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Discussion Starter #1
When the topic of KU gaming comes up, many people don't seem to understand what page stuffing (aka book stuffing or bonus stuffing) is and why it is so harmful. Author Heather C. Leigh has made a handy video explainer:

(Before the usual suspects chime in, yes, this practice is against the TOS and KDP Executive Customer Relations has confirmed that explicitly to me in writing.)

Edit: New link for the video:


Edited to change image to a link - further explanation in my post below, but do PM me if any questions. Evenstar, Moderator
 

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KENPC 3 doesn't count skipped pages anymore, though. This is kind of a moot point. The only way people get paid for "stuffed pages" now is if the person actually reads the bonus books. Whether you believe that bonus content is against KDP terms of service or not (I don't), there is nothing wrong with someone getting paid for pages a reader actually reads. There's nothing illicit about that at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
SaraBourgeois said:
KENPC 3 doesn't count skipped pages anymore, though. This is kind of a moot point.
It's my understanding that this loophole was not successfully plugged, as many have assumed.
 

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SaraBourgeois said:
KENPC 3 doesn't count skipped pages anymore, though. This is kind of a moot point. The only way people get paid for "stuffed pages" now is if the person actually reads the bonus books. Whether you believe that bonus content is against KDP terms of service or not (I don't), there is nothing wrong with someone getting paid for pages a reader actually reads. There's nothing illicit about that at all.
Leaving aside the first part, which seems to still be broken on some devices and in some situations, this isn't a question of bonus content, like a novella included in a box set. These are the same books, put together in multiple different ways, not marked in the product descriptions, etc. You're reading a book, hit 30%, and it ends, only to have a bunch of other stuff at the back. It creates a messy, unfavorable impression of the ebooks being sold on Amazon's store.

Also, my experience is that people are rarely breaking only one rule. They're squatting in inappropriate categories, they're stuffing keywords into their titles, they're cheating on the pub dates in order to try to game the hot new release lists, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
SaraBourgeois said:
Whether you believe that bonus content is against KDP terms of service or not (I don't)...
It's against the TOS. I emailed KDP Executive Customer Relations to establish exactly that. I'll copy the emails here for you.

My email to ECR in July:

Their completely unambiguous response (emphasizing the most relevant part):

Executive Customer Relations
 

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All of the evidence I've seen is that the loophole has been plugged. (Except for possibly on the cloud reader on PC). It is no longer the issue it was, so videos like this are stirring people up for a non- issue.

As far as "if they're doing one thing, they must be doing other things", that's not the point here. Even if I agree with you, I think it's a bad idea to go after people for something that isn't true. It destroys your credibility. If you continue to throw anything you can against the wall and hope something sticks, no one is going to take you seriously.
 

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So this is where David and I might have a slight disagreement. If there's a box set, and it says "includes the bonus novella: SOME COOL BOOK", and that novella isn't here, there, and everywhere, I think that's okay. So sure, "bonus content." David is stricter on this than I am.

But what is unambiguous is that books that aren't mentioned in the description and that are included in different sets, merely reordered this way and that in a way to throw up all sorts of titles and confuse the lists, the algos, the readers, is violating the ToS. And in my experience, when you see something that looks scammy at the very first glance, those are the same authors who are up to all sorts of other garbage, too. It's not an innocent mistake, they are purposefully trying to defraud the system.
 

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SaraBourgeois said:
But, they aren't getting away with it anymore because Amazon plugged the hole. It's time to move on to something else.
It feels like you're purposefully trying to muddy the waters.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hmmm, someone with one post before this thread goes up rushes in to say it's not against the TOS (it is) that it has been fixed (it hasn't) and that we should all move on anyway before our credibility is destroyed.

Seems legit.
 

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I'm really not. I'm actually trying to be helpful. If I do agree that there are shady things going on, then the focus needs to be on stuff that's still happening. Drudging the bottom for old issues isn't going to stop the current nefarious stuff from happening. The focus needs to be on the things that are still affecting authors right now and not on the issues that Amazon has already fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
SaraBourgeois said:
Drudging the bottom for old issues isn't going to stop the current nefarious stuff from happening.
It's not an old issue. These guys are still stuffing, and still leveraging those artificially increase page counts into greater payouts from the communal pot, All Star bonuses they don't deserve, and visibility they are taking from others.

SaraBourgeois said:
The focus needs to be on the things that are still affecting authors right now and not on the issues that Amazon has already fixed.
It hasn't been fixed.
 

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SaraBourgeois said:
All of the evidence I've seen is that the loophole has been plugged.
It'd probably make more sense to share the evidence, then, rather than keep insisting Amazon fixed the problem despite what others are saying. ;)
 

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Sorry, I don't have screenshots of the tests I've seen people run.

One question, though. I've noticed that the books by the authors that all of this is referring to, the masterminds, have gotten significantly shorter. Instead of 1200 - 1500 pages, it seems that they are now 300 - 600 pages. Doesn't that indicate that the "stuffing" isn't working anymore?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
People deliberately upload shorter paperbacks and then get KDP to update the page count to reflect the print edition, and then go back and stuff the ebook edition.

Been that way for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
It's an attempt to cover their tracks, an indication they know they are doing something wrong.
 

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Including bonus material is not against TOS. It is unethical when it is multiple 'free' books that exceed the length of the original book or when the author tries to trick someone into reading something 'at the back.' This video is dangerously slanderous IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
SuzyQ said:
Including bonus material is not against TOS. It is unethical when it is multiple 'free' books that exceed the length of the original book or when the author tries to trick someone into reading something 'at the back.' This video is dangerously slanderous IMO.
What part is slanderous? It shows the stuffing that is taking place quite clearly.
 
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