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Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED  (Read 41632 times)  

Online she-la-ti-da

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #50 on: June 02, 2018, 04:37:35 AM »
Lynn Is A Pseudonym, I'm sure that all the books will now be "bundles" or "collections". That's how Amazon will once again let this crap slide by. If they're looking at June payouts, that means they'd have to be going back two months to see what was in KU then, and that's going to take a lot of work. Frankly, the more I think about it, the less I believe anything will happen.

The thing I think that's missing in these new terms is twofold:  #1:  taking all bundles, collections etc. out of KU and #2:  topping the KENPC at 1K.Those two changes would have nipped this in the bud, because without a huge payout, click farming, page flipping and the stuffing won't pay. Another part would be to end the All Star bonuses. There's no gain in this from sales, because that only gets them .35, rather than upwards of $13 or more. Not to mention thousands more in bonuses. Click farms and huge ad buys (and Tiffany diamonds) are expensive when there's no big return on investment.
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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #51 on: June 02, 2018, 05:39:14 AM »
The thing I think that's missing in these new terms is twofold:  #1:  taking all bundles, collections etc. out of KU and #2:  topping the KENPC at 1K.
Who's to say KU3 won't be coming July 1 once these stuffed books get properly labeled? ;)

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #52 on: June 02, 2018, 05:42:36 AM »
Slowly but surely we've seen Amazon plugging holes in the dike. It's not happening anywhere close to the speed legit authors need to see it today, but the hope is tomorrow will be better. As we report and report and raise a stink and report some more, Amazon has gradually changed its policies, guidelines and TOS.

Some examples:
The Top 100 Free has been fairly well cleaned up. The major offenders STILL have a couple hundred books in their catalogs and they are STILL in Select. But they've been slapped back and are no longer cycling books through the Top 20 Free daily.

Certain publishers who were dividing their box sets and putting half the stories on Instafreebie resulted in an unequivocable amendment to their 'disallowed content' that reads: Content that is either marketed as a subscription or redirects readers to an external source to obtain the full content.

Some folk who were routinely botting their books to the tops of the Free and Paid lists have been slapped back, and have lost traction overall.

Giveaways rules amended to pointedly disallow every entry being a winner.

Is it depressing, infuriating and frustrating that sooo many scammers have obtained All-Star bonuses, USAT/NYT letters and high-dollar homes -- and that none of these gains will be redacted -- based on the slowness with which Amazon is reacting? Or that some of the worst offenders are still crack-slipping? Damn right. But at least there is progress, and a bone or two occasionally thrown our way for all our yapping.

Report on.

Offline SuzyQ

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #53 on: June 02, 2018, 08:18:58 AM »
Got so excited until I imagined a huge wave of 'collections' coming

Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #54 on: June 02, 2018, 08:33:30 AM »
the difference is that 'bonus content' is hypothetically not subject to the double-dipping rules. There's nothing wrong with labeling a collection a collection, until it's more than Book A published standalone + featured in a Collection. If it's Book A in five collections, it's either bonus content (which is now not an option) or it's the same book in multiple collections (which is disallowed under a different rule.)

Offline Crystal_

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #55 on: June 02, 2018, 08:34:15 AM »
Even if machines keep publishing collections at that same rate, this will hurt. Bundles don't sell nearly as well as standalone titles.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #56 on: June 02, 2018, 08:35:25 AM »
Quote
Slowly but surely we've seen Amazon plugging holes in the dike. It's not happening anywhere close to the speed legit authors need to see it today, but the hope is tomorrow will be better. As we report and report and raise a stink and report some more, Amazon has gradually changed its policies, guidelines and TOS.


I was planning to not renew my books in KU when they ran out next month. However, I may reconsider this since Amazon seems to be trying to fix the problems.

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #57 on: June 02, 2018, 08:47:35 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)

That's what they have been trying to do? I assumed that the $/page read rate was set with the intent of keeping authors *out* of KU, lol!

Based on my initial number crunchings, I figured that KU simply would not be workable for me at anything less than 1cent/page. Possibly not even at that... I don't have a good sense of what is typical in terms of what % of KU readers borrow a book but never actually get around to reading it, or what % start but don't complete (though that's largely related to quality, I imagine). Plus the fact that Amazon doesn't actually tell you how many people borrow your book  ??? When you're multiplying unknowns by unknowns.. well, that's more uncertainty than I can take in my own business plans.


Anyway, I'm watching the Romance bestseller list with great interest. But.. I'm not optimistic. I certainly recognize the possibility that a large portion of the revenue for the book-factory type publishers comes from various nefarious tactics. Personally, though, I doubt it. Not because I don't think that those types would use such tactics. But more because I think that KU making things crazy (with the borrow=sale for ranking purposes, etc.) is a sufficient explanation for the bestseller list looking the way it does. I suppose I have a rather low opinion of the average KU reader and his or her taste in books, ha! And yeah, I do have a KU subscription myself, so - not every KU reader, obviously  :)

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #58 on: June 02, 2018, 09:09:55 AM »
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.


