Author Topic: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon  (Read 1665 times)

David VanDyke

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KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« on: August 07, 2019, 10:14:34 AM »


Amazon can get more proactive, change KU rules again, whatever. The only way they'll really stop the folks gaming KU is to get rid of KU. And I wouldn't mind that at all. *cue the wailing and moaning*

They won't get rid of it. Subscription models are the wave of the present and future, until something newer comes along.

But it could use major reform. I've said this for years: simply lower the cap to, say, 1000 KENPC. That cuts by 2/3 the incentive to abuse and create fake read-throughs of 3000 KENPC (almost $15 a pop). Cuts it to less than $5 max for a whole book read-thru. Sure, it might shave a few legit authors--the very few whose individual books exceed 1000 KENPC. But no system is perfect. This would make it much better.





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WasAnn

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2019, 02:36:07 AM »


Amazon can get more proactive, change KU rules again, whatever. The only way they'll really stop the folks gaming KU is to get rid of KU. And I wouldn't mind that at all. *cue the wailing and moaning*

They won't get rid of it. Subscription models are the wave of the present and future, until something newer comes along.

But it could use major reform. I've said this for years: simply lower the cap to, say, 1000 KENPC. That cuts by 2/3 the incentive to abuse and create fake read-throughs of 3000 KENPC (almost $15 a pop). Cuts it to less than $5 max for a whole book read-thru. Sure, it might shave a few legit authors--the very few whose individual books exceed 1000 KENPC. But no system is perfect. This would make it much better.

Yep, this right here is a huge step in the right direction.

They key to fraud is how much is costs in time, money, and effort to get each unit of profit...in this case, a dollar.

It's why the ineffective nature of robocalling is still going on at an accelerated rate. With a computer doing thousands of scanned dials instantly, software that quickly disconnects, and more software that steals phone numbers....the cost is almost nothing. Not compared with the human powered systems of before. So, even though it seems like not one falls for it, it's still worth it because it's absolutely effortless.

In KU terms, there is relatively high benefit per unit...namely 15 bucks a full read, and a rank pop of one borrow's worth of rank for that day. It's the inverse of the robocall system, meaning there is high benefit because there is a captive audience (KU readers) for a single product line (that person's books). More effort per unit is worth it.

Tear down that unit a bit and drop it to 1000 KENPC and you've just made many of those tactics no longer worth it.

What about box sets! What about an Omnibus! What about G.R.R. Martin!

Yeah, no. A book in KU that captures the readers attention will get the next one borrowed...etc. The whole series will get downloaded eventually. Many of the easier and more cost effective manipulation schemes will be rendered too onerous to be worth it. No box sets. No series. No omnibuses. Anthologies, yes...but only under 1000.


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Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2019, 06:43:13 AM »


Amazon can get more proactive, change KU rules again, whatever. The only way they'll really stop the folks gaming KU is to get rid of KU. And I wouldn't mind that at all. *cue the wailing and moaning*

They won't get rid of it. Subscription models are the wave of the present and future, until something newer comes along.

But it could use major reform. I've said this for years: simply lower the cap to, say, 1000 KENPC. That cuts by 2/3 the incentive to abuse and create fake read-throughs of 3000 KENPC (almost $15 a pop). Cuts it to less than $5 max for a whole book read-thru. Sure, it might shave a few legit authors--the very few whose individual books exceed 1000 KENPC. But no system is perfect. This would make it much better.

Yep, this right here is a huge step in the right direction.

They key to fraud is how much is costs in time, money, and effort to get each unit of profit...in this case, a dollar.

It's why the ineffective nature of robocalling is still going on at an accelerated rate. With a computer doing thousands of scanned dials instantly, software that quickly disconnects, and more software that steals phone numbers....the cost is almost nothing. Not compared with the human powered systems of before. So, even though it seems like not one falls for it, it's still worth it because it's absolutely effortless.

In KU terms, there is relatively high benefit per unit...namely 15 bucks a full read, and a rank pop of one borrow's worth of rank for that day. It's the inverse of the robocall system, meaning there is high benefit because there is a captive audience (KU readers) for a single product line (that person's books). More effort per unit is worth it.

Tear down that unit a bit and drop it to 1000 KENPC and you've just made many of those tactics no longer worth it.

What about box sets! What about an Omnibus! What about G.R.R. Martin!

Yeah, no. A book in KU that captures the readers attention will get the next one borrowed...etc. The whole series will get downloaded eventually. Many of the easier and more cost effective manipulation schemes will be rendered too onerous to be worth it. No box sets. No series. No omnibuses. Anthologies, yes...but only under 1000.
I'll add that box sets could still be used to give a price break to someone willing to buy the whole series. There's just no more incentive to create box sets for KU purposes. I'm cool with that. I agree that people who really like the material will borrow one book at a time until the series is finished. I have a small fan base, but even so my read-through on KU is higher than my read-through among buyers. You don't have to have a box set (much less include your whole catalog in each book, back in the old days of stuffing) to get people to read them.

I wonder, though, if a cap could be overcome just by increasing volume. I suppose that would make the bots work harder, and I would guess the more botting, the easier it would be to detect and police. I don't know that for sure, though.


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Marti Talbott

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2019, 06:54:39 AM »
Are you saying that readers don't like or are tired of box sets? I have three which were already created before I put  books in KU. Someone read one of my box sets all the way through, but the other two go untouched, although I'm getting reads on the individual books. Of course, I've only been in KU since the end of June.
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2019, 07:10:37 AM »
Are you saying that readers don't like or are tired of box sets? I have three which were already created before I put  books in KU. Someone read one of my box sets all the way through, but the other two go untouched, although I'm getting reads on the individual books. Of course, I've only been in KU since the end of June.
No, that wasn't what I was implying at all. I was just agreeing with WasAnn that box sets aren't necessary to get readers to read a whole series, at least if the readers are motivated. I can see a KU reader liking a box set because it's less downloading. If the price is a bargain, I can see a buyer liking it better for that reason.


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Crystal

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2019, 08:08:39 AM »
If people are botting, lowering the cap won't do much to stop them. The only thing that will stop them is a) kicking them out of KU and/or the store and b) withholding their royalties, so they suffer a financial loss. Right now, scammers are getting booted, waiting until they're paid, then making new accounts and scamming all over again. They won't stop until it makes financial sense to do so.

There's also the possibility of criminal charges, but that seems very unlikely.
 
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WasAnn

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2019, 08:44:05 AM »
If people are botting, lowering the cap won't do much to stop them. The only thing that will stop them is a) kicking them out of KU and/or the store and b) withholding their royalties, so they suffer a financial loss. Right now, scammers are getting booted, waiting until they're paid, then making new accounts and scamming all over again. They won't stop until it makes financial sense to do so.

