Author Topic: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]  (Read 50078 times)  

Offline lilywhite

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #100 on: April 05, 2018, 03:02:42 PM »
Would you like Jeff to get a tattoo?

I have a little crush on Jeff, and would love for him to get some tattoos.

Offline lilywhite

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #101 on: April 05, 2018, 03:04:31 PM »
The lesson kboards seems to be teaching me these days is: I'm naive.

Think of it less as "I'm naive" and more "I don't think like a criminal."

Seriously, just about every time Dave tells me some new thing he just discovered folks are doing to cheat, I'm like ".... how did they think of that?"

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #102 on: April 05, 2018, 03:05:53 PM »
Would you like Jeff to get a tattoo?
I snorted while eating lunch. Not pretty.

Also--yeah, he's that sexy bald. On his bicep? Works for me.

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #103 on: April 05, 2018, 03:10:16 PM »
This isnt about clearly labeled box sets, or a small story / chapter at the end of a big one.

This is about putting multiple other books (usually also for sale on their own or in multiple stuffed books), at the end of the one being advertised / sold.   

These arent sold as box sets or anthologies, usually just with a vague includes bonus content note (if anything) on them.  This isnt a case of the main book ending at, say, 80% and the rest being bonus material. This is a case where the bonus material itself takes up the vast majority of the file space.

Thanks so much for explaining this, Rick.


Offline lilywhite

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #104 on: April 05, 2018, 03:15:12 PM »
I snorted while eating lunch. Not pretty.

Also--yeah, he's that sexy bald. On his bicep? Works for me.

Yeah, I can't explain it exactly, particularly given that he laughs like Wallace Shawn in The Princess Bride, but just .... I dunno, man. I could for-sure write a billionaire romance starring him and me.

I bet you wish you never said that tattoo thing, Dave!

Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #105 on: April 05, 2018, 03:16:14 PM »
I only know my reading habits, and I wouldn't reread many books (mostly beloved series), but maybe that's just me. I assumed that this would only appeal to new readers, thus duplicate reads would be negligible except for using bots.

Again, you dont need to rely on everyone doing this. Even if just a small percentage are re-readers thats still money in the bank that youre not entitled to. 


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Online Crystal_

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #106 on: April 05, 2018, 03:17:26 PM »
It may state this clearly in the court docs, but 99.9% of authors won't see that.


Bull. Don't speak for 99% of authors and claim that they believe as you do or do as you do. They don't. It YOU who are in the minority.

To the majority the rules are crystal clear, but to you they are Crystal clear. Its called cognitive dissonance.

I don't think you understand me.

What I'm saying is that 99.9% of authors aren't on Kboards, aren't following this on Twitter, aren't aware anything is happening at all.

Amazon needs to do something like it does with the monthly rate--send out an email announcing a policy change (bc last time I looked, bonus content as it's used was allowed) in actual, clear language. Until then, most people won't be aware.

They also need to enforce the role regularly, or else people will keep doing it.

If that happens, I'll believe that things will change.

Offline Randall Wood

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #107 on: April 05, 2018, 03:23:20 PM »
I don't think you understand me.

What I'm saying is that 99.9% of authors aren't on Kboards, aren't following this on Twitter, aren't aware anything is happening at all.

Amazon needs to do something like it does with the monthly rate--send out an email announcing a policy change (bc last time I looked, bonus content as it's used was allowed) in actual, clear language. Until then, most people won't be aware.

They also need to enforce the role regularly, or else people will keep doing it.

If that happens, I'll believe that things will change.

A policy change?

The policy is already right there in black and white, and now backed up by court documents.  There's no reason to change the policy as it already says what it needs to say.

And just because there isn't a rep hovering over you and enforcing the rule doesn't make it any less illegal.

"Everyone else is doing it" is a little kid excuse.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 03:37:56 AM by Ann in Arlington »


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Offline dgaughran

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #108 on: April 05, 2018, 03:24:23 PM »
If that happens, I'll believe that things will change.

Maybe channel your inner Ghandi and be the change you wish to see in the world.
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Offline Just Griff

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #109 on: April 05, 2018, 03:30:46 PM »
Again, you dont need to rely on everyone doing this. Even if just a small percentage are re-readers thats still money in the bank that youre not entitled to.