Do you really think a statement from a book-stuffer will be accurate?

But even a 10% boost in page reads is far from "marginal" except in the technical sense. If you suddenly got a 10% pay raise in your ordinary job, you'd consider that a pretty good raise.

I suspect the number is more like 100% myself. In other words, Kindle file stuffed with 9 extra books probably gets on average one of those extra books read, for a 100% increase in page reads.


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Offline Lilly_Frost

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #59 on: June 02, 2018, 09:10:18 AM »
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?

The ones I've run across are what I like to call a crap sandwich. The main story premise seems interesting and the author promises a new bonus book or story in the same sub-genre. When you start reading the book, however, the main story ends really quick--the shortest one I ever saw was 6%, but the average is probably around 12-15%. Then there are 5, 6, a0 other stories, usually something of a completely different sub-genre. Before I started writing/publishing, I didn't really know what the deal was, so I'd keep flipping past the crap to find the new story, which wouldn't you know it, is tucked aaalll the way at the back, so that the author conveniently gets a whopping payout. Once I found out about this scam, I noticed the pattern and I honestly think they are deliberately putting books unlikely to be read in the middle so that the reader will keep flipping all the way to the back. Otherwise, the reader might get burnt out after a couple of books and not get around to finishing it for a while, or God forbid, returning it unread.
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Offline Lilly_Frost

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #60 on: June 02, 2018, 09:18:02 AM »
Lynn Is A Pseudonym, I'm sure that all the books will now be "bundles" or "collections". That's how Amazon will once again let this crap slide by. If they're looking at June payouts, that means they'd have to be going back two months to see what was in KU then, and that's going to take a lot of work. Frankly, the more I think about it, the less I believe anything will happen.

Are bundles and collections eligible for All Star bonuses? If so, wouldn't disallowing them take away the allure of making collections to game the system?
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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #61 on: June 02, 2018, 09:28:58 AM »
Since the box set loophole is worrisome, could Amazon just say, "No box set content in KU unless the content is not available elsewhere in KU"? That would eliminate the possibility of double-dipping on box sets, and it would force an author to make a choice--does he or she want the individual titles in KU or the box set? Of course, a simpler rule that just prohibited box sets in KU completely, as suggested earlier, would be simpler and easier to enforce.


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Offline dgaughran

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #62 on: June 02, 2018, 09:30:12 AM »
Box sets aren't the draw they used to be for a number of reasons. Most relevant here is reader behavior of KU subscribers.

Where non-KU readers still swarm multiple books in a series and buy them all at once if there are discounts across several installments, KU readers are more like dentists: they take 'em out in ones.

Box sets just aren't as attractive to KU readers because they don't really save anything by grabbing them ahead of the individual books. And box sets could be next for the chopping block anyway. Who knows? There has been enough shenanigans around them to date where that's entirely possible, especially if the scammers flood those now.
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Offline brkingsolver

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #63 on: June 02, 2018, 09:39:19 AM »
Box sets aren't the draw they used to be for a number of reasons. Most relevant here is reader behavior of KU subscribers.

Where non-KU readers still swarm multiple books in a series and buy them all at once if there are discounts across several installments, KU readers are more like dentists: they take 'em out in ones.

Box sets just aren't as attractive to KU readers because they don't really save anything by grabbing them ahead of the individual books. And box sets could be next for the chopping block anyway. Who knows? There has been enough shenanigans around them to date where that's entirely possible, especially if the scammers flood those now.

From my own experience, I would disagree. I have a series that completed in 2015. I also have a 5-book omnibus for that series. One third of my revenue for that series this year is the boxed set, and 90% of its revenues are page reads. I've had readers tell me they prefer the convenience. A lot of them will take the set because it only takes up 1 of their 10 KU slots.
 

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Offline jb1111

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #64 on: June 02, 2018, 09:53:00 AM »
I can see (in the future) the possibility of extra material being thrown in to the romance novels in question without the massive TOC's and other links that make it obvious.

Say -- some guy or gal writes a 50 page story, and then adds a bunch of older material to it without denoting it as extra material. The reader -- who may be curious -- may just flip through a lot of it anyway. Maybe instead of the book being 80% extra material, it's only 30 or 40%. Still, the author may benefit in KU.

Can the bots automatically tell if you put older material in a new book -- without a human looking at it and comparing?

[Edited for clarity]
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 10:45:19 AM by jb1111 »

Offline K.B.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #65 on: June 02, 2018, 09:54:04 AM »
Step one in the right direction. The next step should be to lower the cap on KENP and exclude collections from All Stars.