There's also the possibility of criminal charges, but that seems very unlikely.

Agreed, but there's probably no way to ensure scamming can never profit. Dropping the KENPC means that bots will...a) have to target more books by that author to achieve the same revenue, which will b) mean they have to pay for more bot farms, and will c) mean that scammers will have a much greater risk of being caught because too many books being botted at once is harder to write off as a mistake.

So, just lowering the KENPC to 1000, allows that super easily hijacked revenue stream to narrow just one small touch, but it's an important small touch. Low hanging fruit that's ripe and easy to pluck. So why doesn't amazon do it? That's what I don't get.


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David VanDyke

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2019, 11:31:16 AM »
If people are botting, lowering the cap won't do much to stop them. The only thing that will stop them is a) kicking them out of KU and/or the store and b) withholding their royalties, so they suffer a financial loss. Right now, scammers are getting booted, waiting until they're paid, then making new accounts and scamming all over again. They won't stop until it makes financial sense to do so.

There's also the possibility of criminal charges, but that seems very unlikely.

It's not a matter of stopping them. It's a matter of reducing the profit incentive. That's all crime control ever is--making it harder for the criminals, to the point where they go elsewhere and/or get caught more often.

In fact, you said it yourself--they won't stop unless it makes financial sense to do so. Reduce their profits by 2/3 and, rule of thumb, 2/3 will look elsewhere for their scams.

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Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 12:06:42 AM »
If people are botting, lowering the cap won't do much to stop them. The only thing that will stop them is a) kicking them out of KU and/or the store and b) withholding their royalties, so they suffer a financial loss. Right now, scammers are getting booted, waiting until they're paid, then making new accounts and scamming all over again. They won't stop until it makes financial sense to do so.

There's also the possibility of criminal charges, but that seems very unlikely.

It's not a matter of stopping them. It's a matter of reducing the profit incentive. That's all crime control ever is--making it harder for the criminals, to the point where they go elsewhere and/or get caught more often.

In fact, you said it yourself--they won't stop unless it makes financial sense to do so. Reduce their profits by 2/3 and, rule of thumb, 2/3 will look elsewhere for their scams.
I understand what you're saying, but if scammers are using bots to get reads, can't they just do more botting to make up in volume what they're losing per unit. Or, as I was speculating above, does doing that make them more detectable?


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Crystal

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2019, 02:52:00 AM »
I understand what you're saying, but if scammers are using bots to get reads, can't they just do more botting to make up in volume what they're losing per unit. Or, as I was speculating above, does doing that make them more detectable?

Yes, my understanding is that bots are relatively cheap and doubling or trippling the number isn't going to do much to increase costs. But I've never exactly priced it out.
 

WasAnn

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2019, 03:59:00 AM »
If people are botting, lowering the cap won't do much to stop them. The only thing that will stop them is a) kicking them out of KU and/or the store and b) withholding their royalties, so they suffer a financial loss. Right now, scammers are getting booted, waiting until they're paid, then making new accounts and scamming all over again. They won't stop until it makes financial sense to do so.

There's also the possibility of criminal charges, but that seems very unlikely.

It's not a matter of stopping them. It's a matter of reducing the profit incentive. That's all crime control ever is--making it harder for the criminals, to the point where they go elsewhere and/or get caught more often.

In fact, you said it yourself--they won't stop unless it makes financial sense to do so. Reduce their profits by 2/3 and, rule of thumb, 2/3 will look elsewhere for their scams.
I understand what you're saying, but if scammers are using bots to get reads, can't they just do more botting to make up in volume what they're losing per unit. Or, as I was speculating above, does doing that make them more detectable?

It's not just about dollar cost, but also risk cost.

Sure, more bot farms will rise up or bot farms will expand to target the book more times to make the same buck, but it will cost more in terms of dollars. The real cost is in administration and risk.

The more bots target a book, or more books to make up for the lack of profit from one book, then the harder it is to claim that the bot only targeting their book to cover up their misdeeds (which happens a lot now). Also, the bots themselves are more likely to be caught because they have to dip more hands into the stream to achieve the same revenue....three times as many digital hands. And administering a bot farm is not as easy as it seems, though it is mostly automated. There's a large administrative oversight cost to it.

So, it's low hanging fruit. Meaning it significantly ups the ante and drops 2/3 of the entire profit per unit out of the equation, which affecting negligible numbers of legit books.


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She-la-te-da

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2019, 04:07:16 AM »
Quote
I don't think they were scammy mcscammies

I see what you meant. Maybe they weren't the worse, scamming left and right. Maybe they did just go over some lines and ignore the warnings for whatever reason. Should be a lesson to all, don't fudge it, don't ignore Amazon telling you to back off if you do. (General you, not you, RPatton.)

As to capping KENPC, I've said for years it should be done. I'd be happier with something more like 750, even 500. People who want to scream and set me on fire, remember that KU is not a right, it's a program Amazon could drop at any time. I wouldn't mind if there were no more box sets allowed. And that would hurt me, but if it cleaned up the program, I'd deal. One book, limited pages allowed. And drop a borrow meaning the same as a sale, or at least make it only count a percentage.

We'll never get rid of cheating, but it can be controlled. As others have said, that's all we can really do about anything, like crime. Make it harder to get a way with, pay less, and it will knock out a lot of the problem.
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2019, 06:48:23 AM »
If people are botting, lowering the cap won't do much to stop them. The only thing that will stop them is a) kicking them out of KU and/or the store and b) withholding their royalties, so they suffer a financial loss. Right now, scammers are getting booted, waiting until they're paid, then making new accounts and scamming all over again. They won't stop until it makes financial sense to do so.

There's also the possibility of criminal charges, but that seems very unlikely.

It's not a matter of stopping them. It's a matter of reducing the profit incentive. That's all crime control ever is--making it harder for the criminals, to the point where they go elsewhere and/or get caught more often.

In fact, you said it yourself--they won't stop unless it makes financial sense to do so. Reduce their profits by 2/3 and, rule of thumb, 2/3 will look elsewhere for their scams.
I understand what you're saying, but if scammers are using bots to get reads, can't they just do more botting to make up in volume what they're losing per unit. Or, as I was speculating above, does doing that make them more detectable?

It's not just about dollar cost, but also risk cost.

Sure, more bot farms will rise up or bot farms will expand to target the book more times to make the same buck, but it will cost more in terms of dollars. The real cost is in administration and risk.

The more bots target a book, or more books to make up for the lack of profit from one book, then the harder it is to claim that the bot only targeting their book to cover up their misdeeds (which happens a lot now). Also, the bots themselves are more likely to be caught because they have to dip more hands into the stream to achieve the same revenue....three times as many digital hands. And administering a bot farm is not as easy as it seems, though it is mostly automated. There's a large administrative oversight cost to it.

