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I noticed this problem at the end of June on two of my books and finally emailed them on July 3rd. I got this reply on July 6th but have received no replies since then and I've called and emailed numerous more times. They still haven't taken the read and listen free off and they did not compensate in any way. Sales of my two audiobooks which I paid cash for have been cannibalized by this. So frustrating. I am sure I'll never be paid.

"Thank you for contacting ACX!

We would like to start by apologizing for any inconvenience this has caused you. We would also like to assure you that we are working diligently to not only remove your titles from the Kindle Unlimited program but we are also carefully reviewing what losses were had in your sales as a result if any. 

Please allow our team some time to carefully review this matter and we will certainly notify you as soon as we have an update. In the meantime, please let me know if I can provide additional information or assistance."


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randallcfloyd said:
Sounds like this may end up being a potential class action lawsuit.
That certainly would be an interesting question. KU authors are barred from pursuing class actions against Amazon, but those audio books weren't in KU so the KU contract would presumably not be applicable to them. Wouldn't stop Amazon from asserting the KU-authors-can't-sue clause of their contract I'm sure, but a court might very well rule, nope, outside the contract, not covered by it.

CallMeRed--I would heed their advice. Contact them again. Every day.
 

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jmb3 said:
For Jeff Nine who has his audios produced through Tantor, it is possible that Tantor has some deal with Amazon, in which case, he should get some sort of compensation. Although, that's definitely something he should look into. In my case, the only person Amazon could have asked to work a deal for free access to my audiobook was me (the full copyright owner)... and I definitely was never asked, nor was I compensated in any way for the listens. I thought maybe it had something to do with being in the Romance Package (I was one of the founding authors in that program) but there is nothing in the wording of that contract that mentions KU. Plus only one, not both of the audiobooks I have in RP, is being offered for a free listen in KU. And Susan, I will continue to pursue this for sure. I just very much doubt they care about compensating one insignificant author. :(
I am also pursuing this.

I contacted KDP, and they passed the buck to Audible, who gave me a rote response. I also contacted ACX and Audible PR, and will report back what they say.
 

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I am also pursuing this.

I contacted KDP, and they passed the buck to Audible, who gave me a rote response. I also contacted ACX and Audible PR, and will report back what they say.
Good to hear you are looking into it Nate. This is quite a scandal, I think.

After writing to same rep at KDP yesterday and asking what's happening now that my audio is no longer free, I received a prompt email back from the same Customer Relations Specialist who said they are still investigating and working with ACX so that "this can all be worked out appropriately, since your audio-book is published with them." They also are trying to determine why it occurred and say that it is being worked on with priority.

I would have thought approaching three weeks since I first wrote is hardly priority. However, I feel that the tone of this email suggests there will be a payout. They can't get away with not paying something. I have a figure in my mind, I'm prepared to accept based on the Prime inclusion paid for the same book. Also not ruling out legal action but I'm sure they don't want this to blow up in the media. It's pretty damning of them to be stealing authors' books for their own benefit.

My suggestions is that everyone affected, please pursue this. They cannot get away with using your intellectual property to beef up their KU offer without paying you. Will report back when I hear more.
 

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I got a form email from ACX:
Thank you for reaching out to ACX. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you.

A technical issue caused some audiobooks to be offered in Kindle Unlimited in error. ACX has removed your title and will provide you with an update on royalty credits for any of your audiobooks that were offered in the program in error. ACX Is carefully reviewing this matter and will reach out with more information soon. We're sorry for the inconvenience this caused.

In the meantime, please let me know if we can provide additional information or assistance. We're here to help. Thank you for your patience.
I don't know that I believe they have fixed the problem, but I do think they really are trying to fix it. (I told Audible PR I was going to write a post on this next week.)
 

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Nate Hoffelder said:
I got a form email from ACX:
I don't know that I believe they have fixed the problem, but I do think they really are trying to fix it. (I told Audible PR I was going to write a post on this next week.)
Nate, I don't believe they've fixed the problem in total. I think they've done a sweep of some books including ones whose authors have complained. I'm a little unsettled by the form email they've sent you.

They can't just get away with "royalty credits," if I take that to mean, they intend to pay us a royalty on whatever quantity of downloads occurred. For a start we don't know when this began, so they need to be upfront about that (and yes, I know, they are rarely up-front).

Also, and more importantly, the value they received from offering thousands of books for free to listen meant a lot more to their profit than the actual downloads that occurred. I only signed up for KU recently because of the audiobooks. It's a brilliant deal. Just as Prime Reads made their Prime membership look more appealing, so too does having these audiobooks for free. Not to mention there is a penalty for using our copyright protected product for their own benefit without asking, glitch (yeah, sure it was) or not.

