Bye, Bye, KDP Select; Or, How I Got Screwed by Amazon (and You May Have Been Too)

I blogged a couple of days ago about how some kind of software glitch seems to be swallowing authors’ pages read, and posted the email I sent to Amazon about it.

Well, two days later, still no answer. Two days with a total of 24 pages read, when my daily average is closer to 1000. For all of October, I have have had less than half the pages read that I usually have in a single day. My pages read have flatlined, my rankings have tanked, and my sales have come to a halt. It looks like I’m going to have to start all over again — all over again.

I have since learned that the problem of the missing pages is probably connected to Amazon Kindle’s new feature, Page Flip, a navigational tool meant to be used to search books for specific passages. Unfortunately for authors, Amazon does not seem to have included a function to register pages flipped through. So if a reader who borrows a book from Amazon uses this function to read the book, it only counts as one page read — even if that reader reads all 900 pages of Yseult. (As a side note: today, the ranking of Yseult went from 200,000-something to 79,000 — with no sales and only 20 pages read. That makes absolutely no sense at all, unless at least half of those pages read are borrows, and all of those people borrowing the book only read one page. Go figure.)

Amazon is logically more concerned with providing an ideal experience for readers, their customers, rather than addressing the concerns of vendors, especially if they are such prawny content providers as I am. (“prawny” = opposite of big fish)

As a result, I sent Amazon an email today, requesting to have all my books still in Select removed as soon as possible, before the end of the three month period. KDPS has been good to me over the years, but I’ve realized now how Amazon truly feels about me, so it’s time to say goodbye to Select.

I can only suggest that everyone else with books in Select take a good look at their numbers for the last few months and decide what they want to do. Page Flip was introduced on June 28, but for most authors on Kboards, it has only become a serious problem in about the last month. And for readers, all I can do is ask you not to use Page Flip to read the books you borrow from Amazon.

Some authors on Kboards have suggested that Amazon is deliberately trying to lower the payout for authors, or get rid of those of us who aren’t successful enough, but I doubt it. I think instead that this is a prime example of Hanlon’s Razor: never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity. And here, add disinterest to the mix.

So, for now at least, I’m out. Bye, bye, KDP Select.

Been nice knowing you. Maybe we’ll see each other again someday.

13 thoughts on “Bye, Bye, KDP Select; Or, How I Got Screwed by Amazon (and You May Have Been Too)”

  1. Well once you are out of Select you are free to sell elsewhere and even give away a book 1 of a series as a free promotion. You’re not alone in leaving Select. In the last two weeks I’ve read a number of similar posts from other authors.
    As to the problem—it’s far too easy to get into page flip view and read pages in that. I suppose Amazon records this as a single page read to counter those who try to increase page counts by flipping through the book. Their solution is one of throwing out the baby along with the bathwater and likely to offend a great many authors.
    Come on Amazon—whatever you do to counter the scammers, they’ll get round it. It wouldn’t be too hard to construct a device to read pages in standard view either. Your solution is to make KU an option to Select authors.

  2. There was a work around by embedding an invisible SVG image that would break PageFlip. Authors that did that saw an instant return of earningss to normal.
    Amazon​ just last fixed…THAT glitch, and now SVG images no longer disable page flip. Shocking to find out, everyone’s earnings suddenly plummeted. Shocked I say. Shocked.

    Pretty sure this points more towards malice at this point.

    1. Yeah, I read about that on Kboards recently. I’ve been testing KDP Select again with a single book, but once the exclusivity period is over, I’m going wide with it again. The rest of my books are already wide. As far as I’m concerned, Select is not an option anymore.

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