Author Topic: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages  (Read 9733 times)  

Offline Day Leitao

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #75 on: April 14, 2018, 07:27:55 AM »
Sorry, I didn't read all the posts.

The issue with most stuffed books is that they are using clickfarms. If a book is huge, it's much less effort for the clickfarm. Much less clicks for a lot more money. Higher ROI if the author has to pay per read.

I think that's the biggest issue, cause otherwise, in theory, stuffing would not be the end of the world. Readers keep reading? I guess it's interesting content! Readers actually download and read the same book multiple times? Wow! That must indeed be an amazing read. Although, ok, there's double dipping there. Still, not everyone can manage to write stuff people want to read a bunch of times.

Anyways, the problem, in my opinion is not the stuffing in itself, but how the stuffing is a symptom of books put in the system to be read by clickfarms or other shady methods.

If we're thinking about a solution, perhaps instead of limiting kepn per books, maybe limiting page reads per subscriber? I know KU has some insanely voracious readers, but even then, cap it at, say, 20k/month. Most readers would be happy. Clickfarms would have a harder time, because now one account would "read" less books.  I think that would be a more feasible solution. It would still be Kindle Unlimited because you could borrow unlimited books. The reading would be "unlimited" within what's readable in a month. Anyways. I know even some internet companies provide "unlimited" internet, data transfer, etc, and actually have limits within what's considered reasonable.

As to limiting KENP per book. Ok, maybe. It still wouldn't keep people from stuffing up to 1000, 2000 or whatever the new limit would be. I'm not sure it's such a great solution.

I think the real problem are  the clickfarms.


Offline dgcasey

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2018, 11:05:50 AM »
Look at the top 100. Look in romance. Over half of the romance books in the top 100 are produced this way. They're publishers, not authors. Their romances hit the top 100 with 8-11 books stuffed into the back. They publish 2-4 books a month, just in romance--and now they're targetting other genres as well.

Well, not to get into a war of words here, but I'm not seeing it. I just went and looked at Kindle ebooks > Romance and wasted a couple minutes of my life and only found one book in the top 20 that "might" be one you're talking about. The other nineteen books were all between 200 and 350 pages, more or less. Hardly worth the time of a stuffer.

As I said before, the scammers don't care about ranking and most of them are going to pick a category that doesn't get the looks that most do. They pick a quiet, out of the way category, they load their "books" and then start their click-bots to reading them. They don't waste time or money on covers. A lot of those books will show no cover at all. The author's name is usually a made up jumble of letters. And I would assume that after they've exhausted the page reads on each book, they unpublish it, probably republishing it with a different title and author name and do the whole thing all over again.

The place I found them was in the Legal Thrillers category, the one John Grisham is stuck in. And don't look in the Best Sellers list. Look in the New Release list and a couple a pages in. And I'm sure LT isn't the only category to find them in. Seems their latest trick is to release books in the Swedish language. I'm guessing Amazon doesn't have too many Swedes working in the "check these titles" department.

The only point I'm trying to make is, don't make the mistake of thinking the scammers are spending tons of money to get their books to the top, because they're not. They don't want to be at the top and when a title outlives its usefulness to them, they unpublish it. They want to operate just under the radar, getting their checks from Amazon each month and going about their merry way. Visibility is the last thing a scammer wants.
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Offline Not Lu

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #77 on: April 14, 2018, 11:23:45 AM »
A page cap is the type of solution that comes from the bad manager syndrome. One person in the office is consistently coming in late so the bad manager installs a time clock, which punishes everyone else in the office. When instead, a good manager would deal with the actual problem -- the employee who is coming in late.

The actual problem with the scammers are book stuffing and botting. So, Amazon should spend their time trying to identify books stuffed with duplicate content and identifying bots. Identifying duplicate content isn't a hard thing to do with today's technology. The next thing Amazon should do is identify bot networks and stop counting page reads from them (which already appears to be happening based on people losing page reads from March).

If the author community wants the problem solved we wouldn't be pressuring Amazon to make a quick fix that won't fix the problem. Instead, we should be pressuring Amazon to identify duplicate content and bots... then remove them from the store.

