Author Topic: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon  (Read 1511 times)

notthatamanda

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2019, 08:39:44 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.
Do you have a KU subscription?  Would you want a separate KU and non KU ranking list?  Just trying to get the reader's point of view on this.
 

author

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #51 on: August 13, 2019, 02:03:08 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.

The rate has never dropped below 0.004. The lowest I think it's been was 0.00403 in July of 2017. After the scammers were banned, the rate stayed the same, 0.00449 the month before, and 0.00449 the month after. The next month it went up to 0.00488, but the same thing happened in the previous year. If you look at the yearly trends it went up in Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec of both 2016 and 2017.

And now we're back at .45-.46, again, fitting the trend from the previous years. For example, Jan 2018 was 0.00448, and for this year it was 0.00442.

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.
It helps by draining the other stores of indie authors. Just because Amazon's in the lead doesn't mean they're aren't going to try to dominate even more.

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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.
That's what I mean. No author makes that much for them. The highest earning indie author is getting 9-10 million a year, so that's maybe 1.5 mil in profit for Amazon, plus some indirect revenue from keeping people on the site/in the ecosystem. That's really nothing for them.

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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.
Yeah, I think you're probably right about this. As long as also boughts didn't change it mostly wouldn't affect people. Maybe the top 100 overall. Though anyone who went wide might have a dilution of sales, and thus lower sales rank, but I imagine that effect would be small.
 

Marti Talbott

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #52 on: August 13, 2019, 02:34:06 AM »
I confess I have not read all the posts. I'm mostly posting so I can get emails of new posts.
It is good news that readers don't always look at the rank of a book, and I too am interested in where a disgruntled KU reader goes to find recommendations.
Author of over 50 full length historical and mystery novels.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #53 on: August 13, 2019, 02:49:45 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.
It helps by draining the other stores of indie authors. Just because Amazon's in the lead doesn't mean they're aren't going to try to dominate even more.
I have no doubt Amazon would like to dominate as much as it could. However, there are practical limits. It's improbable that the Trump administration is going to go on a major antitrust binge, but the US could conceivably change adminstrations as soon as January 2021. All that is needed is for the Justice Department to drop the Reagan era interpretations that led to not invoking the law very often unless the consolidation caused consumer prices to increase. Going back to the original view of the law could leave Amazon in trouble as it is. That could be a strong motivation not to increase its share of the US book market beyond what it already is.

Back in August of 1997, a lot of people were shocked when Microsoft bailed out Apple with some much-needed cash. What Microsoft got in return (dropping a lawsuit Apple probably wasn't going to win anyway) was minor. Why did Microsoft make this deal? Because Microsoft, already under antitrust scrutiny, wanted to keep Apple from collapse so that the Mac operating system could be pointed to as a viable competitor when the Justice Department came calling.

In some ways, Amazon is in a similar position. It doesn't dominate every area of business that it's entered, but in certain areas (online book sales come to mind), it might be vulnerable to antitrust action. Amazon has far more to lose by having some of its practices declared illegal or by being broken up than it has to gain by driving its bookstore "competitors" out of the market. Even if they gained a modest increase in market share, (which is all they'd get even if all indies went wide) that wouldn't really matter to Amazon, for whom books now constitute only a small share of the business.

It's also worth noting that Amazon can't really destroy its major competitors even if it wanted to. Aside from Barnes and Noble, which has been teetering for years, the other will be around and probably stay in books as long as they can make anything at all with them. Google, Apple, and Rakuten (owner of Kobo) are all major corporations that aren't going anywhere. That means there's an upper limit beyond which Amazon can't really expand its business.

It's still possible that Amazon is thinking in exactly the way that you describe, but if so, it's taking a very skewed view of the future. It would arguably make more money if it dropped exclusivity and got some big, wide indies into KU. Crushing what's left of the competition isn't practical and might actually result in far greater losses down the road.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 04:11:15 AM by Bill Hiatt »


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author

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #54 on: August 13, 2019, 01:24:05 PM »
That's an interesting perspective I hadn't thought of. It will be "fun" to see how it plays out.
 

VanessaC

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #55 on: August 13, 2019, 07:00:24 PM »
Really interesting debate on this - I know it's a subject that gets brought up and discussed from time to time and always like to read the different, and often very strongly held views.

I'm not a big seller, and this all still feels really new, but I can't really see an incentive for Amazon to split the KU / non-KU into separate lists. It seems to me that the "best seller" lists on Amazon are a reflection of what's popular on Amazon, and Amazon measures that by sales and downloads. Not sure what other metrics would work?  It seems to me that Amazon isn't trying to reflect a wider market perspective, just its own store, and it also likes to get paid - so the separate lists for free books makes sense from their perspective.

I am also absolutely supportive of any efforts to reduce the shady activity in and around KU, or indeed anywhere else it happens. A cap on the pages which are counted for KU seems a sensible, and not too difficult, thing to achieve. It's not going to stop the bad actors, but as someone (David van Dyke, I think) said above, it's more about reducing the financial incentive - sadly, there are always going to be people who try and work around the system for their own gain (a much wider problem than book selling and KU).

Just my tuppence worth.
     
Genre: Fantasy
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2019, 04:54:10 AM »
That's an interesting perspective I hadn't thought of. It will be "fun" to see how it plays out.
I think stability might be more fun for a change, but we know we won't get that. Amazon may well do things that will surprise all of us.


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Kristen.s.walker

Re: KU Discussion: Split from: Some new Dog Pages on Amazon
« Reply #57 on: August 21, 2019, 05:47:18 AM »
Hm, I don't know about separating out the lists further. There's already a separate tab between paid vs. free. As a reader, it takes me twice as long because I'm scanning two lists. But on the other hand, I'm often looking for books in KU because I'm a subscriber. Having a separate list of just KU books might actually help me find books faster.

As an author, I don't know how much any of this would affect me because I'm nowhere near the top. It would certainly be nice if Amazon helped to clean up scammers and things like miscategorizations (some of it unintentional, like how virtually every fantasy book ends up in Sword & Sorcery because one of the keywords for that cat is "magic"). I don't know enough to recommend how to do that, though. Maybe capping the KENPC would help? I actually don't mind reading a series one book at a time instead of a box set because the box set files can be large and unwieldy in how the TOC is handled, etc. (Also my Goodreads only shows it as one book so it doesn't count as much to my yearly reading challenge, LOL.) I also wouldn't mind taking my own box sets out of KU if it meant helping the program overall.

It will certainly be interesting to see how things change in the future. I know I have to be ready to adapt as this market seems to change every year.