Where is an author’s place in an Amazon world?
Piracy. The word has run the gamut of affiliated issues in different markets over the years. It’s been linked with issues with music and downloading songs without payment to the artist. Remember the days of Napster? Piracy has also been linked to theft for authors. Websites are springing up where full manuscripts are available for public download. This is problematic enough, but Amazon’s new stringent policy against kindle piracy creates even further punishment for authors!
Kindle Unlimited has always been controversial for authors. There has always been that double edged sword of affiliating yourself with Amazon to be paid for page reads along with their marketing, but you have to pledge exclusivity. This has always been a difficult decision.
Many authors swear by it and build their entire platform around having their books in the Kindle Unlimited library. Others start off that way to get their book out there and then pull to go wide (aka list it in other vendor marketplaces) after they’ve got a solid base of reviews. This is what I did.
I felt, as do many authors, that it was unfair that to be listed in Kindle Unlimited I was restricted from even selling my own ebooks directly on my own website! It felt like it goes against the grain of why many of us went into self-publishing in the first place. To have autonomy over marketing decisions. But still, I did understand why some authors chose to stay. The Kindle Unlimited page read payouts are alluring.
However, Amazon recently opened a whole new can of worms against authors. Amazon added kindle piracy to its exclusivity violations. So now in addition to an author already feeling frustrated when their work is stolen and posted on a random site for download, they’re also getting shut out of their Amazon accounts.
That’s right, Amazon is not even serving them a warning or advice on how to fight the kindle piracy, they are just shutting authors out of their accounts and sole sources of income overnight and citing breach of their exclusivity contracts.
The worst part is authors don’t even know how to go about fighting it. Some authors are trying to organize a solidarity Kindle Unlimited strike- however understandably many claim they can’t afford to pull their sole income source right now.
There is also a Change.org petition being shared as well as one acknowledging that Amazon is one of the primary sources for this kindle piracy in the first place! Many automated systems use Amazon as the source for them to copy the e-files they share on their free sites.
It’s a vicious cycle. An author needs a source for selling/publishing their product, they turn to Amazon and commit to their exclusivity clause, their work gets stolen from Amazon, then Amazon boots them out of the program without support.
This cycle needs to be broken!
Perhaps by at least spreading awareness of this issue, whether that be by sharing this article, the circulating petitions, or just by talking about it– change can occur. Amazon needs to be held accountable and they need to support the authors they are making money from.
As stated in an article from ‘thenewpublishingstandard.com’ posted on Dec 7th, 2021;
“Per the AAP, tracked ebook sales REVENUE from January through October 2021 amounted to $892.5 million.”
Do better Amazon. Authors make you money. Protect them.
Do you have a Kindle Unlimited Account as either a reader or author? What are your feelings about Kindle Unlimited?