I get your point. I was just explaining my line of thinking to illustrate why I assumed some authors had better intentions than that. If their goal is duplicate reads from their own readership, that's a lot of effort for very little reward (whether they are entitled to it or not), that is unless they're using bots (or Amazon is still counting the skip/jump to the back reads). But as David stated, there's a lot we aren't even discussing, so clearly I'm in the dark.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 03:33:00 PM by Just Griff »

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #110 on: April 05, 2018, 03:34:50 PM »
It's about time!

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #111 on: April 05, 2018, 03:42:57 PM »
I'm still confused, lol. Maybe I'm just not reading up on it enough since I decided not to go the KU route. (I didn't see how I could afford to market a full-length book that is going to bring in, what, like $1 each in page reads? Since I'm not exactly anticipating hitting the top 100, let alone the top 20, in Romance, for visibility.) Most of the competition is in KU, though, so I try to keep up.

So for 'bonus' content to count as being duplicate content, does it have to currently be available in another KU work? Or can an author just stuff away, in their most recent KU title, if the bonus content is coming from old backlist stuff that is no longer offered via KU? I get the impression that most of the high-ranking stuffers have dozens of old titles laying around (and making negligible sales). Can they just mix and match from their old stuff, as long as there is no overlap in what they're currently offering through KU?

Offline dgaughran

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #112 on: April 05, 2018, 03:49:41 PM »
Can they just mix and match from their old stuff, as long as there is no overlap in what they're currently offering through KU?

It's usually the same content stuffed over and over again across their catalog. Amazon actually specifically pointed out that this gives them extra promo days and the like which is another unfair advantage we never discussed (good catch, Amazon).

One notorious author doesn't have enough books to hit the 3000 KENPC limit so she stuffs in her newsletters. Across all her books.

Actually true.
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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #113 on: April 05, 2018, 03:53:08 PM »
A lot of high profile authors could stop stuffing and still make a living, but why would they?

How about because it's the right thing to do?

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Offline FelissaEly

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #114 on: April 05, 2018, 03:57:05 PM »
Yes, but the people who want to continue to do it (and take money out of your pocket while they do) would prefer that you not think about this.

The fact is that vague questions like "is bonus content okay?" get a yes. Specific questions like "Can I take Published Book A and Published Book B, both of which are in KU, and put them at the back of my next release, Book C?" the answer is no. I've asked it several times, in several ways.

But whatever floats your [general you, not you you, Felissa :) ) boat. "Because I'm gonna get mine even if it's not right" has never been my business philosophy and it never will be.

Right, this is why I'm baffled that someone can think it's "bonus content" and tried to make that a point with my question but I don't think it worked >.>

I do not believe already published books are bonus content just because you add them at the end of a book and go "HEY LOOK BONUS, AIMIRIGHT?"

I'm also not saying that bonus content is not allowed, I'm saying that they really have no idea what "bonus content" means or maybe we all just have different definitions for some reason? But a book I can already buy on Amazon stuffed into another book also on Amazon is not a bonus in my mind. That's like if DVDs suddenly said "Hey, bonus content of these three movies but in random order, yay!" Um.. okay? haha Bonus content to me is the outtakes, the deleted scenes, commentary, etc...

But you're right, whatever floats their boat until it sinks in a fiery wreck   :D


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Offline Shelley K

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #115 on: April 05, 2018, 04:09:24 PM »
I'm still confused, lol. Maybe I'm just not reading up on it enough since I decided not to go the KU route. (I didn't see how I could afford to market a full-length book that is going to bring in, what, like $1 each in page reads? Since I'm not exactly anticipating hitting the top 100, let alone the top 20, in Romance, for visibility.) Most of the competition is in KU, though, so I try to keep up.

So for 'bonus' content to count as being duplicate content, does it have to currently be available in another KU work? Or can an author just stuff away, in their most recent KU title, if the bonus content is coming from old backlist stuff that is no longer offered via KU? I get the impression that most of the high-ranking stuffers have dozens of old titles laying around (and making negligible sales). Can they just mix and match from their old stuff, as long as there is no overlap in what they're currently offering through KU?

I don't think it matters if the bonus books are in KU or not. If they are, people will shout double-dipping. If they're not, there are still people here who will hate them for cheating according to their definitions. Amazon doesn't do anything about it one way or another, unless like in this case they detect massive clickfarming efforts and/or multiple accounts.

