Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 117965 times)  

Offline Lynn Is A Pseudonym

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2018, 06:33:48 PM »
Yay?

I bet those who do it just stop calling it bonus content.

Not holding my breath on this one.

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"If you would like to include multiple stories within your book, consider creating a collection of works. When selecting your books title, always make sure to follow the Metadata Guidelines."
Quote
"If youre publishing multiple stories as one book, ensure the contents of your book are accurately reflected both in the title field and on the cover, by including terms such as "Boxed Set," "Bundle," "Collection," "Compilation," or "Series." Stories that are part of a series must be in sequential order within a book and collections of individual stories must have all stories listed in the metadata."

It's really not that you can't have these huge collections now, it's that you have to more accurately describe the whole package. And if it is called a collection (or bundle or omnibus or compilation or series or set), there's not going to be a 10% rule about bonus content in effect.

In my opinion, the double/triple/quadrupledipping that's going on because of these huge collections is a loophole in the KU system that is never going away unless KU undergoes some kind of radical transformation. And anyone using these huge collections to collect extra earnings through non-TOS-compliant means aren't going to stop putting them out. They'll just rename.

Offline ShayneRutherford

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Re: Amazon Limits Bonus Content in Books to No More than 10%
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2018, 06:34:09 PM »
Yaaaaaassss! Finally, a decisive answer.
     

Offline Michele_Mills

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2018, 06:35:35 PM »
I'm happy that there's an actual rule now instead of the typical Amazon vagueness, along with a timeline for enforcement. Enforcement is the key here, or we're back where we started.

They even sent an email about this to Marie Force to announce. I'm super curious to see how this will effect all star bonuses in the coming months. Will it change payouts? We'll see!

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Offline Crystal_

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2018, 06:42:09 PM »
Here you go Crystal! So happy to oblige.

https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en

You do realize that this hasn't happened yet, right? This is a promise to enforce the policy, but until it actually happens, it's just a promise.

We'll see what happens in late July. I hope KDP holds to this policy change--it would be great for me, personally; I will dance in the streets if bonus books actually disappear--but they don't have the best history of evenly enforcing policies.

Online boba1823

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2018, 07:12:34 PM »
I'd love to look at the top 100 in romance and see nothing that's stuffed. But I'm not holding my breath.

Assuming it was enforced, do you think the Romance bestseller list would change much? I mean, do you think it would be basically the same sort of books (just without all the bonus content) as before, or would there be substantial changes in what's up there?

Personally, I'm skeptical that it would make much of a difference. There was the one board member on here who does the whole Romance ghost-writers thing, who I recall saying that including the bonus content only made a 10 percent or so difference in page reads. That seemed like a plausible figure to me, assuming an author isn't using click-to-the-back trickery (maybe that's a big assumption, I don't know). I would think that most KU readers are just looking to read the title work and not bonus content, especially if it's old, lower quality, etc., which I take it is often the case for books of this sort.

If that's right, and the bonus content is only marginally increasing revenues for books of this sort, then I doubt that these books would just fall off of the bestseller list without the bonus stuffing. I can't imagine that their profit margins are quite that thin - at least not for the experienced ones.

Anyway, just a curiosity for me. I ended up not doing KU, and that's not going to change. And in any case, I never thought that aiming to hit the Amazon bestseller list as the primary driver of visibility sounded like a very good or sustainable business strategy. (I know that some people - maybe you? don't remember - have expressed doubt that being on Amazon bestseller lists, by itself, actually drives sales.) Not that I'd complain or anything  ;D

Offline dgaughran

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2018, 07:15:17 PM »
Errrr do you really think these guys went to all this effort for a slight increase in sales?

And anyway, the click to the end scams are still in play. Multiple variations.
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Offline X. Aratare

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2018, 07:20:37 PM »
Assuming it was enforced, do you think the Romance bestseller list would change much? I mean, do you think it would be basically the same sort of books (just without all the bonus content) as before, or would there be substantial changes in what's up there?

Personally, I'm skeptical that it would make much of a difference. There was the one board member on here who does the whole Romance ghost-writers thing, who I recall saying that including the bonus content only made a 10 percent or so difference in page reads. That seemed like a plausible figure to me, assuming an author isn't using click-to-the-back trickery (maybe that's a big assumption, I don't know). I would think that most KU readers are just looking to read the title work and not bonus content, especially if it's old, lower quality, etc., which I take it is often the case for books of this sort.

If that's right, and the bonus content is only marginally increasing revenues for books of this sort, then I doubt that these books would just fall off of the bestseller list without the bonus stuffing. I can't imagine that their profit margins are quite that thin - at least not for the experienced ones.

