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Books Businesses The Almighty Buck

History Repeats Itself: KDP Select Is Amazon.com's 'Payback For Playback' 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-old-is-new dept.
New submitter brennanw writes "Anyone who was active on mp3.com during the late 90s/early 2000's will find Amazon.com's KDP Select awfully familiar: authors who make their works exclusive to Amazon compete for a pool of money. Any time someone 'borrows' one of their books, they get a cut of a monthly sum (700K in January, 600K for February) based on how many of their books were checked out vs. how many other author's books were checked out. This is almost identical to the 'Payback for Playback' service MP3.com provided musicians a little over a decade ago. Payback for Playback effectively destroyed the original MP3.com artist community, and I don't think KDP Select is going to be much different for the self-publishing community that is growing on Amazon."
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History Repeats Itself: KDP Select Is Amazon.com's 'Payback For Playback'

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  • Why destroyed? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zardus (464755) <yans@yancomm.net> on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @07:58PM (#38961343) Homepage Journal

    What did the PfP program do that was so bad to mp3.com? Honestly curious.

  • Re:Such a dumb move (Score:3, Interesting)

    by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @08:35PM (#38961643) Homepage Journal

    One point that the original article seems to be missing is that KDP Select titles can only be borrowed by people who a) are Amazon Prime subscribers and b) own Amazon Kindle devices. While this doesn't completely inoculate the service from the sort of "gaming" that he refers to on MP3.com, that's a much higher barrier to entry than signing up for an account and downloading a file for free.

    So, the idea is that one fan can no longer download your book 50 times, so that will stop the fraud. Well, it doesn't stop the fraud, it just makes the fraud more creative.

    Kings of Chaos [kingsofchaos.com] is a game built around this very principle! Each player gets a unique link that they share with their friends, and every time it is clicked on, you get more troops for your army. Each of your friends can only click on your link once every 24 hours.

    So, people form giant guilds (thousands in a guild), and they all store their links in a "recruiter" (search the page for it). Then you spend an hour each night using the recruiter. For every link that you click on in the recruiter, it increases how often your link is shown to others.

    It's rather amazing how much effort people put into a game that really has no point (ie. KOC). KDP Select appears to me to be KOC again, but it's no longer a game, and real money is given out. I fully expect it to be a complete disaster.

  • by inflex (123318) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:18PM (#38962891) Homepage Journal

    Except the big gain of the KDP-Select, the free days as you say, are already starting to lose its impact. We see each other on KB (Hi, I'm MrPLD) and we can see it falling away in front of us. We pulled ~2000 freebies last week over 3 days, but when it originally came out people were getting 10,000+, now more and more people are only seeing 50~200 freebies.

    Sooner or later, we're all going to have to go back to the traditional way of getting our readership, we're running out of "pricing as marketing" strategies, unless we want to start paying readers $1/book (and yes, it will happen, I'm fairly sure).

    I'm off the auto-renewal after 90 days on KDP, the free days were a nice thing, but I do wonder in some ways if Amazon isn't trying to make the independents destroy their own kind with this strategy [cynical hat on].

    http://elitadaniels.com/ [elitadaniels.com]

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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