Online MmmmmPie

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #78 on: April 14, 2018, 11:52:12 AM »
Well, not to get into a war of words here, but I'm not seeing it. I just went and looked at Kindle ebooks > Romance and wasted a couple minutes of my life and only found one book in the top 20 that "might" be one you're talking about. The other nineteen books were all between 200 and 350 pages, more or less. Hardly worth the time of a stuffer.

Ah, but that's part of the problem. These books LOOK like they're a normal length, because the scammers are exploiting a quirk of Amazon's listing mechanism. What these authors often do is create a paperback of the non-stuffed version (meaning the novel actually being advertised.) Because Amazon uses the paperback length as the page count, the length of the kindle version is disguised. There's also a funny thing where in lots of cases, the page length isn't listed at all. I don't know how that happens, but you'll also see that a lot on stuffed books.

To determine if a book is stuffed, you have to dig deeper. Look at the TOC. Look where the "free look inside" ends. In many cases, half, or even the whole "book" is contained within the free preview.

The sad truth is, they've gotten sneakier. Also, some categories are hit harder than others. For example, new adult is almost all stuffed books now. In fact, it's gotten so bad that the scammers have had to branch out into other genres. Once they've destroyed romance, they'll move into other categories, like the aliens in Independence Day.

EDIT to ADD: Another clue is that these books are almost always priced at 99 cents, which helps if they want to engage in gift-carding, etc.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 11:56:24 AM by MmmmmPie »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #79 on: April 14, 2018, 12:04:56 PM »
Fair point on tone, Becca. Mea culpa, sincerely. I strongly feel, however, that this cannot be overstated: a vast, sweeping approach that could dramatically reduce the incomes of legitimate authors so that the "aggregate" can make some small gain in chart visibility is, in my opinion, more than "just business." It *is* personal. A 20% reduction in an author's income can make the difference between someone being able to keep their home or losing it to foreclosure. The authors who would be on the receiving end of this type of thing are real, live human beings, with families and bills - they're not the ones gaming the system. I think that fact gets lost when people start talking about what's best for the "aggregate," and it rankled me.

I will temper my tone in the future, and withdraw from this thread for now.

Thank you, sammie997.

Offline JWright

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #80 on: April 14, 2018, 12:08:22 PM »
The worst offenders, those who are exploiting the system, are spending a majority of their earnings on advertising--$1500-$2000 or more a day between Facebook and AMS ads. Probably more in certain special circumstances. They're able to do this because they have huge advertising budgets, a whole company based on hiring full-time salaried PAs, and a cadre of ghostwriters at their disposal. They're spending tremendous amounts of money to make very little, but they are making some profits, which encourages the behavior.

If they wish to publish more books, that's fine. They'll need to release double or triple the amount of books on a budget that is one third of their original earnings. It will be impossible for them to profit with this new system. 

Amazon is unlikely to change their policy on bonus content, so we need to meet them in the middle with a proposal that is easy for them to implement and returns the spirit of the program to the KU. This will limit bonus content and make it more difficult for those who take advantage of the system to reach the rankings which offer them the visibility to continue with their particular business plan.

This suggests to me perhaps books produced in content mill fashion, but not nefarious.  If someone is paying to acquire real readers then that's not cheating the system.   Using bots and incentivizing readers is.

Instead of jiggering with the page count why not just cap what a book can earn at the maximum of what they charge for the book.  So if someone wants to price their book at $9.99 then fine, the maximum you can earn in page reads for that book is 70% of that (or less if page reads would be less).

That still doesn't really get rid of the problem but limits what is earned per book to something reasonable.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #81 on: April 14, 2018, 12:25:42 PM »
Instead of jiggering with the page count why not just cap what a book can earn at the maximum of what they charge for the book.  So if someone wants to price their book at $9.99 then fine, the maximum you can earn in page reads for that book is 70% of that (or less if page reads would be less).

That still doesn't really get rid of the problem but limits what is earned per book to something reasonable.

Would we then end up with a whole lot of books earning 35% of $399.99 for a full KU read?

Joking. Sort of.