So offering a credit per download will not cut it with me. They can pay me what they paid for my inclusion in Prime Reads with this same book. I've told them in my original email I'm expecting a similar payout offer, if not more, since the audiobook costs more to produce and therefore has more value as an offering to Kindle Unlimited readers. Their glitch, so they can pay for it.

Look forward to reading your post Nate.
 

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A supervisor finally called me back yesterday. He said they are working on trying to figure out how much to pay us. He implied it would be a per download/borrow amount. I agree with the statement that it should be more. In addition to the reasons you stated, I've (we've) spent a lot of time and frustration emailing them and calling them trying to straighten this out. Is my (our) time worth nothing to them??


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CallMeRed said:
A supervisor finally called me back yesterday. He said they are working on trying to figure out how much to pay us. He implied it would be a per download/borrow amount. I agree with the statement that it should be more. In addition to the reasons you stated, I've (we've) spent a lot of time and frustration emailing them and calling them trying to straighten this out. Is my (our) time worth nothing to them??
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No, our time and work is worth nothing to them. They've made that clear over the years. And they are not getting away with paying by the download. This isn't like a normal thing with them where they can say this is what we offer & if you want it you must accept our terms, like they do with Prime Reads offers of inclusion, Kindle Deal inclusion or using them to distribute from ACX & signing their terms.

In this case, they used our property without our permission for their own benefit. When they did that they harmed our sales incalculably. There is no telling how many extra KU memberships they gained from using our books illegally as incentive.

There is also no way to calculate how many sales we lost of audiobooks. A person may have seen our audiobook & thought I won't get that from Audible or buy it now because I'll grab that later on a free KU listen.

What about bounties we may have missed out on?

When you get caught stealing, you don't get to just pay for the item & all is forgiven. They can pay me what they paid for my Prime inclusion & extra for their misuse of my work, otherwise this won't go away. This will not look good for them in the media. A big, rich corporation stealing intellectual property from small creative one person operations.

They have known about this for 3 months that we know of, so they can't say it's just a glitch. If it was a glitch it would have been fixed when the first author advised them. This thread has obviously stirred a lot of complaints to make them finally take action when they've realized we are not going away anytime soon.

Will report back when I hear more.
 

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SusanMayWriter said:
Nate, I don't believe they've fixed the problem in total. I think they've done a sweep of some books including ones whose authors have complained. I'm a little unsettled by the form email they've sent you.

They can't just get away with "royalty credits," if I take that to mean, they intend to pay us a royalty on whatever quantity of downloads occurred. For a start we don't know when this began, so they need to be upfront about that (and yes, I know, they are rarely up-front).

Also, and more importantly, the value they received from offering thousands of books for free to listen meant a lot more to their profit than the actual downloads that occurred. I only signed up for KU recently because of the audiobooks. It's a brilliant deal. Just as Prime Reads made their Prime membership look more appealing, so too does having these audiobooks for free. Not to mention there is a penalty for using our copyright protected product for their own benefit without asking, glitch (yeah, sure it was) or not.

So offering a credit per download will not cut it with me. They can pay me what they paid for my inclusion in Prime Reads with this same book. I've told them in my original email I'm expecting a similar payout offer, if not more, since the audiobook costs more to produce and therefore has more value as an offering to Kindle Unlimited readers. Their glitch, so they can pay for it.

Look forward to reading your post Nate.
I posted yesterday.
https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/08/08/indie-authors-audiobooks-are-getting-dragooned-into-kindle-unlimited-without-permission-or-payment/
 

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Hi,

I'm back as promised. I didn't prompt a response from KDP since my last one because I figured the longer it took the worse it would be for them in negotiations for compensation.

So, this morning I received an email from the same customer relations specialist, so this is being handled higher up for sure. It's the same ol' same ol':

Just to follow-up with you, I'm still currently following ACX's investigation progress related to your audible book that was available for free listening, and is taking longer to resolve than anticipated. I can confirm that this is of utmost priority though. As soon as there's an outcome, I'll notify you immediately. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
I've written back and said in so many words that this is unacceptable and concerning since they were aware of this issue back in May at least (when this thread was started) and, considering this is a serious breach of copyright, I'm expecting a much higher payment from them than the amount they paid for the same book to be included in Kindle Prime. The other contributing factor to the amount I expect is that it is now five weeks since I notified them and the delay in first taking the book down and then making a compensation offer is harmful to my business.

