There’s been a lot of drama in the publishing world recently, and one of the biggest stories at the moment is about the authors in the Kindle Unlimited program who are cheating the system to take money from honest authors.
In order to make MUCH more money than they’ve actually earned these people manipulate unsuspecting readers into helping them, and very few people seem to be aware what is going on.
Here’s how it works:
#1 Kindle Unlimited is a book subscription service. Customers pay a fee each month and have access to numerous ebooks that are exclusively on Amazon.
#2 Authors aren’t paid by book borrows, but by how many pages are read. That means they only get paid for twenty pages if the reader goes no further than that, as long as the reader doesn’t click through to the end (e.g. to rate the book).
In theory, authors are paid for equal work.
#3 Scammers try every trick there is to make their readers go to the end of the book. This includes adding links at the front to make readers jump to the end.
In reality, it looks more like this.
#4 The more pages readers skip over, the more the “authors” are paid. And so they “stuff” many other, previously-released books and other random content into the one book. It doesn’t matter if it ever gets read; it just matters that people click through it so they can make more money from it.
#5 This is 100% against the Kindle Unlimited Terms of Service. There is not meant to be more than 10% of bonus material in a Kindle Unlimited book, but some of these cheaters have extra stuffing in there that makes up 80 or 90% of the book.
And it is SO bad because:
#6 All authors are paid out of the same pot of money. They get paid based on the % of page reads, and so authors who’ve tricked people into flicking through literally thousands of extra pages are taking income away from authors who don’t cheat.
#7 Very few authors in this world make much money, but some of these book stuffers are making a fortune by scamming everyone.
#8 Now, finally – because people have started reporting the scammers – some of the worst offenders have been removed from Amazon in recent days, and they’re complaining loudly, all over the internet. They have their fan club members out complaining, too.
#9 At the moment, these scammers are playing the victim in the situation. THEY’RE NOT. They are complaining about loss of income, and saying ridiculous things like, ‘How will I feed my family now?!’
What they don’t mention is that they’ve been STEALING from other authors for years. Not once did they care how other authors would feed their families.
Don’t fall for the sob stories.
How you can help stop these unethical authors:
#1 DO NOT, under any circumstances, skip through to the end of a stuffed book.
#2 And DO NOT, under any circumstances, click on suspicious links within the contents or the book’s text.
#3 And… DO NOT, under any circumstances, click to the end of the book in order to rate or report it. Even if you intend to stop the scammers by reviewing or reporting, if you’ve gone to the end, you’ve just paid the thieves and stolen from honest authors anyway.
If you want to review etc., go to your computer or tablet and log on to Amazon there.
#4 And – finally – nothing will change unless these people are REPORTED.
At the moment the worst of the book stuffing is taking place in the romance genre because it’s so big and lucrative. However, some of these so-called authors are listing their books in every category under the sun in order to trick more readers.
When the now Amazon-owned Goodreads started infringing on people’s right to review books how they wanted (and to do things like call out plagiarists for, you know, plagiarism!), people started migrating to BookLikes.
I can’t say I’m enamoured with the place yet, but I have set up an account, if you want to join me over there! They still don’t even recognise Australia, which makes this Australian mad! I wish it was a little less like Tumblr (which I hate!), but I suppose – hope – they’ll start making some improvements now it’s becoming a more popular place for readers to congregate.
I just hope they never sell out to Amazon the way Goodreads did!