Offline JWright

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #82 on: April 14, 2018, 12:29:06 PM »
Lol, yes possibly.  Maybe we need a hard limit, ha ha.  Max that can be earned on a book no matter what.  The braintrust will work on a work around. 

In all seriousness though, I don't think a book should be able to earn way more on a KU read than what it is selling for.

Would we then end up with a whole lot of books earning 35% of $399.99 for a full KU read?

Joking. Sort of.

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #83 on: April 14, 2018, 12:45:43 PM »
In all seriousness though, I don't think a book should be able to earn way more on a KU read than what it is selling for.

Not every KU borrow is a full read, however. People buy books they never finish, but already paid the full price for. If a KU reader stops after 10 pages because the story isn't what they expected, or they dislike the main character or there's too much romance in the book, the author earns a few cents.

I wish we could somehow check how many pages are read (on average) per borrow. I'd really like to know!

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Offline JWright

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #84 on: April 14, 2018, 12:57:45 PM »
Yes, I just meant the max they should be able to get for one book.   And yeah, we don't have the info on how many pages are coming from a borrow, and I don't know if Amazon tracks it internally or easily can.

Not every KU borrow is a full read, however. People buy books they never finish, but already paid the full price for. If a KU reader stops after 10 pages because the story isn't what they expected, or they dislike the main character or there's too much romance in the book, the author earns a few cents.

I wish we could somehow check how many pages are read (on average) per borrow. I'd really like to know!

Online Dpock

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #85 on: April 14, 2018, 01:04:10 PM »
This suggests to me perhaps books produced in content mill fashion, but not nefarious.  If someone is paying to acquire real readers then that's not cheating the system.   Using bots and incentivizing readers is.

Instead of jiggering with the page count why not just cap what a book can earn at the maximum of what they charge for the book.  So if someone wants to price their book at $9.99 then fine, the maximum you can earn in page reads for that book is 70% of that (or less if page reads would be less).

That still doesn't really get rid of the problem but limits what is earned per book to something reasonable.

There are several issues and they're not all related (bots, stuffers, content mills, bot/stuffers, and content mills/stuffers with or without bots, etc.). Botting is really a standalone issue impervious to book-length (though affected if restricted, it doesn't really interfere with their scheme). 

Restricting bonus content to a percentage of titled content would take care of bonus-stuffers dominating several categories in romance. Their gimmick is to publish a novella and include 3 or more bonus novellas (so the titled content is just a third or less of total content). This makes the $0.99 price point viable and puts downward pressure on price-points generally in the entire genre. Apparently, they're not violating TOS as it now stands. Assuming a human eyeball has a limited capacity for reading pages, these bonus-stuffers get the lion's share of available KU reads in some romance categories. Without a change in TOS, you're handicapped if you don't stuff, publish every two weeks, and price at $0.99. If you don't want to go along, petition Amazon. What else can you do?

Restricting KENP to 1000 pages per book would only marginally hurt the botters and few stuffers (their books typically, even when stuffed with eight novellas, do not exceed 1000 KENP pages). However, it would hurt a lot of legitimate authors writing long books.

The content mill/botter will just publish two five-hundred page books or ten hundred page books, whatever it takes to get under whatever threshold Amazon imposes.

There is a viable solution to bonus-stuffing -- limit bonus content to a percentage of titled content. They don't need to police it. KU writers will do that.

There's no solution to simple botting other than fine-tuning algorithms to work more effectively and with less collateral damage, though someone did mention a Captcha solution that might work. I think that merits further thought.






Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #86 on: April 14, 2018, 01:06:08 PM »
Yes, I just meant the max they should be able to get for one book.

Ideally, the payout for the average amount of pages read per book should be equivalent of the sales price. I don't think it's unfair for a KU book to earn 6 dollars from a full read-through - some borrows will result in 4 dollars, or 2, or 20 cents. The higher payouts compensate for lower ones from partial reads and it more or less evens out.

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Offline JWright

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #87 on: April 14, 2018, 01:09:32 PM »
Ideally, the payout for the average amount of pages read per book should be equivalent of the sales price. I don't think it's unfair for a KU book to earn 6 dollars from a full read-through - some borrows will result in 4 dollars, or 2, or 20 cents. The higher payouts compensate for lower ones from partial reads and it more or less evens out.