I'm glad they stopped a botter, but I think people are celebrating the downfall of so-called "bad boy stuffers" prematurely.

I suspect this Dryan person, since they were using clickfarms and bots, took a bunch of books, published them as one, then changed the order to publish them again as several different volumes, so that a different book was first in each of the five that are referenced. So every publication had the exact same content as every other one, tip to top, but in a different order. I don't think there's ever been a question of whether or not that's a violation. They created new books by mixing up the same content every time, then botting and clickfarming them to the bestseller list. Pretty clear.

I don't do bonus books, never have, but if I wrote a book and wanted to use a backlist book that wasn't selling much as a bonus to try to get some fresh eyes on it, I'd do it without worry. But I wouldn't be clickfarming to get it to chart, and I wouldn't link to it from the front, and I wouldn't put six books in there, and reorder them and use those same six books to create five new titles, nor would I use the same book(s) as shuffled around bonuses for other books.

Currently, there's a lot of Book 1 series volumes that also contain the next five books in the series, or contain several other books by the same author, that chart regularly and high. I don't care about that. The number of people who will reread a book just because it's there at the end of one they just finished is statistically insignificant. In the case of a book containing the next several in its series as a bonus, well, if the first book's good enough the reader goes on to read the rest . . . *shrug*. Same as if they'd downloaded them separately. My only personal problem is when they cheat with links to jump over content and get it count, clickfarms and bots. People who just add a bonus book or two that readers can choose to read or not are not the ones causing problems.

Even this Dryan guy clickbotted, farmed and linked with the same content over and over, judging from the wording of things. They didn't go after him because he had bonus content tacked onto the end of new books, they went after him because of multiple accounts and the clear cheating of clickfarming all those duplicate titles.

I know what the court document says, but for all practical purposes, it doesn't mean a lot until they take action on more than a handful of people at a time. None of us knows if anything much will actually change in those bestseller charts going forward. I'm in the "believe it when I see it" camp.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 04:12:38 PM by Shelley K »

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #116 on: April 05, 2018, 04:10:24 PM »
A policy change?

The policy is already right there in black and white, and now backed up by court documents. Its YOU that refuses to to believe it means what it says. Instead you CHOOSE to believe what YOU want it to say. There's no reason to change the policy as it already says what it needs to say.

And just because there isn't a rep hovering over you and enforcing the rule doesn't make it any less illegal. Again, that's YOU justifying your actions in a weak attempt to excuse YOUR behavior.

"Everyone else is doing it" is a little kid excuse.

You're 100% wrong. You could not be more wrong. I desperately want bonus content to be against the rules. I hate bonus content. If I had a magic wand and could make it against the rules, I would do so in a heartbeat. If I was reading this to see what I wanted to see, I'd see it as the end of bonus content. That is what I want.

But I live in reality. And, in reality, bonus content has clearly been allowed for the last few years.

The policy is right here, and it says nothing about bonus books not being allowed. There's no mention in the Content Guidelines. There's also no mention of duplicate content or bonus content (other than it should not appear before the main content) under the Guide to Kindle Content Quality.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202018960
Bonus Content
If you choose to include bonus content (e.g. other stories, or previews of other books), it should be relevant to the customer and should not disrupt the reading experience. To meet these guidelines, we require placing additional content at the end of the book, listing the bonus content in your books table of contents, and including a note in your book description if a significant portion of your book's content is not from the book listed in the title field.

Primary and bonus content must meet all program guidelines (e.g., bonus content in KDP Select titles must be exclusive). Translated content must be high quality and not machine generated. Disruptive links and promises of gifts or rewards are never allowed.

Where does it say it's not allowed anywhere on the KDP site?

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #117 on: April 05, 2018, 04:13:55 PM »


Lots of authors who are just scraping by are stuffing bc Big Fancy KU Author is doing it.

...
 ...The amount who make mid six is likely much lower. And it's not easy.


Write faster, work harder, market better, or make it a part-time career and get another job, but don't steal the food from another person's plate and then come up with a lame rationalisation to excuse what's going on. It's not a victimless crime, people aren't shafting amazon, they are stealing from other authors, plain and simple.

Nobody told me that being an author was going to be easy, and the ones who aren't cheating are working harder to try to regain market share and the money they are losing with lower payouts.