So, it's low hanging fruit. Meaning it significantly ups the ante and drops 2/3 of the entire profit per unit out of the equation, which affecting negligible numbers of legit books.
Thanks! That's kind of what I thought.


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Crystal

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2019, 09:05:07 AM »
I don't think there is significant risk right now. We can easily identify banned MMs' new pen names. The MMs are not really trying to hide things. They use their old email lists to promote their new pens.

If we can find it, Amazon can find it. They have more tools to detect traffic and potential bot activity. But they aren't moving on these new pen names. Hell, the damn things are all over my recs. Amazon is actively promoting previously banned authors. Right now, there are no consequences. Changing the cap isn't going to change that.
 

David VanDyke

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2019, 11:59:49 AM »
I don't think there is significant risk right now. We can easily identify banned MMs' new pen names. The MMs are not really trying to hide things. They use their old email lists to promote their new pens.

If we can find it, Amazon can find it. They have more tools to detect traffic and potential bot activity. But they aren't moving on these new pen names. Hell, the damn things are all over my recs. Amazon is actively promoting previously banned authors. Right now, there are no consequences. Changing the cap isn't going to change that.

Nobody said it would change that.

It would, however, reduce scammer profits.

Apples and oranges.
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RPatton

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2019, 10:49:49 PM »
I don't think there is significant risk right now. We can easily identify banned MMs' new pen names. The MMs are not really trying to hide things. They use their old email lists to promote their new pens.

If we can find it, Amazon can find it. They have more tools to detect traffic and potential bot activity. But they aren't moving on these new pen names. Hell, the damn things are all over my recs. Amazon is actively promoting previously banned authors. Right now, there are no consequences. Changing the cap isn't going to change that.

Nobody said it would change that.

It would, however, reduce scammer profits.

Apples and oranges.

Except it won't really decrease their profits. They don't have long books anymore because of the 10% bonus rule.

My guess is the KENPC for most books by returning habitual bad actors is somewhere around 500, if that. Prior to the bonus content change, a price cap would make a difference. Now, they are using different exploits that rely on volume and borrows counting as buys in rank. Separating the borrow rank from buy rank would solve the problem, but there's no way they'll implement that.
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2019, 10:54:14 PM »
Separating the borrow rank from buy rank would solve the problem, but there's no way they'll implement that.

Maybe they won't but it is way past time they did.

Separate ranks for sales and KU would change the ballpark so much, KU scammers would become obvious, and sales ranks will actually mean something again.

And it wouldn't be all that big a change from a programming standpoint either.
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RPatton

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2019, 11:20:26 PM »
Separating the borrow rank from buy rank would solve the problem, but there's no way they'll implement that.

Maybe they won't but it is way past time they did.

Separate ranks for sales and KU would change the ballpark so much, KU scammers would become obvious, and sales ranks will actually mean something again.

And it wouldn't be all that big a change from a programming standpoint either.

Oh, I know they already see this from their end. But  making it front facing would be akin to not just cracking open the door of thee closet to show a peek at the skeletons, but bringing them out to do a Quadrille.

It would be a poo-filled storm of gigantic proportions.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 11:35:32 PM by RPatton »
 

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2019, 11:26:43 PM »
It would be a poo-filled storm of gigantic proportions.

Bring it on!  grint
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2019, 01:03:50 AM »
Separating the borrow rank from buy rank would solve the problem, but there's no way they'll implement that.

Maybe they won't but it is way past time they did.

Separate ranks for sales and KU would change the ballpark so much, KU scammers would become obvious, and sales ranks will actually mean something again.

And it wouldn't be all that big a change from a programming standpoint either.
I'd be happy to see this, but if I were Amazon and wanted people to stay in KU, I wouldn't do it, because it would remove part of the incentive for legitimate authors to stay in KU. Let's say you have someone whose books get about 50% buys and 50% borrows. That author has a choice of having two mediocre ranks on the page or one good one (assume the fan base is loyal enough to him wherever he goes). The author will leave KU and take the one good rank. For those of us who are prawnier, it might not work that way, because KU readers aren't as likely to follow us if we leave KU. But then Amazon is interested in the whales, not the prawns.


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RPatton

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2019, 01:36:04 AM »
I'd be happy to see this, but if I were Amazon and wanted people to stay in KU, I wouldn't do it, because it would remove part of the incentive for legitimate authors to stay in KU. Let's say you have someone whose books get about 50% buys and 50% borrows. That author has a choice of having two mediocre ranks on the page or one good one (assume the fan base is loyal enough to him wherever he goes). The author will leave KU and take the one good rank. For those of us who are prawnier, it might not work that way, because KU readers aren't as likely to follow us if we leave KU. But then Amazon is interested in the whales, not the prawns.

But that's not how the math will work because the volume will be decreasing for both. You won't have a mediocre rank because you'll be compared only to other borrows or other sales, not both. If someone has a significantly higher ratio of borrows to sales, they'll rank higher in a KU chart than a Kindle Book chart, but they won't be mediocre. And even if their ratio is split down the middle, they'll likely do better in sales charts because there books won't be pushed down by manipulated borrows.

It won't ever happen because Amazon isn't stupid, but splitting the charts wouldn't push anyone who is a top seller into mediocre land.
 

AnnaBF

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2019, 01:57:37 AM »
And Amazon wants those bestseller charts to display Amazon Publishing Imprints, Prime Reads and KU.
 

Crystal

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2019, 03:13:36 AM »
Separating the borrow rank from buy rank would solve the problem, but there's no way they'll implement that.

Maybe they won't but it is way past time they did.

Separate ranks for sales and KU would change the ballpark so much, KU scammers would become obvious, and sales ranks will actually mean something again.

And it wouldn't be all that big a change from a programming standpoint either.

Only for the most egregious of botters, the ones who bot a book from a ranking of 100k to 20 then let it fall the next day. Those books are already obvious. It's just no one is doing anything about it.

Most of the MM types are getting sales via the visibility of the Amazon recs. They probably have a buy to borrow ratio not all that different than many popular KU authors.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2019, 04:03:05 AM »
I'd be happy to see this, but if I were Amazon and wanted people to stay in KU, I wouldn't do it, because it would remove part of the incentive for legitimate authors to stay in KU. Let's say you have someone whose books get about 50% buys and 50% borrows. That author has a choice of having two mediocre ranks on the page or one good one (assume the fan base is loyal enough to him wherever he goes). The author will leave KU and take the one good rank. For those of us who are prawnier, it might not work that way, because KU readers aren't as likely to follow us if we leave KU. But then Amazon is interested in the whales, not the prawns.

But that's not how the math will work because the volume will be decreasing for both. You won't have a mediocre rank because you'll be compared only to other borrows or other sales, not both. If someone has a significantly higher ratio of borrows to sales, they'll rank higher in a KU chart than a Kindle Book chart, but they won't be mediocre. And even if their ratio is split down the middle, they'll likely do better in sales charts because there books won't be pushed down by manipulated borrows.