Yes, average readthrough would probably make more sense. 

Online Dpock

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #88 on: April 14, 2018, 01:13:18 PM »


I wish we could somehow check how many pages are read (on average) per borrow. I'd really like to know!

You can ball-park it using the TCK sales calculator. If it says your rank means 20 sales a day, and you only see three in your KDP dashboard, you've had (roughly) 17 borrows. Divide your reads by 17 to get your average read-through.


Offline JWright

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #89 on: April 14, 2018, 01:15:06 PM »
There are several issues and they're not all related (bots, stuffers, content mills, bot/stuffers, and content mills/stuffers with or without bots, etc.). Botting is really a standalone issue impervious to book-length (though affected if restricted, it doesn't really interfere with their scheme). 

Restricting bonus content to a percentage of titled content would take care of bonus-stuffers dominating several categories in romance. Their gimmick is to publish a novella and include 3 or more bonus novellas (so the titled content is just a third or less of total content). This makes the $0.99 price point viable and puts downward pressure on price-points generally in the entire genre. Apparently, they're not violating TOS as it now stands. Assuming a human eyeball has a limited capacity for reading pages, these bonus-stuffers get the lion's share of available KU reads in some romance categories. Without a change in TOS, you're handicapped if you don't stuff, publish every two weeks, and price at $0.99. If you don't want to go along, petition Amazon. What else can you do?

Restricting KENP to 1000 pages per book would only marginally hurt the botters and few stuffers (their books typically, even when stuffed with eight novellas, do not exceed 1000 KENP pages). However, it would hurt a lot of legitimate authors writing long books.

The content mill/botter will just publish two five-hundred page books or ten hundred page books, whatever it takes to get under whatever threshold Amazon imposes.

There is a viable solution to bonus-stuffing -- limit bonus content to a percentage of titled content. They don't need to police it. KU writers will do that.

There's no solution to simple botting other than fine-tuning algorithms to work more effectively and with less collateral damage, though someone did mention a Captcha solution that might work. I think that merits further thought.

Yes, I think things are getting mixed or conflated. Someone can run a perfectly legitimate enterprise where they have huge ad spends, hire ghost writers and cover designers and pump out lots of books.  They could get tons of page reads that way legitimately.

Those who use bots or incentivize readers can just pump out more books no matter what the length restrictions are.

I don't know how they can easily measure bonus content. People can just call it an epilogue or something.  I've already posted a lot about bonus content in another thread. The best solution seems an ASIN can only be in KU once.  I also don't think real readers are going to read the same bonus content over and over.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 01:16:42 PM by JulesWright »

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #90 on: April 14, 2018, 01:17:30 PM »
You can ball-park it using the TCK sales calculator. If it says your rank means 20 sales a day, and you only see three in your KDP dashboard, you've had (roughly) 17 borrows. Divide your reads by 17 to get your average read-through.

True, but some readers don't even open the newly borrowed book until 4 weeks later. Or 8. Or they read 20 pages right away, and the rest as soon as the next holiday comes around.

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Offline Jack Krenneck

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #91 on: April 14, 2018, 01:19:12 PM »
A page cap is the type of solution that comes from the bad manager syndrome. One person in the office is consistently coming in late so the bad manager installs a time clock, which punishes everyone else in the office. When instead, a good manager would deal with the actual problem -- the employee who is coming in late.

The actual problem with the scammers are book stuffing and botting. So, Amazon should spend their time trying to identify books stuffed with duplicate content and identifying bots. Identifying duplicate content isn't a hard thing to do with today's technology. The next thing Amazon should do is identify bot networks and stop counting page reads from them (which already appears to be happening based on people losing page reads from March).

If the author community wants the problem solved we wouldn't be pressuring Amazon to make a quick fix that won't fix the problem. Instead, we should be pressuring Amazon to identify duplicate content and bots... then remove them from the store.

This is what I'd sign a petition for.

Offline Crystal_

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #92 on: April 14, 2018, 01:38:33 PM »
I think people are conflating two separate issues. One is booting. Lowering the page cap won't make a big difference. It's not a big deal for botters to open 3x the accounts.