Anyway, just a curiosity for me. I ended up not doing KU, and that's not going to change. And in any case, I never thought that aiming to hit the Amazon bestseller list as the primary driver of visibility sounded like a very good or sustainable business strategy. (I know that some people - maybe you? don't remember - have expressed doubt that being on Amazon bestseller lists, by itself, actually drives sales.) Not that I'd complain or anything  ;D

How much they make per book is how much they can advertise it.  Meaning that they used to have the value of 3000 page reads to advertise, now they don't.  Visibility will be impacted for them, because it's hard to justify spending likely what they are in ads for 500 page reads, for example.  It makes it a lot less lucrative, too. So some who were only in it for the money, might realize that these aren't as green pastures and move on.

Offline Crystal_

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2018, 07:21:11 PM »
Assuming it was enforced, do you think the Romance bestseller list would change much? I mean, do you think it would be basically the same sort of books (just without all the bonus content) as before, or would there be substantial changes in what's up there?

Personally, I'm skeptical that it would make much of a difference. There was the one board member on here who does the whole Romance ghost-writers thing, who I recall saying that including the bonus content only made a 10 percent or so difference in page reads. That seemed like a plausible figure to me, assuming an author isn't using click-to-the-back trickery (maybe that's a big assumption, I don't know). I would think that most KU readers are just looking to read the title work and not bonus content, especially if it's old, lower quality, etc., which I take it is often the case for books of this sort.

If that's right, and the bonus content is only marginally increasing revenues for books of this sort, then I doubt that these books would just fall off of the bestseller list without the bonus stuffing. I can't imagine that their profit margins are quite that thin - at least not for the experienced ones.

Anyway, just a curiosity for me. I ended up not doing KU, and that's not going to change. And in any case, I never thought that aiming to hit the Amazon bestseller list as the primary driver of visibility sounded like a very good or sustainable business strategy. (I know that some people - maybe you? don't remember - have expressed doubt that being on Amazon bestseller lists, by itself, actually drives sales.) Not that I'd complain or anything  ;D

In my very limited experience, it makes a big difference. Somewhere between 25 and 50% of people read the bonus content. It's definitely a higher percentage than people who will go on to read content in another book, though how much higher is probably a function of quality and series contentedness.

If enforced, this could destroy all the marketing machine types.

It will hurt authors who use bonus content as well, but it will help authors who don't use bonus content. I think the All Star thing is where we'll see the biggest difference. If that is enforced, I expect to see bonus thresholds drop considerably.

Offline Lady Vine

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2018, 07:30:04 PM »
"...and other stories."

I'm with the person who said all we'll see is a title change, nothing more. They'll turn everything into boxed sets.

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2018, 07:37:06 PM »
Errrr do you really think these guys went to all this effort for a slight increase in sales?

And anyway, the click to the end scams are still in play. Multiple variations.

Well, that's a good question. I guess that probably depends on how much effort it actually is for them, though. If I was sitting on a backlist of a hundred something old (and ghost written) books/stories, maybe it's relatively little effort to just pick some at random and cram them in. Assuming they're already formatted, that's pretty much just a quick copy-paste job, right? If I could do something that takes 10 minutes or so, and it results in 10% higher profits, that seems like a good use of time.

I'm assuming that most of the bonus content is old stuff, of course, and that these authors (well.. publishers) aren't actually commissioning a bunch of brand new work. That almost certainly would not be worth the cost for a marginal improvement in KU revenue.

I recall you saying a month or two back that the click-to-the-back thing is still an issue. I don't know any details on that (and won't ask), so I can't really evaluate the impact of that on the overall Romance bestseller list. I have noticed, though, that lately it seems more of the bonus-stuffed books have been in the 400-500 page range rather than the thousands. (There's one on there now with like 2600+, which.. wow, lol!)


Offline Shelley K

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2018, 08:06:57 PM »
"...and other stories."

I'm with the person who said all we'll see is a title change, nothing more. They'll turn everything into boxed sets.

That's okay. Boxed sets don't get the pages a new book with seven old ones tacked onto the back does. Some will try to fiddle with the wording, but hopefully if Amazon enforces this they're strict about requiring collection/bundle/complete series or whatever on the cover/in the title. If collections and bundles worked half as well, nobody would have started chucking five books in the back as a "bonus."  Also, what happens in the next few months with this is the canary in the coal mine for mega-mondo bundles in KU. Watch and see if it dies.