It won't ever happen because Amazon isn't stupid, but splitting the charts wouldn't push anyone who is a top seller into mediocre land.
Ah, yes, you're probably right. Math never was my strong point. Although if that's the case, it removes the only obvious reason I can think of for Amazon not to separate the charts. If that's really how it worked out, authors doing well in KU wouldn't leave it. The math ought to be the same for Amazon imprint authors. Amazon can still mush everything together for Amazon charts if it wants. Sure, KU books wouldn't dominate the bestseller charts, but if those were also split, it's likely people looking for books to borrow in KU would be looking at the KU bestseller list (or bestborrower list?) Or am I missing something?


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RPatton

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2019, 04:12:01 AM »
I'd be happy to see this, but if I were Amazon and wanted people to stay in KU, I wouldn't do it, because it would remove part of the incentive for legitimate authors to stay in KU. Let's say you have someone whose books get about 50% buys and 50% borrows. That author has a choice of having two mediocre ranks on the page or one good one (assume the fan base is loyal enough to him wherever he goes). The author will leave KU and take the one good rank. For those of us who are prawnier, it might not work that way, because KU readers aren't as likely to follow us if we leave KU. But then Amazon is interested in the whales, not the prawns.

But that's not how the math will work because the volume will be decreasing for both. You won't have a mediocre rank because you'll be compared only to other borrows or other sales, not both. If someone has a significantly higher ratio of borrows to sales, they'll rank higher in a KU chart than a Kindle Book chart, but they won't be mediocre. And even if their ratio is split down the middle, they'll likely do better in sales charts because there books won't be pushed down by manipulated borrows.

It won't ever happen because Amazon isn't stupid, but splitting the charts wouldn't push anyone who is a top seller into mediocre land.
Ah, yes, you're probably right. Math never was my strong point. Although if that's the case, it removes the only obvious reason I can think of for Amazon not to separate the charts. If that's really how it worked out, authors doing well in KU wouldn't leave it. The math ought to be the same for Amazon imprint authors. Amazon can still mush everything together for Amazon charts if it wants. Sure, KU books wouldn't dominate the bestseller charts, but if those were also split, it's likely people looking for books to borrow in KU would be looking at the KU bestseller list (or bestborrower list?) Or am I missing something?

There's a validity that comes from the charts. So to remove the borrows from the buys would in essence create one chart that could be perceived as less than.

Ego and Vanity on both the authors and Amazon's side will keep the charts joined.
 

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2019, 06:13:53 AM »
I'd be happy to see this, but if I were Amazon and wanted people to stay in KU, I wouldn't do it, because it would remove part of the incentive for legitimate authors to stay in KU. Let's say you have someone whose books get about 50% buys and 50% borrows. That author has a choice of having two mediocre ranks on the page or one good one (assume the fan base is loyal enough to him wherever he goes). The author will leave KU and take the one good rank. For those of us who are prawnier, it might not work that way, because KU readers aren't as likely to follow us if we leave KU. But then Amazon is interested in the whales, not the prawns.

But that's not how the math will work because the volume will be decreasing for both. You won't have a mediocre rank because you'll be compared only to other borrows or other sales, not both. If someone has a significantly higher ratio of borrows to sales, they'll rank higher in a KU chart than a Kindle Book chart, but they won't be mediocre. And even if their ratio is split down the middle, they'll likely do better in sales charts because there books won't be pushed down by manipulated borrows.

It won't ever happen because Amazon isn't stupid, but splitting the charts wouldn't push anyone who is a top seller into mediocre land.
Ah, yes, you're probably right. Math never was my strong point. Although if that's the case, it removes the only obvious reason I can think of for Amazon not to separate the charts. If that's really how it worked out, authors doing well in KU wouldn't leave it. The math ought to be the same for Amazon imprint authors. Amazon can still mush everything together for Amazon charts if it wants. Sure, KU books wouldn't dominate the bestseller charts, but if those were also split, it's likely people looking for books to borrow in KU would be looking at the KU bestseller list (or bestborrower list?) Or am I missing something?

There's a validity that comes from the charts. So to remove the borrows from the buys would in essence create one chart that could be perceived as less than.

Ego and Vanity on both the authors and Amazon's side will keep the charts joined.
That makes sense, but if an author does well on both--I'm assuming authors who rank well legitimately have both sales and borrows--then I'm not sure author ego is involved. I would think only an author ranking well on borrows and poorly on sales would feel that way. And I'm not sure Amazon would care as long as the change doesn't cause authors to bolt from KU. Amazon could also present them in a way that wouldn't necessarily encourage customers to view the borrow list as lesser. Keeping in mind that the ranking stuff is already not that prominent on the page--it's below the cover, blurb, also-boughts, and the first row of sponsored product ads. Not only that, but someone wanting to jump to reviews can click at the top to do that. I'm now wondering how many people actually get down as far as the ranking box. But I could see Amazon positioning the two ranks randomly--sometimes borrows is higher up, sometimes sales, or perhaps putting whichever is higher on top for each book. I could also imagine Amazon presenting three figures--overall rank, sales rank, borrows rank. The information would still be there for a borrower who wants to see it, but it wouldn't prominent. Then again, perhaps that defeats the purpose of having two separate lists.


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123mlh

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2019, 06:24:36 AM »
I'm honestly surprised readers aren't asking for a KU-only ranking list to make it easier to find the most popular KU titles. I know there are other ways to do it, but why not give them that as well?
 

idontknowyet

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2019, 07:14:25 AM »
I have to say as a reader a KU bestseller list would freak me out. As it is I'm hesitant to pick books on KU. There is still so much junk out there.

I very much wish they would get rid of the scammers.
 

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2019, 11:35:17 AM »
I'd be happy to see this, but if I were Amazon and wanted people to stay in KU, I wouldn't do it, because it would remove part of the incentive for legitimate authors to stay in KU.

I dont see any incentive anymore.

Your books either do well in KU or they dont. As a new author, you have to try it to find out.

KU has been around long enough now there is no longer incentives needed to get authors in. They have mostly made up their minds now. New authors keep asking if they should be in or out, and get told to try it and see.

The rank boost has no real bearing on if authors go in or not anymore. And they leave because the reads are not there, not because their rank isn't high enough.

KU is established now. The initial incentives to join are no longer needed, and should be changed in order to solve some of the issues.

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2019, 02:42:48 AM »
I'd be happy to see this, but if I were Amazon and wanted people to stay in KU, I wouldn't do it, because it would remove part of the incentive for legitimate authors to stay in KU.

I dont see any incentive anymore.

Your books either do well in KU or they dont. As a new author, you have to try it to find out.

