A month or so ago, I decided to move all my ebooks to Kindle Unlimited. The sales from other channels weren’t outstanding (a year’s returns from all other. publishers equalled one month of Amazon) so I decided to toss a lot of eggs into one basket and experiment.
And then, I discovered the payout for KU was inhabited by spammers.
The system goes something like –
- write a very long book by automatically downloading 1,000 pages of nonsense web information. Assemble it into an ebook and publish it on Amazon. Put it in Kindle Unlimited.
- put a link to a table of contents at the front of the book and the actual table of contents at the back of the book.
The borrower gets the book – sees the link, clicks on it and is taken to the back of the book. The table of contents list links to various parts of the nonsense content but simply by going to the back of the book, the important trigger has been pulled.
Amazon pays authors by automatically recording how many pages in each book are actually read. If each page is worth a half a cent when read, then a 1,000 page book – if fully read would be worth five dollars. And by getting the borrower to click to the back of the book, that trigger was met.
Let’s Make This More Efficient.
Let’s make it an even better scam. Hire a crew of borrowers to borrow your own ebook and flip to the back of the book. The faster they can borrow, flip and move onto the next ebook, the better. (Did I mention you don’t just publish one ebook with this scam, you publish many ebooks?)
But You Need To Disguise Your Actions
But Amazon starts to figure this out. And it starts sniffing around to identify those who publish only long books and click on them from false accounts. It begins to identify and ban spammers.
Then The Spammers Switch Tactics
The spammers then start adding other “real” ebook published by real authors into their download and read systems.
This means that if one of my ebooks was borrowed by this spam crew, it would have fantastic results of one (maybe two) days. It would create a spike in income for that day.
Amazon Fights Back
Amazon appears to be banning the innocent authors who have been randomly targeted by these spammers.
An innocent author (I’m assuming this story is true) has been banned because her book was randomly targeted by spammers.
I Can’t Afford This To Happen To Me
This is why I’m pulling my ebooks out of Kindle Unlimited. If spammers can’t borrow them, then I won’t lose my author account. That extra bit of income may be nice but it’s not worth being unfairly banned for life (and losing all income from my ebooks) or having to jump through a ton of hoops to prove I’m a nice guy.
Readers only have another month or so to borrow my ebooks until they’re removed from Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.