This post was published on a German Selfpublishing Blog and I asked the author for permission to translate it. The original post can be found here: Die Trickmaschen in KU
Imagine you could create e-books that contain more than 3000 pages, with just a tiny bit of effort. With a single Kindle-Unlimited subscription, you can now click through the book and earn 9,90 € (3000 x 0,0033 €) (USD 10,84). With that, your abo is paid for, and if you have a free trial month, you already earned 9,90 €. If you create 100 of these books, you can already earn 990€ (USD 1084). If you find 10 people who click through your books (maybe for a bit of money), then you can earn real good money with these ebooks. We’re going to call these people *clickers*
*There’s definitely much more behind this method than we initially believed*
Authors are speechless and the complaints Amazon receives are getting more and more, but the giant is reacting slowly. A lot of books containing the so-called ‘click-method’ are still there, causing a lot of damage.
Method Number 1: Riddles
In this first case, more than 100 books were created with the so-called Riddle-method. Books with short content, that would only earn about 0,07 € (23 pages x 0,0033 €), earn now about 10 €. In the blurb speaks the publisher about a bonus. He included the same or nearly identical riddle in over 100 books already. If you want to read the actual story, then you can jump to it with the help of a link. KU counts the pages nevertheless.
Method 2: Space and Break
You buy a book with about 1400 words (only a couple of pages) and find a link inside that brings you to the story. In between: lots of spaces and page breaks. Again: KU counts the pages, which brings quite a bit of money to the publisher. With copy and paste it’s only work of a few minutes.
Method 3: External Text
Why not simply add e-book guidelines to the e-book? On the first glance, it doesn’t look like a trick that much, but the publisher generated a lot of pages with adding a lot of blank lines, who have a column numbering. Looks like shit, but no one reads that anyway. Maybe a reader or two will wonder, but then they’ll use the link to go to the actual story.
Method 4: Multilingual Method
Write a book, translate it in a lot of languages and then add all the translations to the e-book. Create a table of contents that shows that this story is available in all languages. To pick the right language, ask the reader to click on the right language. It’s—of course—the last language in the TOC. The reader jumps over all the other languages and KU counts the pages. The publisher earns 10 times as much as with the actual story. Another good point: You can publish the story in quite some languages, just make sure you have the story in the language you’re publishing in at the end of the book.
It’s probably safe to say that there’s a lot more system behind the method than you can see on the first glance. It’s definitively worth to pay others to buy a subscription and click through the books. The earnings are big and clicking through it doesn’t take long. It’s most likely not only readers who click through it, but hired subscribers. We found 6 All Star Winners in only 2 days who work with this method. This reduces the All Stars to a nonsense.
How much can you earn with such a system? Hard to say, but it must be a few thousand Euro every month. If you do the math, 100 novels with 3000 pages (KU doesn’t count more than 3000 pages), earn about 100 € (USD 109) with just one ‘clicker’. If you find 100 people who click for you, then you earn about 10.000 € (USD 10900). It’s the question whether you can organize that, but you make enough with just a couple of clicks as well. Also: the ‘normal’, curious reader clicks through the book as well.
We only researched in Germany, but we took a short look at KU Spain and USA. There exist the same methods. If you do a little math, you see how much damage is done every month. We’re talking millions here. That’s not peanuts, especially when you take into consideration that the whole KPD Direct Fund holds about 11 Million €. Please note, that’s only a suspicion. But it’s not absurd. It would explain why the royalties are dropping from month to month.
We reported 12 authors alone in Germany and over 300 books vanished, with 6 All Star Authors among them. A lot of e-books remain available, though. And if Amazon doesn’t react fast and suspends whole accounts, then the books will appear very fast again.
Amazon has to act fast, before the KU system is broken. These systems don’t only hurt other authors, who lose royalties, but readers and Amazon as well. In the beginning, we thought a couple of publishers don’t do much damage, but that’s definitely wrong.
So, please, if you see such a book, share it with others, and email Amazon about it!