Offline FelissaEly

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #118 on: April 05, 2018, 04:20:19 PM »
You're 100% wrong. You could not be more wrong. I desperately want bonus content to be against the rules. I hate bonus content. If I had a magic wand and could make it against the rules, I would do so in a heartbeat. If I was reading this to see what I wanted to see, I'd see it as the end of bonus content. That is what I want.

But I live in reality. And, in reality, bonus content has clearly been allowed for the last few years.

The policy is right here, and it says nothing about bonus books not being allowed. There's no mention in the Content Guidelines. There's also no mention of duplicate content or bonus content (other than it should not appear before the main content) under the Guide to Kindle Content Quality.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202018960
Bonus Content
If you choose to include bonus content (e.g. other stories, or previews of other books), it should be relevant to the customer and should not disrupt the reading experience. To meet these guidelines, we require placing additional content at the end of the book, listing the bonus content in your books table of contents, and including a note in your book description if a significant portion of your book's content is not from the book listed in the title field.

Primary and bonus content must meet all program guidelines (e.g., bonus content in KDP Select titles must be exclusive). Translated content must be high quality and not machine generated. Disruptive links and promises of gifts or rewards are never allowed.

Where does it say it's not allowed anywhere on the KDP site?

You left out the last line on that link

For more information, see our content guidelines and Terms and Conditions.

Which brings you to

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200952510

Disappointing Content:

We do not allow content that disappoints our customers, including but not limited to:

Content that is either marketed as a subscription or redirects readers to an external source to obtain the full content
Content that is freely available on the web (unless you are the copyright owner of that content or the content is in the public domain). For more information, you can refer to the sections titled Illegal and Infringing Content and Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content in the Content Guidelines.
Content whose primary purpose is to solicit or advertise
Content that is not significantly differentiated from another book available in the Kindle Store
Content that is a non-differentiated version of another book available in the Kindle Store <---does this not mean what I said? Maybe I'm reading it wrong I really don't know
Content that is too short
Content that is poorly translated
Content that does not provide an enjoyable reading experience
Bonus content that appears before a book's primary content


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Online Bill Hiatt

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #119 on: April 05, 2018, 04:22:35 PM »
I don't think you understand me.

What I'm saying is that 99.9% of authors aren't on Kboards, aren't following this on Twitter, aren't aware anything is happening at all.

Amazon needs to do something like it does with the monthly rate--send out an email announcing a policy change (bc last time I looked, bonus content as it's used was allowed) in actual, clear language. Until then, most people won't be aware.

They also need to enforce the role regularly, or else people will keep doing it.

If that happens, I'll believe that things will change.
While I think the really blatant abuses are in some cases common sense things to avoid, I agree that Amazon could have more clearly worded rules and enforce them much more consistently.

It's also true that a lot of authors aren't on Kboards and don't hear much about things like this. When Amazon decides something is an abuse and is not allowed, it should make very clear and specific announcements of any changes in policy and enforcement. Had it been doing so all along, it could have avoided a lot of problems.


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Offline Shelley K

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #120 on: April 05, 2018, 04:25:24 PM »

Content that is not significantly differentiated from another book available in the Kindle Store
Content that is a non-differentiated version of another book available in the Kindle Store <---does this not mean what I said? Maybe I'm reading it wrong I really don't know


That means if I have a volume published that contains Book A, Book B and Book C, I cannot then reorder it and publish a new volume as Book C, Book B and Book A. That would be a non-differentiated version. Not different. Exact same content.


Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #121 on: April 05, 2018, 04:27:23 PM »
Nobody told me that being an author was going to be easy, and the ones who aren't cheating are working harder to try to regain market share and the money they are losing with lower payouts.

Exactly.  No business owner is guaranteed to make a living or have their business survive. This is especially true in such a competitive marketplace.   Using an excuse to break the rules is just that, an excuse ... and it doesn't change the fact that you're (general "you", not you Atlantisheart) still breaking the rules. 


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Offline Tilly

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #122 on: April 05, 2018, 04:36:16 PM »
It's simply not true that you need to stuff/scam/cheat (whatever you want to call it) to get ahead in romance. You can do incredibly well in romance without doing any of those things.

Elizabeth Hunter just released INK, her first contemporary romance in 6 years and it hit the NYT bestseller list. She doesn't stuff.

Pepper Winters just release A BOY AND HIS RIBBON and it's the #1 title in coming of age and it's top 20 for NA romance. She doesn't stuff.