KU has been around long enough now there is no longer incentives needed to get authors in. They have mostly made up their minds now. New authors keep asking if they should be in or out, and get told to try it and see.

The rank boost has no real bearing on if authors go in or not anymore. And they leave because the reads are not there, not because their rank isn't high enough.

KU is established now. The initial incentives to join are no longer needed, and should be changed in order to solve some of the issues.
We both agree that someone who wasn't getting very many reads in KU would leave. People getting all-star bonuses are almost always going to stay. I think the incentive still exists for inbetweeners--doing well in KU but not so well that going wide wouldn't be worth it under some circumstances.

In a case like that, having borrows count in ranking might make a difference. Let's assume for purposes of this example that KU is a separate audience, and that borrows wouldn't automatically translate into sales if an author wasn't in KU. (People's actual experience has varied on this.) Higher ranking still has some visibility advantages. If borrows no longer counted in overall rank, visibility might decline, in which case people staying in KU primarily for increased visibility on Amazon might be more prone to try wide.

Of course, it's also possible that, if there were two ranks, KU books might become more visible to KU readers, not less so. It depends upon how readers would react to the new arrangement. We can't be sure about what would happen.


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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2019, 08:46:50 AM »
In a case like that, having borrows count in ranking might make a difference. Let's assume for purposes of this example that KU is a separate audience, and that borrows wouldn't automatically translate into sales if an author wasn't in KU. (People's actual experience has varied on this.) Higher ranking still has some visibility advantages. If borrows no longer counted in overall rank, visibility might decline, in which case people staying in KU primarily for increased visibility on Amazon might be more prone to try wide.

I cant see that happening.

The sales rank would shake out, for sure, but except for the books with mainly KU rank, which would drop out of sight completely, the chart will simply revert to a pre-KU look. Those with sales will still rank high.

If anything, a lot of books on the sales chart would jump several thousand immediately as the KU only books drop out of sight. In the mid list this wouldn't be as obvious, but authors in the 10-15k mark might suddenly find themselves inside 10k consistently instead.

On the KU chart, suddenly all the books not in KU will vanish, and finding the top books becomes a whole lot easier for readers. And maybe why Amazon haven't done it then becomes as simple as they don't want anyone to know the exact number of books in KU, which would then be obvious.  :HB  :dizzy

To people finding books via also boughts and ads, I cant see any real difference to finding reading. They will see 2 ranks though, and where both ranks are high, this could benefit the KU author because it shows both the book being read and being bought. It might impact on the KU only author, but then KU readers may not even bother looking at the sales rank.


Does anyone have a problem if I split this KU discussion out and put it in the Amazon public area?

I'm thinking this is best being out there where Amazon might see it.
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BelindaWhite

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2019, 10:36:02 PM »
Okay, Tim. I'm going to give you a prospective of one lonely little author--me. Not the name I'm on here as, but my pen name that is going to be my main focus for a while.

First and foremost, I would LOVE to be wide. I won't go into all reasons, as most here already know them, but that multiple streams of income thing really plays a lot into it. A safety net should scammers once again decide to target ONE of my books and Amazon decides they have to penalize ALL of them--even the ones through different pens... but I digress.

Anyway, why am I not wide now? Why am I in KU if I feel this way? Because without being in KU I have no way to get visibility in the Amazon store. My books, with my small but growing fan base would simply disappear. I'm not one of the wealthy people that can pour thousands (or even hundreds) of dollars into advertising. It just isn't there. So, KU it is.

Now, take away that borrow equals sale on the ranking/visibility factor and things change. Like drastically, for me and authors like me. Our books no longer have to compete with the books in KU for ranking, they don't HAVE to have that added boost because no one else in the store has it either. That's HUGE.

Then, it becomes a simple matter of KU page reads (and all eggs in one basket and everything else that goes with that) or Wide sales. At that point I kind of think I'd be a fool not to listen to my heart and go wide.

And I don't think I'm the only one that feels that way. And, more importantly, I think Amazon knows this too. They want to keep all the books in KU and exclusive to their platform.

They aren't likely to change anything that might take away an author's motivation to stay exclusive.

Hopefully, I've been clear. I slept in and my brain isn't fully awake yet. If all this seems like the rambling on of a small, pitiful author, please forgive me.

FWIW: My pen name just released a book on July 31. It got down to the 5000's in rank before I ever spent a dime on it. Now, I've spent about a total of $30 in advertising and my book seems to be sticking around the 10,000 mark. Without KU that would not have been possible.

All I'm really saying is that as things are (borrow=sale) new authors who want their books seen, without having to break the bank, don't really have a choice but to go into KU. Change that and they do. End of story.

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2019, 12:21:42 AM »
Okay, Tim. I'm going to give you a prospective of one lonely little author--me. Not the name I'm on here as, but my pen name that is going to be my main focus for a while.

First and foremost, I would LOVE to be wide. I won't go into all reasons, as most here already know them, but that multiple streams of income thing really plays a lot into it. A safety net should scammers once again decide to target ONE of my books and Amazon decides they have to penalize ALL of them--even the ones through different pens... but I digress.

Anyway, why am I not wide now? Why am I in KU if I feel this way? Because without being in KU I have no way to get visibility in the Amazon store. My books, with my small but growing fan base would simply disappear. I'm not one of the wealthy people that can pour thousands (or even hundreds) of dollars into advertising. It just isn't there. So, KU it is.

Now, take away that borrow equals sale on the ranking/visibility factor and things change. Like drastically, for me and authors like me. Our books no longer have to compete with the books in KU for ranking, they don't HAVE to have that added boost because no one else in the store has it either. That's HUGE.

Then, it becomes a simple matter of KU page reads (and all eggs in one basket and everything else that goes with that) or Wide sales. At that point I kind of think I'd be a fool not to listen to my heart and go wide.

And I don't think I'm the only one that feels that way. And, more importantly, I think Amazon knows this too. They want to keep all the books in KU and exclusive to their platform.

They aren't likely to change anything that might take away an author's motivation to stay exclusive.

Hopefully, I've been clear. I slept in and my brain isn't fully awake yet. If all this seems like the rambling on of a small, pitiful author, please forgive me.

FWIW: My pen name just released a book on July 31. It got down to the 5000's in rank before I ever spent a dime on it. Now, I've spent about a total of $30 in advertising and my book seems to be sticking around the 10,000 mark. Without KU that would not have been possible.

All I'm really saying is that as things are (borrow=sale) new authors who want their books seen, without having to break the bank, don't really have a choice but to go into KU. Change that and they do. End of story.
If such a change were to be made, it then depends to some extent on how lucrative wide is--and that's a factor that varies widely from author to author. I know authors who've tried wide and returned to KU. I know others who've been very successful wide. I'm not sure Amazon would permanently lose as many people as you think.