The other is stuffing, which is driving up the All Star threshold, lowering the rate, and making romance flooded with .99 books. It will happen to other genres eventually as well.

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #93 on: April 14, 2018, 01:44:59 PM »
True, but some readers don't even open the newly borrowed book until 4 weeks later. Or 8. Or they read 20 pages right away, and the rest as soon as the next holiday comes around.

Which is why I said "ballpark" and "roughly". For some reason, only those on Amazon imprints are given borrow/read-through data. Why they don't provide it to all of us is a mystery.


Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #94 on: April 14, 2018, 02:05:11 PM »
Which is why I said "ballpark" and "roughly". For some reason, only those on Amazon imprints are given borrow/read-through data. Why they don't provide it to all of us is a mystery.

I had no idea. I thought Amazon doesn't have that kind of data.

Now I'm a little grumpy  >:(

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #95 on: April 14, 2018, 02:21:02 PM »
If these "offenders" were truly paid according to real pages read by real customers, I could agree with this. But on many devices/systems, skipping around (such as through the TOC) can net you credit for pages that weren't actually read. Similarly, when they use the same story as stuffing in multiple books, they have the potential to be paid twice, three times, or more, for the same content.

Plus, there's nothing saying that they don't make use of both -- bots and advertising. If you're in the Amazon top 100, you'd better have some actual readers, not all bots, or even Amazon, as lax as they can be, will get suspicious.
Why would anyone who was stuffing books full of gibberish for fake page reads want to bot their way to visibility instead of staying under the radar? Rank is for getting actual readers; botters don't need it because their page reads are going directly to their books, not finding them organically. You get readers, you risk people who will complain and report that the middle of your book is machine translated nonsense. I really feel like two different issues are being conflated under the banner of "stuffing": people who put out massive books full of gibberish and get bot reads, and people who put out actual books and advertise their way to the top of the lists. The latter may have the potential to be paid more than once for the same content...but, if Amazon can count page reads, that still requires a reader to READ that content again.

The real issue remains whether Amazon can tell what a page read is, or not. And that question appears to be up in the air; people have said, "yes, it's all fixed but the cloud reader" and "no, it's not fixed" just in the past week.


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Offline Nicholas Erik

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #96 on: April 14, 2018, 02:26:58 PM »
Nick, perhaps you answered this elsewhere. If so, I apologize. What is there to suggest the scamming, click farms, etc. wouldn't simply continue under a new, lower cap? This is what happened the last time the cap was dropped, no?

Caps have not discouraged, to any measurable extent, botted, bogus books in the past, indicating it's not a viable solution and is certainly not an answer for the long-term viability of KU.

I think people are conflating two separate issues. One is booting. Lowering the page cap won't make a big difference. It's not a big deal for botters to open 3x the accounts.

The other is stuffing, which is driving up the All Star threshold, lowering the rate, and making romance flooded with .99 books. It will happen to other genres eventually as well.

To answer your question, El-Do - Crystal nailed it. A page cap and single title ASIN rule helps eliminate the All Star problems and gets rid of the corresponding 10 - 30% boost "normal" authors generate from the stuffing strategy. It eliminates the "normal" authors who are using a loophole to gain more reads. Does this fix everything? No, but it also serves to make it more difficult for more aggressive botters shooting for the top 100 to gain reads - 3x the books means 3x the ad spend and 3x the weird activity. The problem used to be worse with an unlimited page cap, or at least more egregious; perhaps the impact is the same, after a recovery period during which people reorganized their tactics.

I agree that it's probably not enough to stop black hatters lurking under the radar. If you combine these with a duplicate content algorithm, however, then you have basically solved every problem that currently faces the store (temporarily; I'm sure there will be other second order effects).

In theory, a duplicate content algorithm - which would de facto end box sets and force a single title per ASIN policy, too - would solve all these major issues alone (bonus content from normal authors, clickfarming from black hatters). Although perhaps not: if someone is stuffing with their newsletters or some other non-duplicate content, they could still slip it past the duplicate filter. That's where a page cap would help. However, we'd have to see the duplicate filter in action before making any judgements; perhaps it would be intelligent enough to address this potential loophole.