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #66 on: June 02, 2018, 10:40:02 AM »
Step one in the right direction. The next step should be to lower the cap on KENP and exclude collections from All Stars.

Why? Collections are a long existing segment of the marketplace, and one that readers understand. It's only multiple iterations of the same books that's a problem, not the putting of said books into a box set. Same with the length question. Some books are just long.

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Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
« Reply #67 on: June 02, 2018, 10:53:25 AM »
I'm thrilled with what seems to me like a much clearer set of guidelines.

In all seriousness, a policy is only as good as its enforcement. Unless Amazon enforces this, people will continue to use bonus books.

I really hope they do enforce it. I'd love to look at the top 100 in romance and see nothing that's stuffed. But I'm not holding my breath.

I am curious what enforcement will look like.

Indeed, the proof will be in the pudding. Knowing Amazon, they've come up with some automated system to detect bonus content that exceeds 10%. I really, really hope they've developed a good one.

Offline writerbiter

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #68 on: June 02, 2018, 10:56:30 AM »
This does nothing.

For Example:

Baby Bump - The Accidental Baby Collection #2

Featuring the never-before-released story, Baby Bump!

***

There. Now it's a bundle. And, not only that, because it's a bundle and NOT a "New Title" it doesn't need to follow the rules for a regular book--especially in regards to WHERE the new content is placed. That "never before released" book will be in the back, preceded by Baby On The Way, An Accidental Baby, Whoops-My Boss's Baby, and Where'd I Put My Baby?

Theoretically, people could stuff 10 books into this file, put the new content in the back, and then earn all the pages from everyone scrolling past the stuff they've already read--and it won't be against the guidelines.

This changes nothing--just legitimizes what's already plaguing the store. 

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #69 on: June 02, 2018, 11:01:04 AM »
Got so excited until I imagined a huge wave of 'collections' coming
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Offline Phxsundog

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #70 on: June 02, 2018, 11:28:41 AM »
Like David said, bundles and collections haven't performed as well in KU for sometime. Having to identify stuffed books as anthologies will cause some readers to avoid them. That's a step up from them hiding 3000 page volumes under a single title and the vague phrase "bonus content."

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #71 on: June 02, 2018, 11:36:26 AM »
This does nothing.

For Example:

Baby Bump - The Accidental Baby Collection #2

Featuring the never-before-released story, Baby Bump!

***

There. Now it's a bundle. And, not only that, because it's a bundle and NOT a "New Title" it doesn't need to follow the rules for a regular book--especially in regards to WHERE the new content is placed. That "never before released" book will be in the back, preceded by Baby On The Way, An Accidental Baby, Whoops-My Boss's Baby, and Where'd I Put My Baby?

Theoretically, people could stuff 10 books into this file, put the new content in the back, and then earn all the pages from everyone scrolling past the stuff they've already read--and it won't be against the guidelines.

This changes nothing--just legitimizes what's already plaguing the store.

Wouldn't that sort of thing strike readers as clearly manipulative and quite annoying? As a reader, I could pretty easily ignore stuff that comes after the thing I want to read, but making me search through a bunch of other books for the thing I want to read would  p*ss  me off. I think there'd be returns, and Amazon would hear complaints.

Offline Ros_Jackson

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #72 on: June 02, 2018, 12:06:49 PM »
I can see (in the future) the possibility of extra material being thrown in to the romance novels in question without the massive TOC's and other links that make it obvious.

Say -- some guy or gal writes a 50 page story, and then adds a bunch of older material to it without denoting it as extra material. The reader -- who may be curious -- may just flip through a lot of it anyway. Maybe instead of the book being 80% extra material, it's only 30 or 40%. Still, the author may benefit in KU.

Can the bots automatically tell if you put older material in a new book -- without a human looking at it and comparing?


The way stories are labelled is going to be the key. It should be trivial for a bot to go through content and figure out chapter headings to flag whether there's more than 10% bonus content, if they're conventionally labelled. But if they're not?

However, if this creates a poor user experience it will be a competitive disadvantage for scammers.

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Offline K.B.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #73 on: June 02, 2018, 12:12:30 PM »
Why? Collections are a long existing segment of the marketplace, and one that readers understand. It's only multiple iterations of the same books that's a problem, not the putting of said books into a box set. Same with the length question. Some books are just long.

Because it prevents scammers from getting a foothold on the program. Honest to God, I'm not worried about the small fraction of authors who will take a hit with such a cap. 1000 KENP is still extremely long (150-200k words). Not everyone will be pleased with the measures it's going to take to stop the scammers, but it'll eventually be the only way for KU to sort itself out.

It's either that or a gatekeeper of sorts.

Offline P.J. Post

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #74 on: June 02, 2018, 12:15:54 PM »
So, going from observation to strategy: for those of us about to publish a box set, how does this change the game? Not necessarily from Zon's pov, but from that of the sales shelf?

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