Help Hardworking Authors Get Their Fair Pay—Tell Amazon to Stop the Cheaters!

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Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program offers a bonanza for readers, and authors love to make readers happy, so that should be a win/win situation. But some tricksters have developed what amounts to a con to get a large and unearned piece of the KU pie, stealing legitimate authors' due rewards. Their con works because of the way author pay is set up for KU, and because Amazon is not enforcing their own terms of service. Help legitimate authors support their writing by joining me in telling Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and the VP in charge of Amazon's North American operations, Akash Chauhan to stop the swindle. (Note: I—the person writing this petition—am an author, but traditionally published and I have no books on Kindle Unlimited. This is a battle for fairness, not for my gain.)

Here's a quick summary of what's happening. Each month, Amazon designates a single sum (in the millions of dollars) as the total available author pay for books read through Kindle Unlimited. Each author who has books in the program gets a piece of that total pie. The amount paid is arrived at like this: [Total Pie] divided by [Total Pages Read in All Books in the Program] times [Total Pages Read in This Authors Books]. The cheat involves stuffing the ebook with extraneous material, and then inserting a link that skips to the end of the book, making it look like all those pages have been "read."

That's not just dodgy, it's against Amazon's own rules. The Kindle Unlimited program requires an author/publisher to put one book inside one cover. The cheaters stuff extra books inside the cover, using the same books over and over in different combinations. But ahead of that extra material, they insert a link to, say, a peek at some supposed new book, or something similar. The reader clicks the link, it takes them to the end of the book, and it looks to the page-counting computer like they've read five or six hundred pages. Further, Amazon pays a bonus—a very large bonus, I'm told—to those authors with the most page reads. This cheats legitimate authors from getting their fair share of the pay. By falsely pushing these books to the top of Kindle Unlimited best-seller lists, it also steals visibility from books by authors who play by the rules. (That's right—that number one best-seller you see at the top of the list could very well be one of these page-stuffed cheats.) All Amazon has to do to stop this is enforce their terms. Maybe something as simple as finding a tech solution to check those links and see how many pages get skipped when a reader clicks. Many authors, and some conscientious readers too, have asked for a fix, but Amazon has not created change. Please sign this petition—let's speak louder by virtue of many voices.



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