From author P.J. Bayliss:
I know this seems like a strange request from an author, but I’d far rather you steal and pirate my Kindle books right now as opposed to borrowing them. Apparently, pirating of books is okay, whereas law-abiding Kindle borrowers are likely to shut the author down.
Let me explain further…
Last week I received an email from the Kindle Direct Publishing team informing me that they’d shut my Kindle account down. Apparently they had worked out that my books had been borrowed by illegitimate accounts and as a consequence of the irregular borrow activity, they terminated my agreement with Kindle publishing. The letter went something like this:
“..we have detected that borrows for your books are originating from systematically generated accounts. While we support the legitimate efforts of our publishers to promote their books, attempting to manipulate the Kindle platform and/or Kindle programs is not permitted. As a result of the irregular borrow activity, we have removed your books from the KDP store and are terminating your KDP account…”
Understandable I was upset with this news as it came with the penalty of removing my books from the Kindle store and taking back my outstanding royalty payments. That cost me money, and while I didn’t have a huge amount of cash stashed away in the scheme, it would’ve been nice to have in my bank account for the countless hours I’ve spent putting my books together.
Aside from the wallop to my wallet, the account closure is much more problematic. As I read their notice I couldn’t help but think that my budding author career has just been downsized to the roots.
My problem is that I am completely an innocent party in this situation. I haven’t employed borrowers, enlisted in any ‘golden egg’ book marketing schemes, or sought any kind of third party help at all to escalate my book sales. Obviously, I barely find time to post a blog once a month for starters, so where am I going to find the time for all of that rigmarole? Even if I managed to find hundreds of borrowers per week it still wouldn’t fill my car with gas in order to get to work for my real job – so what would be my motivation to even consider doing such a thing?
. . . .
While I have appealed to the Kindle folks to overturn their decision, I still have to wait for days before they even start to look into the situation. I don’t know if they’ll let me back into the scheme, but to be brutally honest, while this borrowing loophole remains where innocent authors can have all of their hard work and earnings ripped away without a moments notice, I’m not too sure if I want to participate. It’s not the only channel for digital books after all.
Link to the rest at P.J. Bayliss
Here’s a link to P.J. Bayliss’ books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.
Amazon does a lot of things well, but KDP’s approach to potential abuse can be heavy-handed and obtuse.
How about an inquiry to the author about what’s going on?
In this case, if KDP thinks the author is at fault, why not start by temporarily shutting off borrows and allowing sales to continue for the book? Or even better, shut off borrows they believe are programmatically based and don’t pay the borrowing royalties for those programmatic borrows?
Or cap borrows as a percentage of books sold? No borrowing royalties for borrows that are more than 150% of the number of books sold each month?
PG understands that bad folks are constantly trying to rip off Amazon, but immediately jumping to termination of an author’s KDP account and terminating sales and borrows of all books as the first step isn’t Amazon smart.