That said, Amazon may not want to take the chance. It's just too bad that it got into this obsession over exclusivity in the first place. KU readers for the most part could care less whether the content is exclusive or not. They can get it cheaper through KU, so that's the way they do it. If they were going to buy a specific KU book because they wanted to have a copy forever, they'd probably buy it on Amazon anyway, rather than flipping over to BN or elsewhere. Exclusivity might have helped Amazon drive the small stores out of business in the beginning, but they're long gone and not likely to return. The major outlets can certainly do well enough on trad published books to keep going. They're suffering not because Amazon has a lot of exclusive indies, but because Amazon has a small number of enormously popular indies in KU and also has a big chunk of the trad business, which is obviously nonexclusive. If KDP had never come into existence at all, Amazon would still have achieved dominance, though perhaps more slowly. It's the fact that Amazon was faster to exploit things like ebooks that pushed them ahead of those slower to adapt. Self-publishing helped but wasn't a necessary factor. Brick and mortar malls are going out of business because retail traffic in general is shifting to online, not just because their book stores weren't doing well anymore.

(Yes, exclusivity in KU is one of my pet peeves.)


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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2019, 12:39:15 AM »
Anyway, why am I not wide now? Why am I in KU if I feel this way? Because without being in KU I have no way to get visibility in the Amazon store. My books, with my small but growing fan base would simply disappear. I'm not one of the wealthy people that can pour thousands (or even hundreds) of dollars into advertising. It just isn't there. So, KU it is.

Now, take away that borrow equals sale on the ranking/visibility factor and things change. Like drastically, for me and authors like me. Our books no longer have to compete with the books in KU for ranking, they don't HAVE to have that added boost because no one else in the store has it either. That's HUGE.

......

All I'm really saying is that as things are (borrow=sale) new authors who want their books seen, without having to break the bank, don't really have a choice but to go into KU. Change that and they do. End of story.

I cant see how there would really be any change.

If KU had its own ranks, the ranks will remain exactly the same as they are with just the sales removed. So all the books doing well in KU, will remain where they are in the ranking, or in fact do better as books with more sales are dropped down the KU chart with their sales removed.

Anyone with a mainly KU fan base is going to find their books doing better on the KU chart than on the sales chart. And as far as being found in KU, that has to be better for a lot of authors.

I seem to be seeing that people think if you remove KU from the sales chart, things get worse. But this shouldn't happen. A book will show both ranks next to each other. Both charts will shake out a bit, but current rankings should remain relatively the same.

In fact, the KU chart should become really interesting, because without all the sales only books in it, it is very likely every book in the top end of KU will hike up quite dramatically. Think about it. All the classic books which are not in KU now, but still sell megaloads, are in the top echelons of the sales chart still. Take those thousands of books out, and the KU books below them will shoot up in rank. So on KU chart at least, a lot of books are going to significantly improve in rank to fill the slots of all the sales only books which drop out.

Down below say 50,000, there probably wont be much change on either chart. Just a major shakeout as KU stops boosting books with poor sales on the sale chart, and books with great sales stop boosting the poor reads books on the KU chart.

My books for example, I'd expect them to go down in rank on the sales chart, but up in rank on the KU chart. My new releases would be about the same on both charts for day 1, and then the sales rank will drop faster then the KU rank does, and my KU rank will hold a lot longer than my sales rank will.

But I would expect to see very little in the way of a change in income.

The big thing would then be the very obvious books with no sales and huge KU downloads, and after Amazon nuked them, everyone on the KU list goes up a few notches.

And with KU taken out of sales, the sales ranks will be true sales ranks, and sales could actually improve because a sh*t load of books sitting out of the top 100 in all categories, will suddenly rise in there and become visible again.

I don't see any doom and gloom here. Sure there will be a shake out in the ranks, but after it, I see little change in actual incomes, and in terms of sales, potentially an increase for those who currently sit outside the top 100's, and cant get in there. A lot of top books which dont have 50/50 sales/borrows will drop like a stone on one of the charts and be replaced with books which previously were being held out. And I think that's a good thing.
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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2019, 01:09:55 AM »
If such a change were to be made, it then depends to some extent on how lucrative wide is--and that's a factor that varies widely from author to author. I know authors who've tried wide and returned to KU. I know others who've been very successful wide. I'm not sure Amazon would permanently lose as many people as you think.

That said, Amazon may not want to take the chance. It's just too bad that it got into this obsession over exclusivity in the first place. KU readers for the most part could care less whether the content is exclusive or not. They can get it cheaper through KU, so that's the way they do it. If they were going to buy a specific KU book because they wanted to have a copy forever, they'd probably buy it on Amazon anyway, rather than flipping over to BN or elsewhere. Exclusivity might have helped Amazon drive the small stores out of business in the beginning, but they're long gone and not likely to return. The major outlets can certainly do well enough on trad published books to keep going. They're suffering not because Amazon has a lot of exclusive indies, but because Amazon has a small number of enormously popular indies in KU and also has a big chunk of the trad business, which is obviously nonexclusive. If KDP had never come into existence at all, Amazon would still have achieved dominance, though perhaps more slowly. It's the fact that Amazon was faster to exploit things like ebooks that pushed them ahead of those slower to adapt. Self-publishing helped but wasn't a necessary factor. Brick and mortar malls are going out of business because retail traffic in general is shifting to online, not just because their book stores weren't doing well anymore.

(Yes, exclusivity in KU is one of my pet peeves.)

I tend to agree. I dont think much will change for authors. And I doubt there would be any trigger to leave KU.

KU is an established thing now. I doing think it needs any enticements anymore, and exclusivity is probably hurting it, because of the number of wide authors who would like to be in KU while remaining wide.

The KU readership dont tend to buy books. They wont care if a book is exclusive to Amazon or not, and KU isn't going to lose anything to sales on say Apple. We can see that from the number of KU banned authors who didn't go wide, because outside KU they had no loyal fans. KU has become it's own marketplace, and people either KU or they dont, with just a small overlap of people who use KU for vetting.
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BelindaWhite

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2019, 01:12:05 AM »

I seem to be seeing that people think if you remove KU from the sales chart, things get worse. But this shouldn't happen. A book will show both ranks next to each other. Both charts will shake out a bit, but current rankings should remain relatively the same.


If I came across that way, I apologize. That certainly wasn't my intent at all!

For what it's worth, I would dearly love to see the type of change you are talking about. I think it would be great! I was just trying to give an example of why I don't think Amazon will ever agree to it. That visibility factor is a big reason a lot of people are in KU.

But maybe the money from KU reads would be enough to keep the big players right where they are, even if the doors to WIDE opened up a little. I'm just not seeing Amazon take that chance.