What you *DO* need to do is write a fantastic book that readers can't wait to get their hands on. Or is that asking too much for some romance authors?

Offline Michele_Mills

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #123 on: April 05, 2018, 04:39:20 PM »
I just want to point out that there many, many books for sale right this second with bonus content. I read so many books with bonus content at the end it's nothing to me now. I finish book one, and then there's another book offered (or two!) this is COMMON. Legit authors. Big time authors. Constantly.

I appreciate DG and others fighting the good fight to stop click bait farms and botting weirdness. That time DG called out that guy who bought reviews from god knows where and shot up to #1- I appreciate all of that.

But, I strongly believe this part, where authors are adding 1-3 books of bonus content to the back of their new releases to see if readers want to continue reading, this is firmly gray area and not EEEEVIL. It's not something to be conflated with the clickbait farms and scamming your way to number one. I refuse to believe that this very large group of authors, professional people, my peers, are unethical you-know-whats just because they've added an extra book, when they've been told "Yeah, Amazon sent me an email saying bonus content is fine." We've already gone over in previous threads how the TOS about bonus content can be read as - yes bonus content is okay. And then they saw all the other authors who are doing this and nothing is happening to them.

Jeff needs a tattoo that says "Amazon- Clear as Mud"

Yes, we just got a stone tablet from Mt. Sinai saying no bonus content, but because Amazon is clear as mud, I even suspect this. Sad but true. I've seen no evidence of Amazon policing this bonus content, couple of books at the end of a new release, going on so I'm at the level of I'd have to see it to believe it.

I think the baseline difference here is that a lot of us view this as Amazon's fault, and then the other half view this purely as other authors' fault. Like other authors need to be ethical and police themselves. I get that. I personally don't include bonus content in my books because I decided it's not my thing. But, I don't hate my peers for choosing this, or put them down. I see why they do it. I'm just not (to be truthful because I'm prob being snooty and want my books to look more "trad"). But yeah, I'm leaving money on the table for extra page reads, so it's hard...

 I think this is Amazon's fault. If they would just have perfectly clear rules and then do something shocking- police those rules- this thread wouldn't even be happening. They wouldn't need to do some weak lawsuit that will only stop one person.

It's Amazon's fault for having a rule this whole time that can be interpreted different ways - sending out a variety of different responses via email about it to authors and in person to authors at cons, and then, worst of all, not even policing the rules. What the heck? How does that make any sense? Maybe it's because I'm a teacher IRL, it irritates so much, the thought of Amazon starting with vague rules and then not enforcing those rules. I'd never run a classroom that way- that's inviting chaos! And then what- at the end I'd bust one student and say "See, I mean business." Meanwhile, all the other students are still out of their chairs.

Also, I guess this boils down to another fundamental difference. When some of you say Amazon has clear rules - all forms of bonus content is wrong beyond excerpts at the back of a book, I'm like, no it isn't clear. NO IT ISN"T. This is exactly why there are hundreds of books on the kindle store, in the top 100 of categories with one, two or three extra books put into the back after the new release RIGHT THIS SECOND. Because to those authors, it isn't clear. Again, this isn't happening because these authors are unethical and evil, its because they are interpreting the TOS to say this is okay and in addition to the fact that Amazon is letting them do it and in fact rewarding them with all star bonuses. If Amazon sent all authors, tomorrow, a super clear email that said something like you can only have brand new content in each new release (or however they want to word it) and gave a seven day or thirty day deadline to take extra content out of your books. And then after that deadline came down hard on books. Well, that would change everything.

And I'm sorry, but Jeff Bezos is the richest man on the planet right now. I think he can spend some money to hire a department of people whose only job is policing our books to make it all legit. How about he does that instead of pitching us against each other, making us police ourselves, or feel we have to?

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Offline ubu roi

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #124 on: April 05, 2018, 04:42:45 PM »
In KU, authors get paid according to pages read, a device for Amazon to squeeze money out of authors. Instead of being paid per download, as they were at the beginning of KU, authors now receive a pittance. The joke is that no one is ever certain how many pages are read by a KU subscriber. Imagine a manufacture that makes lamps getting paid not a flat fee for each lamp, but getting paid according to how many times the lamp is turned on. KU is merely a way to cheat authors. The affirmation of the arbitration should be denied. KU is a stupid subscription system and should be abandoned.