Kindle's zero-sum reimbursement for authors means you're probably being gamed.


... the strange universe of Amazon Kindle Unlimited, where authors collaborate and compete to game Amazon’s algorithm. Trademark trolling is just the beginning:...

... unethical marketing and algorithmic tricks are running rampant ... 

Authors like Suzan Tisdale, Zoe York, and Margaret Bates expressed the fear that book stuffing as a phenomenon was changing the culture of the genre. Romance, they assert, has gone from the kind and friendly, woman-centric atmosphere described by This American Life in 2003, to something scarier and more misogynistic.

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I read 2 pages but still don't know what's going-on.  Can someone explain it to me in simple concise language?

In brief, Kindle seems to be a platform which rewards authors for tricking readers. This degrades the quality of their offerings, and makes promoted material suspect.


Looking at the article...

Kindle Unlimited lets people read as many books as they want for $9.99 a month. "Authors are paid according to pages read, creating incentives to produce massively inflated and strangely structured books."

" stuffing plagues the romance genre on Kindle Unlimited, with titles that come in at 2000 or even 3000 pages (the maximum page length for a Kindle Unlimited book). That’s approximately the length of Atlas Shrugged or War and Peace.

Book stuffing is particularly controversial because Amazon pays authors from a single communal pot. In other words, Kindle Unlimited is a zero-sum game. The more one author gets from Kindle Unlimited, the less the other authors get."

(bolding added)

All greek to me, I'm not in Kindle unlimited, & have no intention of joining.

I'm not either. 

This post also does not state how authors have historically been paid.  Dickens was paid by the installment.  Royalties work in a variety of ways.  Paid by the book, paid by the book sold, or paid a flat fee.  In the case of the Kindle romances, they are self-published.  As the article states, it's the writers who are gaming the system, not Amazon. 

I skimmed the article.  I did not see that it offered an alternative - pay authors the same regardless of how many people read their books? Pay authors by the hour, regardless of how many people read them?   If someone starts reading a book, and it's awful, it's up to the reader to stop reading it.  In which case, if the model is pay per page,  the remaining pages are not viewed, and the author is paid less.   I like that, because I sometimes feel cheated when I start a book and find out it's not good, but I already spent my money on the whole thing.

I don't see a problem.  The  author who writes the most compelling book, will have people reading through to the end and get paid more, getting a bigger share of the pay pot.  The author who writes boilerplate and people give up reading them, will get paid less. 

It also looks like a lot of the shady activities by the romance novel authors were via a site called "bookclicker", which is not on Amazon or Kindle, and where authors would agree to give each others' books positive reviews, and buy each others' books, to improve their ratings.  Other parts are related to "Ibooks", which is an Apple app, not Amazon.   It looks to me like a lot of the stuff was unrelated to Amazon.  For someone just reading this post, especially the title, it looks like the main issue is Amazon.   In fact, Amazon removed a writer who seems to be especially egregious.   Instead, it looks to me like the main issue is the authors and how they are gaming the system and doing some sneaky things over multiple platforms..




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