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2019, 01:15:07 AM »
Please Note: This thread is now in the public Amazon area. If anyone has a problem with this, let me know.
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notthatamanda

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2019, 02:33:39 AM »

I seem to be seeing that people think if you remove KU from the sales chart, things get worse. But this shouldn't happen. A book will show both ranks next to each other. Both charts will shake out a bit, but current rankings should remain relatively the same.


If I came across that way, I apologize. That certainly wasn't my intent at all!

For what it's worth, I would dearly love to see the type of change you are talking about. I think it would be great! I was just trying to give an example of why I don't think Amazon will ever agree to it. That visibility factor is a big reason a lot of people are in KU.

But maybe the money from KU reads would be enough to keep the big players right where they are, even if the doors to WIDE opened up a little. I'm just not seeing Amazon take that chance.
My curiosity is opposite.  Would the big players who are wide go back into KU if they were allowed to do so and stay wide?  I'm not talking about big Trad published authors who get their special deals to be in KU, just the 6+ figure indies who are wide now.
 

Crystal

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #38 on: August 12, 2019, 02:36:10 AM »
Let's be real. If Amazon did this, they'd hide the sales chart not the KU one. It wouldn't have the end result people want. I'm actually not sure what people want from this, besides some way to punish KU authors for Amazon's failure to remove scammers.
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2019, 03:31:16 AM »
Let's be real. If Amazon did this, they'd hide the sales chart not the KU one. It wouldn't have the end result people want. I'm actually not sure what people want from this, besides some way to punish KU authors for Amazon's failure to remove scammers.
I think the proposal was to have two charts, both visible. If Amazon did create two charts--big if--it wouldn't be to only hide one. The trad pubs would have fits over it, and while Amazon does sometimes push the trad pubs in ways they don't want to go, there are limits.

My first reaction was similar to yours in that I thought Amazon would never do it. Now I'm not so sure.

I agree with Timothy that KU is largely a separate market. A KU subscriber is much more likely to borrow than buy--otherwise, why pay for the subscription? Having two lists wouldn't necessarily punish KU authors. Yes, some would be lower on the sales ranking, but it's not clear to what extent those rankings would actually change. Most legitimate authors have both sales and borrows, right? If you have more borrows than sales, you could drop a little, but remember that a lot of other people will also be dropping, so the results are unpredictable. A lot of people would probably barely notice the difference. And KU authors would be the only ones on the KU charts. Where are KU readers going to be looking for new reads? On the KU charts, obviously. I think it's quite possible that most people would at least break even, though the distribution of that income might be different.

The truth is that sales and borrows are fundamentally different metrics. They're both valid, but they aren't easily comparable. Borrows are closer to free downloads than they are to sales. Sure, KU subscribers are paying something, but the fee doesn't change based on the number of borrows. There are two ways to look at that. One is to divide the number of books borrowed by the subscription, in which case one is getting all the books at a considerable discount unless one borrows very few.  The way a lot of people look at it is to take the prices of the books and assume that everything over the monthly subscription fee, making many of the books in essence free. Either way, people are paying less. I'm not sure what Amazon is doing now, but I'm pretty sure that in the past, it weighted sales to some extent based on the book's price. Near the end of 2016, I had a new release that was moving a lot of copies. When I changed the new release price to regular, my unit sales went down considerably, but my rank stayed the same. It's hard to explain that unless Amazon was giving the fewer buys at a price a greater weight. If it does that, why shouldn't it consider borrows differently?

Long ago, Amazon separated the free chart from the paid chart. Separating the borrowed chart from the sales chart isn't really that different from a logical standpoint.

The argument seems to be that Amazon will never split the charts because it doesn't want people to flee KU and is still married to exclusivity. I'm inclined to buy the counterargument that Amazon may actually be hurting itself through exclusivity. Sure, some big authors are in KU, but others are wide. It doesn't really matter what prawns like me do (from Amazon's perspective). A lot of prawns could flee KU, and Amazon wouldn't notice the difference. What matters to keeping KU viable is how many big authors are in it. The big authors who are successful aren't going to leave even if the charts split. They're making enough sales that they'll still show up well on the sales chart--and on the KU chart. For a lot of them, that equals even more visibility. But what would happen is that some of the wide big authors would come back. If KU means giving up wide sales, a lot of people are philosophically opposed or are doing too well wide to take that risk. Removing exclusivity removes the possibility of income loss from other venues.

Frankly, regardless of the chart situation, Amazon should have made KU nonexclusive ages ago. It should also have distributed Amazon imprint books wide. Barnes and Noble said long ago that it would have carried Amazon paperbacks if it could also have carried the ebook version. Then the imprint books would have had a shot at the real bestseller lists instead of being reliant on Amazon charts. KU would have been at least as robust, but imprint authors and KDP authors would both have done better.


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author

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2019, 04:27:14 AM »
I don't see why Amazon would do any of this. They want to destroy competitors, rule the market, and make as much money as possible. Exclusivity helps with that, books selling better because they're in KU helps with that. Unless you're JK Rowling or some other household name, you aren't "big" to Amazon and they don't care if you're in KU. There are thousands of other authors for people to read. It's like Netflix. Have a few big movies and shows, fill up the rest with a boatload of content.

As for stopping scammers, when Amazon removed a bunch of scammers before, what happened to the rate? Right, nothing. Because the KU pot is nothing to them.
 

elleoco

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2019, 04:41:12 AM »
To me any tracking of KU borrows is by nature faulty. I judge this by my own treatment of my KU subscription. I'll download any KU book that looks vaguely interesting, never bother with Look Inside for a KU book. And I estimate I zap 90% of them before a dozen paragraphs. Yet each one counts as a "borrow" and affects that book's ranking.

Probably most subscribers aren't as picky as I am, but I'd still bet most don't read even 10% of a pretty considerable percentage of KU books they download. So KU ranking is a joke even before considering bots and scams.

Amazon has to know this and doesn't care. Do readers care? I've never paid any attention to the ranking of any book I'm interested in. If the blurb grabs me, I look at number of reviews and review average and that's it. Some book could have a dismal ranking because it's been out for years and still be great. Another could have a great ranking because it was released last week, bots, advertising, or even - genuine sales and borrows that got read in their entirety.

bookworm

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2019, 05:15:35 AM »
I have to say as a reader a KU bestseller list would freak me out. As it is I'm hesitant to pick books on KU. There is still so much junk out there.

I very much wish they would get rid of the scammers.
I just started on the Keto diet and purchased several cookbooks. Amazon offered me 3 free months of KU so I downloaded the most popular cookbooks in the program. Every last one of them were utterly useless. They weren't even in English, just Google Translate garbage. I can't find good KU books through Amazon at all. I'm left looking for recommendations elsewhere online.
 

