Update: Amazon replies here:
Allegedly these books won’t have their pages counted towards the pot…
Selena Kitt said it best on this blog post. If you’re just coming in to this conversation, it turns out that upwards of 10% of Kindle Unlimited $ have gone to scammers who’ve gamed the “pages read” system with links to end matter like “Win A Kindle!” which has automatically counted ALL pages in their title as “read.” And the worst of it is, her Amazon rep reassured her at the advent of 2.0 that only actual pages read would be counted. Never mind the $25,000 “All Star” bonuses that have gone to these same scammers…
Since at least December, the lion’s share of pages read are going to these “digital dopers,” their titles swollen on Performance Enhancing Deviousness, keeping them one step ahead of the system and pushing the per page payment rate lower every month…
…Before the KENPC cap was very recently instituted, the pages you could get paid for per-read were unlimited. Which meant that anyone could release a “book” of unlimited length in KDP Select (these scammers are putting garbage in their books – foreign translations, articles from Wikipedia, just words for words’ sake) then put a link at the front of that book that jumped to the back – and voila. A $100 download in one click. I’m not kidding. I know authors who have told me they’ve seen these scammers bragging about getting that much per-read before the KENPC cap.
Even when they put the KENPC cap of 3000 on it, with the payout last month at $0.0041 per page read, that meant the maximum payout was $12.30 per download. Still not too shabby. Especially if you have lots of scammer friends to borrow your book and just click a link to read to the end – and push up your rank in the process.
KU 2.0 is far worse, in terms of scamming and money lost, than KU 1.0 ever was.
What did I say last summer when Amazon instituted 2.0? That was supposed to end the loophole that gave deadbeats $1.30 every time someone opened a ten page book, and automatically got a “10% read” borrow credit.
Are there ways to jigger this system?
Of course! Systems are born to be jiggered! [I then naively illustrated this by suggesting you add a free excerpt of another novel at the end of your book, little realizing how foolishly honest I was being by adding genuine content to a book…]
Won’t Amazon catch on to this?
Of course! But they’re a giant behemoth of a corporation who will Entishly take six months of meetings and presentations and who’s-pissing-on-whose-shoes corporate infighting, horse trading and other bullshit before they even catch on, never mind decide what to do, and change the system so that it can be gamed in another way!
…and that’s just what they’ve done. In fact, some conservative estimates place the money paid out to scammers at up to $100 a book for “pages read,” before Amazon instituted the 3000 page limit, which is giving them a “mere” $12 today.
And what is Amazon doing about this? Nothing.
The money is still swirling down the drain. And the worst of it is that these scammers are bragging about their achievements online. And as I keep hammering home, Amazon is too damn slow to fix it.
Or worse, they just. Don’t. Care.
Jeff Bezos could say, now, today, “Minions! Run me a report on every book in the last three months with >3000 pages! Filter by cross-correlating those with the books and authors with the highest ‘pages read’! Take some drones off Smut Patrol and have them examine the first two pages of these books for links to the end! Make It So, Number One!”
Nope. Not happening. And you know what? ONLY YOU can prevent forest fires…by not subscribing. My titles just auto renewed and I’m stuck in this cookpot till the end of May, but you? You can quit any time.
I know there are people who can’t afford books, and that KU is a godsend for them. But…it’s killing us. Every one who subscribes is now paying their money not to real authors, but to frauds and deadbeats, while those of us whose books you’re reading are slowly strangled to death.