June 13, 2018

Kindle is getting stricter on scammers


While it’s easy to think most of the people Amazon is ripping off are local retailers, authors, and publishing houses, let us not forget the unassuming consumer who ventures into the darker recesses of the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) market, a place where voracious readers are scammed on the daily. For TechCrunch, John Biggs writes of Chance Carter, a prolific author of romance novels he’s sold directly through KDP. “One of the biggest abusers of the KDP system,” he’s recently been kicked off the site.

According to Biggs’s reporting:

[Carter] would create large novels out of other books. The books, which were simple hack jobs written by Fiverr writers, were hundreds of pages long and, on the first page, featured a recommendation to flip to the last page to get a free giveaway. KDP pays authors for both paid downloads as well as for pages read and it doesn’t sense reading speed, just the highest number of pages reached. Therefore Chance’s “readers” were instantly sending him or her about twenty dollars a read.

So, scammers like Carter will offer up certain incentives within the e-book they’re hawking, urging readers to jump to the last page to find out what they might win. Amazon doesn’t actually clock how many pages are read — they rely on the final page number a reader lands on. Any reader who jumped to the end of one of Carter’s books fell for a pretty silly scam (in one case, he promised a lucky winner a Tiffany necklace), with Carter himself pocketing $15 each time.

This is as good a time as any to remind readers to please shop local (and in person!); if not, you might just fall for one of these scams — in which case, you’re a lost cause.



Alex Primiani is the associate director of publicity at Melville House.