Amazon, what the hell?

So, I received the dreaded form letter than many other authors have gotten.

Hello, 

We are reaching out to you because we detected accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services by simulating reading or borrowing activity on your titles. You do not need to take any action, however, we will block the activities of these malicious accounts and their effects on payments. This means that you will still receive royalties associated with legitimate reading activities, but you will not receive royalties associated with activities related to these accounts.

Please note that this notice does not represent a change to your account status but is sent to make you aware of how our security countermeasures will affect your previously reporting page count and your royalty payments. 

We understand you might have questions regarding the nature of how we detect these activities, however, please be aware that we cannot provide details that might compromise the integrity of our security systems.  

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email us at kdp-kindleunlimited@amazon.com. 

Regards,

I could have been scared if I hadn’t already heard about Amazon doing this to other authors. So, instead, I got annoyed and sent them a snappy retort:

One: Why are you telling me this if you aren’t somehow accusing me of doing this? Who would benefit from this besides me? You say you know for a fact that these are fraudulent borrows but you can’t show me proof? So you’ll take away reads aka money without any rhyme or reason and I’m just supposed to take your word for it?
Two: Why don’t you have the matter better in hand?
Three: Why should I continue to keep my books in Kindle Unlimited if you can’t keep a handle on fraudsters?
Four: Does this mean I will lose reads reported? Can I even trust the data on the KDP dashboard?
Five: Why should I trust your company to be proper publishers of my books at this point?
Six: Why have I heard this happening to numerous authors? Why is this still an issue? I would think Amazon has had plenty of time to address issues, considering how long KU has been out.
Seven: As your client, I expect better service than this.

Jen Ponce

I’ll bet you can imagine that they weren’t pleased with me questioning them, so they sent me … guess what? ANOTHER FORM LETTER!

Hello,

Thank you for your email regarding our actions related to illegitimate reading activity observed on your titles. Your account remains in good standing and you may continue to use Kindle services to receive royalties associated with legitimate activity or paid sales. 

Our decision to not pay for activities of accounts attempting to manipulate our services is representative of our effort to preserve the integrity of Kindle services for you as well as all customers and publishers.

Please be aware that we cannot provide further details of our investigations or detection systems, because we want to preserve both the confidentiality of others’ accounts and the security of our detection systems. 

If you have other questions, feel free to email us at kdp-kindleunlimited@amazon.com.

“Feel free to email us with any questions we won’t be answering.”

I sent off another email, because no, Amazon, you aren’t putting this shit on me.

It sounds like you’re saying I shouldn’t worry, and yet I know an awful lot of authors across the board who got emails exactly like mine and then had their accounts terminated in two or three months’ time because they didn’t somehow stop the illegal page reads. I totally get that it’s a problem, but I’m using your services. Shouldn’t you be the ones protecting me? You say that this protects the integrity of Kindle services; however, I don’t see any integrity in punishing authors for something SOMEONE ELSE IS DOING TO THEM.
 
 
Jen
 
Hey, guess what? Amazon doesn’t like being questioned. So, they sent me ANOTHER FORM LETTER, this one vaguely threatening. Also, it holds a lie. Can you catch it?

Hello,  

As we previously stated, we still detect reading or borrow activity for your books originating from accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services. You are responsible for ensuring the strategies used to promote your books comply with our Terms and Conditions. We cannot offer advice on marketing services or details of our investigations.
 
Please be aware we will not be providing additional details.

Best Regards 

Kindle Direct Publishing
 
Do you see the lie? They sent a form letter and because it’s a form letter, it’s also a lying form letter. They say in the letter, “As we previously stated, we still detect reading or borrow activity”. No, no they did not. This makes it sound like they sent me TWO letters about the borrow activity, but they’ve only sent ONE letter directly about that and ANOTHER letter telling me, basically, to shut up and take it.
Hell no I’m not going to take it. Let’s see how far this goes, shall we?
 
I sent this:
 
Mmhmm. I dont have control over what criminals choose to do. But nice try deflecting the responsibility onto me. I’m not having it. I. Am. Not. Responsible. For. Other. People’s. Actions. Period. 
 
And I sent this because I wanted to call them out on the lie:
 
Also,
 
I know this is a form letter. I’ve seen this exact one from other authors. It’s very disrespectful. 
 
You have NOT previously stated that you STILL are detecting reading or borrow activity on my books, which means you are lying to me right now. Lying with a form letter, which says a lot about your “integrity”. 
 
Jen
 
 
Now, I appreciate Amazon for having a platform that is easy to use, accessible, etc … but I don’t appreciate them accusing me of doing something I didn’t do. I don’t appreciate them implying that I’ve committed some wrong, a wrong they refuse to even prove that I’ve done. They also have taken page reads away WITHOUT PROVING THEY WERE ILLEGALLY READ. 
 
As far as I’m concerned, they’re stealing. 
 
Amazon has had a problem with book stuffing, with manipulation of their KNEP program … and it’s my damn fault.
 
It’s as if my bank called me up to say, “Hey, someone stole money out of your bank account. You’re responsible for keeping your money safe in our bank and so we’re taking money out of your account to deal with this. You’re fine. You did nothing wrong … unless you told someone you banked with us. You have to be careful who you tell because they might be bad guys and it’s not our fault if our bank gets robbed. And no, we won’t tell you how they broke in or what they took. And if you complain, we’ll close your account and you can’t do anything about it.”

Right.
No.
 
For the record, I asked Amazon to remove my titles from KNEP. They have ignored that request in favor of sending me threatening form letters. 
 
You’d think if I was such a terrible person in their eyes that they’d jump right on my request to remove my titles … except guess what? Amazon is making money off this, isn’t it? 
 
You’re welcome, Amazon. Glad I could contribute a few bucks to the 100+million dollars you make … a day.
 
 

 

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