Especially after my email exchange a while back in which the person would not name a percentage, even when I specifically asked for a guidelines, or say that entire books weren't allowed, I'm surprised they finally threw a number out. I didn't think they would, because I didn't think they wanted to have to try to enforce it.  But as skeptical as I have been about that, the fact that they named "June all-star bonuses" specifically--June, not just generally--makes me think they intend to try to enforce it.

It's not going to matter for the vast majority of us, the rate's not going to go up any more than the standard variation, but the all-star bonuses should be within easier reach for some if they enforce it and do it correctly. You know there are going to be people falsely accused in the first round of enforcement and screwed over in one way or another. Feel for those folks in advance.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2018, 08:11:31 PM by Shelley K »

Offline sela

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2018, 08:54:31 PM »
I'm not sure how the stuffers are making their money. Is it off the page reads that occur when their hapless reader finds ten extra bonus books at the end and reads them where they might not have read them if they had to actually physically go to the website and click on the "read now" button? Is part of it from double-dipping, where a reader finds the book they love at the end of the new book and re-reads it for sh*ts and giggles, thus garnering a double-dip page read for the author? Double-dipping is against TOS outside of boxed sets. Or are the stuffer publishers hiring bot readers in Malaysia to slide through the stuffed books on the Amazon online Kindle site? According to tests, sliding through to the back in a KU book in the online reader still registers a full read through. So an enterprising warrior forum type mill publisher could hire a hundred or thousand bots to read all the books in their catalogue and their pen name catalogues online. It would generate a lot of money probably at a small cost. It will indeed be interesting to see if there are any changes to the lineups on the Amazon top 100 romance categories. Perhaps if they can't get $13.50 instead of $1.68 per book, the strategy will no longer be worth their while and not worth all the ad spend they go through to help hit the top 100.

Maybe they'll go elsewhere to find easy pickings and a loophole filled system to exploit...

One can hope.

Offline LMareeApps

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2018, 09:02:15 PM »
I'm not sure how the stuffers are making their money. Is it off the page reads that occur when their hapless reader finds ten extra bonus books at the end and reads them where they might not have read them if they had to actually physically go to the website and click on the "read now" button? Is part of it from double-dipping, where a reader finds the book they love at the end of the new book and re-reads it for sh*ts and giggles, thus garnering a double-dip page read for the author? Double-dipping is against TOS outside of boxed sets. Or are the stuffer publishers hiring bot readers in Malaysia to slide through the stuffed books on the Amazon online Kindle site? According to tests, sliding through to the back in a KU book in the online reader still registers a full read through. So an enterprising warrior forum type mill publisher could hire a hundred or thousand bots to read all the books in their catalogue and their pen name catalogues online. It would generate a lot of money probably at a small cost. It will indeed be interesting to see if there are any changes to the lineups on the Amazon top 100 romance categories. Perhaps if they can't get $13.50 instead of $1.68 per book, the strategy will no longer be worth their while and not worth all the ad spend they go through to help hit the top 100.

Maybe they'll go elsewhere to find easy pickings and a loophole filled system to exploit...

One can hope.

Sela, I saw this posted on Twitter.  It is screen shot from someone allegedly showing a writer's PA explaining to readers how to go about their day while still flipping through each page of story + bonus content, before then going to buy the book so that reviews left are verified and the writer gets maximum revenue from their read and purchase...
https://twitter.com/ease_dropper/status/1002001437876944897

Offline sela

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2018, 09:19:53 PM »
Sela, I saw this posted on Twitter.  It is screen shot from someone allegedly showing a writer's PA explaining to readers how to go about their day while still flipping through each page of story + bonus content, before then going to buy the book so that reviews left are verified and the writer gets maximum revenue from their read and purchase...
https://twitter.com/ease_dropper/status/1002001437876944897

I guess I've been doing this wrong all along. Here I thought I should just write the best damn book I could, thinking of pleasing my reader to the best of my abilities!

I never thought of cheating the system or finding cracks and loopholes. WHAT A SUCKER!

Offline LMareeApps

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2018, 09:22:17 PM »
I guess I've been doing this wrong all along. Here I thought I should just write the best damn book I could, thinking of pleasing my reader to the best of my abilities!

I never thought of cheating the system or finding cracks and loopholes. WHAT A SUCKER!

I think there are plenty of us sharing that red-faced realisation.

Offline Phxsundog

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2018, 10:08:32 PM »
There's a good chance this policy, if enforced, will damage many of the high spender ghostmachines clogging the romance charts with unedited books. I'm crossing my fingers knowing it hinges on enforcement.

