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New Conspiracy Theory: Amazon to Expand Pay-Per-Page to Entire Kindle Store

150930147_6dae3ab06b_bI hope you have had your tin foil hat ready because I have a whopper of a conspiracy theory for you today.

Update: Before you go further, let me warn you not to get angry. The subject of this post has retracted her post and apologized.

Katie Foley is misinterpreting the recent news about changes to KDP Select. Where a normal person would look at the available info and conclude that Amazon was modifying a single program, Foley has invented the wild idea that Amazon will expand the new terms in KDP Select to the entire Kindle Store.

Foley then goes on to plea for JK Rowling to save indie authors from the perfidious Amazon and serve as those authors' champion while they bide their time waiting for the right agent and publisher to come along.

Yes, Foley really did invent a belief that all indie authors secretly want an agent, but that point pales in comparison to this sad excuse for incoherent ramblings:

The Kindle Direct Program, or KDP, is a self-publishing service offered by Amazon. Independent writers who are still in the process of finding an agent utilize it to publish their writings as a means of getting more eyes on their work. Amazon has recently announced that it will stop paying these writers for their work. Rather, writers who have opted in to a program that Amazon promises will “earn higher royalties,” “maximize your book’s sales potential,” and “reach a new audience” will actually only be paid for what Amazon determines the reader has read, despite Amazon’s own promise on their KDP FAQ that “you’ll continue to earn royalties from those sales like you do today.”

This move appears to affect only authors who opt in to the lending library (who wouldn’t, at the promise of higher royalties, and the opportunity to get their novels in front of a larger audience?), but according to the Telegraph, this change is “initially” going to affect those in the lending program. So, eventually, this will affect all independent authors who choose to publish with Amazon.

There are exactly three correct details in the above quote, and that would be the words Amazon, Kindle, and Telegraph. The rest of the quote is utter equine excrement.

Folks, it’s one thing when The Telegraph or The Atlantic screw up a story about digital publishing; they know nothing about the industry (and fact-checking is passe, anyway).

But Foley, on the other hand, is an author. (She even claims to be an indie author, but given how many details she got wrong I simply don’t believe that.) Unlike John Scalzi, who simply didn’t do enough research and didn’t understand the topic at hand, Foley got so many details wrong that even Hanlon’s Razor can’t account for this pile of equine excrement.

No, I think she wrote this piece as FUD. She wanted an excuse to attack Amazon, so she invented enough details to justify an incendiary post (her assumptions about indie authors pining for agents back that up, IMO).

Edit: I’m crossing out this section because Foley has posted a follow up where retracted the post, admitted that she made a mistake, and said that she had learned a lesson on researching a story before writing.

Her post is so ridiculous that I could not come up with a coherent argument to explain why; my brain kept shutting down.

Luckily for me Bill Peschell left a comment over on The Passive Voice which refuted Foley with a minimum number of words:

A moment’s thought will reveal this to be nonsense. A sale is a sale. Amazon gets paid for the book and divides the payment with the author.

A borrow is for a limited time, so it makes sense that at the end, when the book is “returned” Amazon figures out how far it was read and make the appropriate payment.

Even if I was infested with ADS, I can’t figure out how Amazon would set up a system to screw authors by paying only for pages read in a book that the customer has already bought and paid for and can read for the rest of their life.

Nothing else needs to be said, I think.

image by Horrortaxi

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fjtorres June 25, 2015 um 3:56 pm

There’s plenty to be said.
All about panic in tradpub SF&F land.
I’ve heard some BPH imprints in the UK are being shut down and apparently the angst it spreading.

Check the top *sellers* in SF&F at Amazon for provenance.

puzzled June 25, 2015 um 4:56 pm

Just how many 'imprints' does a publisher need?

fjtorres June 25, 2015 um 5:04 pm

At least one per Vice president. 😉

Mackay Bell June 26, 2015 um 3:28 am

The attacks against Amazon have all the makings of an organized PR campaign of the sort used in political warfare. And I would guess are being coordinated by hired people with that kind of background. The goal is to throw as much mud as possible and see what sticks on the candidate’s face.

This particular crazy theory is no more outlandish than the really outlandish idea that Amazon was going to turn on indies the minute they forced Hachette to cave. Or the previous KU conspiracy that Amazon wanted to force writers to write short fiction so they would keep returning to the Amazon website. Or the NYTimes propagated idea that Amazon wasn’t interested in making money on ebooks, they just wanted to sell diapers. Or the shit volcano where every writer would be forced to work for free.

It doesn’t matter if these theories have even a remote possibility of being true. The important thing is that bad things are being said about Amazon. The presumption is that most people won’t read the whole piece, or think it through, and they’ll just come away with a stink associated with Amazon.

Even something this embarrassing, with a retraction, helps to get the negative spin out in the world. And who knows, it might have gotten some traction. Stupider theories attacking Amazon have.

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