The one issue not solved, then, is the unnatural market conditions: where people get paid $13 or $10 for a full read, when they only make $4 for a sale. Capping eliminates this problem, which is currently minor in comparison to these other problems. However, it remains to be seen how that would be exploited if all the other exploits are closed. Perhaps it wouldn't be a problem, though it strikes me as so unnatural that it would be extremely gameable in some fashion. It feels like the type of thing that Amazon will close on their own, anyway, because why would they pay 2x for someone renting the book vs. buying it?

But perhaps not. It doesn't bother me if real authors continue getting $13 for their doorstop book - as I stated before, good for them, although this payout skew strikes me as unsustainable. If all the other problems are closed, and it turns out not to be an issue (again, just looking at the numbers, I doubt this; and it's probably wise for anyone currently banking on $10 to $13 full reads to sustain their business to try to rebalance some of them toward sales), then why not let them continue? It seems worth testing, at the very least, before deciding that a page cap is mandatory. Especially since the page cap is the least effective single solution for combatting the biggest problems.

In any event, if someone put together a duplicate content filter + single ASIN per KU title proposal, I think that would solve the major issues, while eliminating the objections that people have raised. Assuming Amazon got the tech right (which is a big assumption, I think, but I'm willing to see). I understand some people are making good money off box sets (mine do well), but it seems they need to be eliminated from KU entirely for this to work. I don't see an alternative to that, though I am open to suggestions.

Nick
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 02:33:40 PM by Nicholas Erik »

Offline sammie997

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #97 on: April 14, 2018, 08:50:56 PM »
Why does everyone keep ignoring the elephant in the room?

This is a problem IN THE ROMANCE GENRE. And it could only ever *be* a problem in the romance genre.

Why? Because a poorly-written, incoherently-compiled stuffed book with a stock photo cover in any other genre would get one-starred into oblivion. Try pulling this nonsense in sci-fi, or fantasy, or literally *any* other genre, and see what happens.

The rest of the KU literary world is suffering because of a problem in ROMANCE. A stuffed book like this pops up in the other genres, the readers themselves would police the issue, and without question, the other authors in the genre would root out any violators with a quickness. Content farms don't have the talent to create consumable content in the more complex genres. It's not rocket science to write another billionaire bad boy book. That stuff can be created formulaically, in volume, and that's why you have the problem you have. Now, that doesn't mean that there aren't romance writers who produce gorgeous work. I'm sure many do, and I'm sure many of YOU do. But punishing writers of longer books - books that cost TONS more to produce, and have the potential to stand the test of time as major literary accomplishments - by capping page read payouts is absolutely asinine. Why, so we can get more cookie-cutter billionaire man-chest bad boy stories at the top of the charts, at the expense of writers in other genres? This is not our mess, why should we pay to clean it up by having the value of our work reduced?

This problem can be solved EASILY and FAIRLY:

1. Limit ROMANCE books to 1k KENP. No one writes romance stories over 1k. NO. ONE.
2. Make those publishing anything (in any genre) over 200,000 words certify, with a mouse click while submitting a title, that there is no "bonus" content in the book, and if they get found to violate that provision, they lose ALL KENP earnings *and* royalties, and their account and any associated pen names are banned from KU for a year.

Problem solved. Long book writers earn the same per page as short book writers, so the scales aren't tipped unfairly. The scammers are hosed, and forced to operate at a MAJOR risk. Amazon gets to keep whatever royalties are associated with the scammers, even sales royalties, so that pays for whatever additional manual review is required.

If there are any problems with these proposed solutions, then we can talk about refining them.

Lastly, for those of you who are saying "$5 is plenty for a book!": please think it through. You're all smart. If you were paying many, many thousands of dollars in production, editing, and graphics costs to create a 300k book, you'd feel differently. $5 wouldn't even come close to covering costs. How much do YOU earn for 300k words? You probably have 5-6 books you release to reach 300k. Are YOU OK with only earning $5 total KU money for 5-6 books? Of course not. And you shouldn't be. Your work is worth more than that. So is the work of epic writers.

