scam the system.

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Offline dgaughran

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2018, 09:46:10 AM »
This discussion comes up in every stuffing thread. I'll make it simple:

Genuine bonus content - as in a chapter of the next in the series = fine.

Actual box sets advertised as such etc. = fine.

Stuffing several novels and/or newsletters in the back of all of your books to inflate your page count and payout = cheating and against the TOS.


It's really not that complicated, with respect. If you want to dig into the finer points, there are multiple older threads where all these hairs are split repeatedly.
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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2018, 09:46:40 AM »
I've always wished they'd just say one title, one book, period in KU and be done with it. Like when you file a single-title copyright with the copyright office. Crystal clear, easy to enforce. Sadly, they don't ask me for my fabulous suggestions! But I wouldn't be surprised if that happens. Single title, max 1,000 KENPC or the like.

Offline FelissaEly

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2018, 09:47:32 AM »
Is this farewell to the box set and collection market?    :(

I don't see why this would be good-bye to single author box sets, box sets aren't 'stuffing' unless somehow they are (I genuinely don't know, haven't come across a stuffed box set though I also haven't looked that hard). What I've typically seen is a single book by an author that is somehow thousands of pages and the look inside confirms through the table of contents that they have their other individual titles listed after the 'main content' of the book AND also available for sale alone.

There used to be great information about boxed sets in Amazon's KDP help pages... but now I can't find it *sigh*

Anywho! I don't see it affecting legitimate box sets.


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Offline Ryan W. Mueller

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2018, 09:50:59 AM »
What I was told by KDP:
Amazon allows box sets in KU; books in the KU box set must be exclusive to Amazon and may not be published by more than one account. So you can include your book in a multi-author KU boxset, but you cannot list that book individually for sale via your own KDP account. Authors are permitted to package their own books into box sets and publish via their own account. Box sets must clearly list the contents on the product page, and links in the front of the book skipping to the back are not permitted. Publishing the same book repeatedly under different titles in order to inflate page count is not permitted.

I want to say Amazon knows the difference between a stuffed book and a legitimate box set. One provides a poor customer experience; the other provides a good customer experience. I'd like to say they won't go after legitimate box sets, but it truly beats the heck outta me most days trying to figure out what Amazon is going to do next. :-X

Thanks for posting this. I was wondering about box sets because I'm planning on doing one for my first series once I get the whole thing published. I was worried I couldn't put it into KU like the original books.

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Offline dgaughran

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2018, 09:51:18 AM »
I've always wished they'd just say one title, one book, period in KU and be done with it. Like when you file a single-title copyright with the copyright office. Crystal clear, easy to enforce. Sadly, they don't ask me for my fabulous suggestions! But I wouldn't be surprised if that happens. Single title, max 1,000 KENPC or the like.

Ultimately Amazon might have to implement one of these cruder solutions because these guys are relentless, and will find any hole in the fence (and any way to justify cheating the system and their fellow authors).

It would be sad to see innocent authors punished by not getting paid for genuine content that exceeds 1000 KENPC (which is often a good deal less than 1000 book pages) or not being able to use box sets. Maybe the time has come for box sets, with all the various shenanigans surrounding them.

But maybe it doesn't have to be that terrible. If Amazon brought in a rule saying one piece of content can only exist once in the Kindle Store, one presumes that would be easier to police in an automated sense. And if they allowed us some kind of paperback-esque bundling options, that could replace the marketing power of box sets, particular if we had some kind of control over the deals presented etc.

The solutions don't have to be all terrible. The status quo couldn't continue though.
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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2018, 09:54:08 AM »
Ultimately Amazon might have to implement one of these cruder solutions because these guys are relentless, and will find any hole in the fence (and any way to justify cheating the system and their fellow authors).

It would be sad to see innocent authors punished by not getting paid for genuine content that exceeds 1000 KENPC (which is often a good deal less than 1000 book pages) or not being able to use box sets. Maybe the time has come for box sets, with all the various shenanigans surrounding them.

But maybe it doesn't have to be that terrible. If Amazon brought in a rule saying one piece of content can only exist once in the Kindle Store, one presumes that would be easier to police in an automated sense. And if they allowed us some kind of paperback-esque bundling options, that could replace the marketing power of box sets, particular if we had some kind of control over the deals presented etc.

The solutions don't have to be all terrible. The status quo couldn't continue though.
Agree on all that. Especially the slipping-through-the-hole-in-the-fence thing. I suspect the enforceable-by-automation solution will have to be pretty cut & dried.

Offline EB

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2018, 10:03:10 AM »
Agree on all that. Especially the slipping-through-the-hole-in-the-fence thing. I suspect the enforceable-by-automation solution will have to be pretty cut & dried.

Agree it would need to be strict via automation. I wonder if they could come up with a button in the KDP dashboard to "combine" several of your own books into a box set and publish it, with the restriction that each book can only be combined in one box set. That could easily be automated.

Offline solo

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2018, 10:04:00 AM »
Can't wait to see what all the stuffer-defenders have to say about this.

I'd imagine there's a lot of formatting going on right now :)

LOL. And a lot of lawyer consults.





edited quoted post.  --Betsy
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 11:18:54 AM by Betsy the Quilter »

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2018, 10:11:03 AM »
Agree it would need to be strict via automation. I wonder if they could come up with a button in the KDP dashboard to "combine" several of your own books into a box set and publish it, with the restriction that each book can only be combined in one box set. That could easily be automated.
I've been wishing for something like this for years. A virtual box set would solve a lot of the problems and be easy to implement. Readers would have the option to buy titles individually or all at once. authors would have the option of whether to discount and how much to discount. It would seem to be easier for everyone.


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Offline dgaughran

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2018, 10:11:54 AM »
If you want to see the most relevant sections from the Court docs, I just put them up on Twitter.

Here: https://twitter.com/DavidGaughran/status/981939963607552001

And here: https://twitter.com/DavidGaughran/status/981941113576738816

As you can see, Amazon is explicitly stating that (a) stuffing is against the TOS, (b) that all authors were harmed by stuffing, and (c) that these stuffers also used clickfarms and bots.
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