Many of these publishers need their stuffed books to support over a thousand dollars daily spent on ads. If the stuffing is over and they can only release more normally sized works, the best they can do is try to flood the market with more books. However, I'm doubtful this will work. It'll spread their resources thinner across ads supporting many books. Plus different titles require their own covers, ads, reviews, and promotional bookings. They're going to have a harder time juggling many books and expecting the same results.

They generally don't have backlogs of hundreds of stories either. They may have half a dozen or more books in progress at any one time and there's a finite supply of ghostwriters on Upwork where they recruit. They won't go away entirely but there's a chance this tips the balance back toward authors producing quality books over volume publishers rushing out weaker content. Time will tell.

Offline Ava Glass

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2018, 10:50:24 PM »
Kudos to those who ignored the "keep your eyes on your own paper" advice* and agitated for this.

*translation: "stop talking about this. We like this status quo."
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 12:44:59 AM by Ava Glass »

Offline Shelley K

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #42 on: June 01, 2018, 10:56:00 PM »
I think there are plenty of us sharing that red-faced realisation.

Everything I have to say about that particular screenshot would be redacted here. Just one whole paragraph of [redacted] on repeat.

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #43 on: June 02, 2018, 12:27:09 AM »
I'll only be excited if this impacts payout per page read (probably won't, since the $/page read is set by psychologists trying to get us to stay in the KU machine), and for the all star bonus threshold. I would have qualified, easily, the last four months if this had been 2017.

If neither of those change, then the whole "wah wah book stuffers" agitating was just a nothing burger and I will go back to keeping my eyes on my own paper ;D ;D ;D

Online C. Gold

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2018, 12:52:52 AM »
So, they can no longer hide the bonus content as a wad of 'stuff' at the end but have to create bundles. Will that really slow them down much? Or will that prevent them from duplicating content and simply rearranging the order for their other books? It's the multiple dipping into the Select reads that these stuffers take a huge advantage of. If this stops that, then good.

Also, that's only if they want to get the Select bonus... if they forgo that, they can still stuff, at least how I interpreted that.

Offline Ava Glass

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2018, 12:55:37 AM »
and I will go back to keeping my eyes on my own paper

You do you. The problem is when people tell others to basically shut up about issues.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 12:59:54 AM by Ava Glass »

Offline MmmmmPie

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2018, 12:57:47 AM »
I'll only be excited if this impacts payout per page read...

Assuming that Amazon actually enforces this, I'll be excited regardless, and not even because of the KU rate or All Star bonuses. Because the stuffers have been earning up to $13 per borrow, even on a 99-cent book, they've been able to spend like drunken sailors on advertising, not to mention more nefarious promotional methods. As a result, they've made it that much harder for non-stuffers to purchase advertising, make the top 100 lists, and gain visibility. Plus, they've driven down the average purchase prices in virtually all romance genres.

Browsing through the top 100 romance lists, there's an embarrassing number of 99-cent stuffed books -- books that end at 30% of the Kindle pages, books that are poorly edited, books that feature recycled stories and misleading product descriptions. I wouldn't be surprised to discover that customer complaints played a role in this.

I've already pulled most of my books out of KU, but I still think this is a positive development. Funny, I was browsing romance books on Kobo the other day, and it really struck me how much better the other retailers are right now -- cleaner, less cluttered, more truthful in product descriptions, etc. As a reader and a writer, I think it's long past time that Amazon made this change. I just hope they enforce it.

Offline T E Scott Writer

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Re: Amazon Limits Bonus Content in Books to No More than 10%
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2018, 02:58:59 AM »
Excellent

T E Scott

Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: Amazon Limits Bonus Content in Books to No More than 10%
« Reply #48 on: June 02, 2018, 03:15:05 AM »
Merged a couple of threads on this topic -- sorry for any confusion.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 03:16:39 AM by Ann in Arlington »

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Offline dgaughran

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2018, 03:20:18 AM »
Assuming that Amazon actually enforces this, I'll be excited regardless, and not even because of the KU rate or All Star bonuses. Because the stuffers have been earning up to $13 per borrow, even on a 99-cent book, they've been able to spend like drunken sailors on advertising, not to mention more nefarious promotional methods. As a result, they've made it that much harder for non-stuffers to purchase advertising, make the top 100 lists, and gain visibility. Plus, they've driven down the average purchase prices in virtually all romance genres.

Exactly. What happens to the payout won't necessarily be an indication of anything. Amazon decides the payout based on things we can only speculate about. If it removes some of this crud from the charts, and punches a hole in their skeavy business model, we all win.

Which would almost be worth the "wah" - one would think.
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