RPatton

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2019, 05:35:00 AM »
As for stopping scammers, when Amazon removed a bunch of scammers before, what happened to the rate? Right, nothing. Because the KU pot is nothing to them.

What the hell does the rate have anything to do with this conversation?
 

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2019, 06:25:50 AM »
I don't see why Amazon would do any of this. They want to destroy competitors, rule the market, and make as much money as possible. Exclusivity helps with that, books selling better because they're in KU helps with that. Unless you're JK Rowling or some other household name, you aren't "big" to Amazon and they don't care if you're in KU. There are thousands of other authors for people to read. It's like Netflix. Have a few big movies and shows, fill up the rest with a boatload of content.

As for stopping scammers, when Amazon removed a bunch of scammers before, what happened to the rate? Right, nothing. Because the KU pot is nothing to them.
As far as I can see, exclusivity doesn't help with that. There may have been a time when it did, but, as I pointed out, competitors' market shares shrank for other reasons. The only competitors Amazon really knocked out with exclusivity were the small independent ebook stores which I suspect would be gone by now anyway. The major players when KU started are all still around.

I imagine that anyone who makes Amazon more than a certain amount of money is big to them. Amazon doesn't control any of the household names, who are all trad-published and, if they're in KU, not exclusive to it. Authors doing really well in KU, like bonus well, aren't leaving it whether exclusivity goes away or not. But if exclusivity goes away, Amazon would pick up some authors doing really well wide and doing well in Amazon sales. It's logical to think they would also do well in KU. Amazon would probably end up with a net gain, not a loss.

Similarly, books selling better because they're in KU doesn't change just because there's no exclusivity. KU readers don't care whether they could buy a book elsewhere. If they wanted to buy books very much, they'd do that instead of subscribing to KU. The situation might change a little if there were two charts, but, aside from scammers, people doing well in KU are probably also selling well. Their books would be visible on both charts, and the top authors might even be more visible on the sales chart (with no scammers cluttering it). And KU readers could easily find the top books in KU, which might boost those authors' incomes--and Amazon's.

Amazon succeeded in part because it was willing to try new ideas. Now, at least as far as KDP is concerning, I think it's fossilizing in somewhat the way its competitors were when it first started to rise. I think the reasons for trying to maintain exclusivity in KU are long gone. The sooner Amazon sees that, the better for all of us.


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PJ Post

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #45 on: August 12, 2019, 06:32:28 AM »
When I suggested a 750 cap for KU a few years ago (for all of the logical reasons discussed to death since then), the folks over at KB nearly lost their collective minds. We can discuss changes in policy all we want, but the reality is that, regardless of vendor opinion, Amazon is still the highest rated company for customer service out there - by a lot. They have no incentive to change anything. With that in mind, I'd wager that KDP is going to continue to go from bad to much much worse.

We fulfilled our initial business function long ago, and the truth of it is that they just don't need us or our books anymore. The only thing saving us from more draconian policies, the silver lining that continues to encourage new authors to publish on Amazon, is the fact that Indies have become a huge revenue stream for AMS. Itís this Ad revenue that keeps the whole thing going now. When viewed through that prism, Iím not sure how bad the hatters are for business.
 

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #46 on: August 12, 2019, 07:44:32 AM »
When I suggested a 750 cap for KU a few years ago (for all of the logical reasons discussed to death since then), the folks over at KB nearly lost their collective minds. We can discuss changes in policy all we want, but the reality is that, regardless of vendor opinion, Amazon is still the highest rated company for customer service out there - by a lot. They have no incentive to change anything. With that in mind, I'd wager that KDP is going to continue to go from bad to much much worse.

We fulfilled our initial business function long ago, and the truth of it is that they just don't need us or our books anymore. The only thing saving us from more draconian policies, the silver lining that continues to encourage new authors to publish on Amazon, is the fact that Indies have become a huge revenue stream for AMS. Itís this Ad revenue that keeps the whole thing going now. When viewed through that prism, Iím not sure how bad the hatters are for business.
There's certainly some truth to that. However, when the hatters become too visible, that reputation for great customer experience suffers. Amazon has shown itself to be reactive to large enough amounts of negative publicity.

Amazon certainly doesn't need us to survive, but Amazon does like to be dominant, and even though books are only a small part of the business now, Amazon draws something like 36% of its book revenue from indie authors. That's not nothing, even if it's less than what they make from us on AMS. Also, Amazon wants to keep KU for whatever reason. Keeping KU means keeping indies. There aren't enough trad books in it to run the system.  (I've sometimes thought the best way to reform KU would be for everyone to uncheck their autorenewal boxes. You can be sure Amazon would (temporarily) care about vendor opinion then, and maybe a little change would happen. Of course, the people doing the best in KU would be the least likely to take that step. I don't blame them for that.


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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #47 on: August 12, 2019, 09:36:41 AM »
As for stopping scammers, when Amazon removed a bunch of scammers before, what happened to the rate? Right, nothing. Because the KU pot is nothing to them.

Wrong.

The rate stabilized after the major bannings happened. Instead of dropping below 0.004 as had been doing off and on, the rate stabilized around 0.0046, and even went higher.

The only time the rate drops significantly these days is when scammer activity spikes again.

The only reason you cant see this now is the scammer activity is much less now, and bannings are fewer and further between.
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notthatamanda

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #48 on: August 12, 2019, 11:38:04 AM »
I have to say as a reader a KU bestseller list would freak me out. As it is I'm hesitant to pick books on KU. There is still so much junk out there.

I very much wish they would get rid of the scammers.
I just started on the Keto diet and purchased several cookbooks. Amazon offered me 3 free months of KU so I downloaded the most popular cookbooks in the program. Every last one of them were utterly useless. They weren't even in English, just Google Translate garbage. I can't find good KU books through Amazon at all. I'm left looking for recommendations elsewhere online.
Since you did this have you notice any changes in the products Amazon is recommending to you?  There is value in the information on what KU subscribers are reading, beyond the subscription fee.  Hope you don't mind me asking.
 

idontknowyet

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2019, 12:05:39 PM »
I have to say as a reader a KU bestseller list would freak me out. As it is I'm hesitant to pick books on KU. There is still so much junk out there.

I very much wish they would get rid of the scammers.
I just started on the Keto diet and purchased several cookbooks. Amazon offered me 3 free months of KU so I downloaded the most popular cookbooks in the program. Every last one of them were utterly useless. They weren't even in English, just Google Translate garbage. I can't find good KU books through Amazon at all. I'm left looking for recommendations elsewhere online.

The only way i can find a good book on amazon is through also boughts. It seems to get worse and worse  everyday.  Now i can search an author and not even get the author on that page. All i get is sponsored stuff.

When they did a purge in romance a little while back it was a tiny bit easier, but they just come right back. It's everywhere in the store though. Junk Knockoffs and never what i'm looking for.