If anyone receives an offer, I suggest you don't accept that offer unless it is wildly good. It should be negotiated until you are satisfied. They can't just use our property for their own gain and then, after the fact, decide how much they'll pay. Maybe there is a class action to be had here if eventually we don't receive satisfaction.

In my mind, they can double the payout for Kindle Prime since, as WasAnn has said, this wasn't a glitch. This is theft and fraud. Don't worry, I will keep you up to date and they can't pay me to go away. This has really annoyed me.

It's like a publisher taking your book, publishing it as a free intro to their catalogue and never telling you about it. If they don't hurry up, I'll be talking to the media. At the moment, the longer they take to resolve this the better our case.
 

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Ugh, this really ticks me off. I had two books in this mess. They told me two weeks ago they'd taken them both off the read and listen free thing and I noticed that the button on amazon no longer said "read and listen free" it just said "Read free" but one of the books had the little audio headphones next to the words kindle unlimited. The other one didn't and the rest of my audiobooks (the other 6 books I have) did NOT have the little headphones next to kindle unlimited. So I called ACX and asked them what those headphones meant. They said it meant that my book was whispersynced. After I hung up I wondered why the rest of my books didn't have the little icon, were they NOT whispersynced? Because they were...

Ugh, now I clicked on the link you provided above and sure enough that book IS still enrolled in this program. Ugh. So so so sick of this!! They freaking lied to me.

What a bunch of carp.
 

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I've heard back again after writing to the rep and they say: I honestly can assure you that the ACX team considers this to be priority to ensure they come to a conclusion as soon as possible.

Kate. said:
One of my books was (and still is) included in the program. I found it by following the link posted on the first page: https://www.amazon.com/b/ref=amb_link_422999562_4?ie=UTF8&node=9630682011

I didn't have time to contact ACX when I first found it, and now, I'm curious to see what they'll do. It seems as though they're only removing books when an author complains.
You should definitely send ACX a message asking for your book to be taken down and request compensation. The more complaints, the more I think we will receive. If your audiobook is free with Kindle Unlimited you can tell because the button that says Read for Free will have Read and Listen for Free. If there is a little headset emblem next to the box that says Kindle Unlimited included with your membership, and your book isn't showing Read and Listen for Free, this means then your audiobook has been free but they've removed it. You should write to them and say you believe it was offered for free and request information about when this occurred. I'd put up an image to show you but I don't know how. lol

I notice when I've just checked that a lot of audio books are showing as available in Kindle Unlimited on the link but they are now not. So they've taken out quite a lot of them. I'd love to know how many in the list are now available. Maybe it's only their imprints.

My book is still included in the link of books which have free audio. However, the audio now can't be downloaded.

David VanDyke said:
Sorry if I missed it, but has Gaughran or somebody like him blogged this up? Raising the profile of these problems always helps.
David, Nate did write about it a few weeks ago. https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/08/08/indie-authors-audiobooks-are-getting-dragooned-into-kindle-unlimited-without-permission-or-payment/ I haven't gotten in touch with David because I think it will be resolved eventually. Mind you, if I'm still here in a month with no answer, then things will be ramped up.

However, I believe this infringement of our copyright is so serious it has most likely been kicked up to legal and they are working out what they need to do. Then get that approved by upper management. I imagine there will be contracts needed to be signed once we reach an agreement, which will say that we accept a sum payment with no further claim against them. As I keep saying, that sum better feel as though I've won the lottery or this will be escalated.

Please anybody who has had their audio included in KU without their permission, write to Amazon. It will take five minutes and will add to our case against them. Most authors don't even realize it has happened to them. So check your books.
 

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WasAnn said:
SusanMayWriter - Please so the whole community a huge solid and get in touch with David. It needs to be someone actually impacted. It will get air time. Amazon will see what he writes and more importantly...every single author he reaches will look at their books and see if they're impacted, and hopefully, then report it.
WasAnn, I hadn't thought about the fact many authors wouldn't know their books had been included, so I will get in touch with David and then if he writes something maybe we can get it on Passive Voice and get it out to the wider community. Although I'm sure Nate's article did get it out to a few people. I see a few well known authors I know also had a book in there and I'll message them.

I have messaged a few authors earlier to alert them and they hadn't been aware but I haven't heard back what happened. Will email David and others now. Thanks for the shove.
 

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WasAnn said:
SusanMayWriter - Please so the whole community a huge solid and get in touch with David. It needs to be someone actually impacted. It will get air time. Amazon will see what he writes and more importantly...every single author he reaches will look at their books and see if they're impacted, and hopefully, then report it.
WasAnn emails have been sent. :)
 
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