Offline bobfrost

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #98 on: April 14, 2018, 09:22:41 PM »
Amazon already polices duplicate content. Publish two box sets, one with books a b and c, the others with the same books in a different order (c b a) and amazon will send you a naughty gram asking you to take one down.

One title per ASIN for KU titles is so much easier than dealing with all this baloney. Amazon can police that easily. Epic writers can still reap the fruit of their epic. Box sets can still be sold (outside of KU), and everybody operates in a slightly more fair manner.

I couldnt personally care less if they drop the kenpc cap to 1000. It wont effect me at all. It would effect vanishingly few. Even so, I think its an unnecessary change that wouldnt be as effective as just asking authors to put one book in any KU title. Easy peasy.

Online MmmmmPie

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #99 on: April 14, 2018, 09:39:32 PM »
This is a problem IN THE ROMANCE GENRE. And it could only ever *be* a problem in the romance genre. Why? Because a poorly-written, incoherently-compiled stuffed book with a stock photo cover in any other genre would get one-starred into oblivion. Try pulling this nonsense in sci-fi, or fantasy, or literally *any* other genre, and see what happens. A stuffed book like this pops up in the other genres, the readers themselves would police the issue, and without question, the other authors in the genre would root out any violators with a quickness.

The reason they're in romance is because that's where the biggest pool of money is. Sadly, many of these scammers probably share your contempt for the genre, meaning they believe that anyone can do it. If fantasy books were the most lucrative, the scammers would be ruining your genre instead. They'd be saying, "Cripes, how hard can it be to throw a bunch of elves and dwarves together and have them go on a quest?" Note: I don't personally believe this. I'm just saying that all genres require a certain craftsmanship to produce quality, and it's easy to belittle a genre when you're not a fan.

As far as one stars and readers/authors policing the genre, this is easier said than done. In romance, we're literally flooded with these things. Plus, the scammers' reviews don't generally come from unbiased reviewers, but rather from people with an incentive of some sort . Basically, we romance authors (and readers, too) are facing a tidal wave of crap that has become nearly impossible to withstand, because these scammers/stuffers/whatever are putting out so many books, so often, and with such huge advertising budgets that it's like a firestorm. You can put out a small fire, but a raging inferno is a different matter.


This problem can be solved EASILY and FAIRLY:

1. Limit ROMANCE books to 1k KENP. No one writes romance stories over 1k. NO. ONE.
2. Make those publishing anything (in any genre) over 200,000 words certify, with a mouse click while submitting a title, that there is no "bonus" content in the book, and if they get found to violate that provision, they lose ALL KENP earnings *and* royalties, and their account and any associated pen names are banned from KU for a year.

While I don't necessarily agree that no one writes romance stories over 1K, speaking as a romance author, I would be fine with what you suggest. But I fear that you're missing something very important here. If these scammers were booted out of romance, they'd find another place to nest. That might be your genre. And trust me, reader-policing or not, you don't want to be facing this tidal wave of slop. If romance is limited to 1K, and others aren't, probably romance writers would breathe a huge sigh of relief, because it would be other genres getting hammered, not us.


Lastly, for those of you who are saying "$5 is plenty for a book!": please think it through. You're all smart. If you were paying many, many thousands of dollars in production, editing, and graphics costs to create a 300k book, you'd feel differently. $5 wouldn't even come close to covering costs. How much do YOU earn for 300k words? You probably have 5-6 books you release to reach 300k. Are YOU OK with only earning $5 total KU money for 5-6 books? Of course not. And you shouldn't be. Your work is worth more than that. So is the work of epic writers.

I'm not trying to be snarky here, but I'm genuinely curious (since I don't write in your genre), what did fantasy authors do before KU 2.0? Under KU 2.0., you can earn several times more per rental than you can if someone actually buys the book. Before KU 2.0, were books in your genre priced higher? I know that's the case in romance. KU 2.0 has led to a drastic and troubling decrease in prices, as people push renting over buying. On a similar note, what would you do if KU went away entirely? Not concern-trolling here, but do you have a backup plan for when/if that happens? Because I suspect that if the scamming keeps up, we'll be seeing more drastic changes than what any of us have suggested.