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Amazon's Verified Purchase

Switch Blayde

When someone who buys your book writes a review, Amazon attaches a "Verified Purchase" to the review.

I got new review on March 17th without the "Verified Purchase." By the comments it's obvious he read the book so I went to my Sales Dashboard and, sure enough, someone read the novel in KU on the same day as the review.

So I guess those don't show up as "Verified Purchase" even though they pay to read from the lending library.

Ross at Play

What you've described seems okay to me.
As a potential reader, I would not want to see a "Verified Purchase" tag against anything where someone had not paid extra specifically for the book they reviewed.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

As a potential reader, I would not want to see a "Verified Purchase" tag against anything where someone had not paid extra specifically for the book they reviewed.


But anyone who's an Amazon customer can review a book even if they hadn't read it. Like the 1-bombers on SOL. So the "Verified Purchase" at least gives the reader the knowledge this wasn't a troll vote.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

But anyone who's an Amazon customer can review a book even if they hadn't read it. Like the 1-bombers on SOL. So the "Verified Purchase" at least gives the reader the knowledge this wasn't a troll vote.

Are you saying we agree?
Trolls rarely pay extra money for access to a specific book just to trash it.
As a potential reader, I presume someone who has paid extra will give their honest assessment.

Crumbly Writer

According to Amazon's policies, any regular Amazon customer (anyone who's paid more than (I believe) $50) can post a review on any product. I actually encourage my readers to post reviews to Amazon, even if they read my stories elsewhere, as the reviews help to sell more books. Those reviews/ratings are similar to readers posting reviews to sites like goodreads, thus a pleased reader can suggest books on a variety of platforms.

While Amazon has plenty of its own trolls, they tend to be non-readers (i.e. those who'll attack books they've never read, based on other issues entirely).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

While Amazon has plenty of its own trolls, they tend to be non-readers (i.e. those who'll attack books they've never read


That was my point. This person obviously read my book based on his comments. The novel is exclusive to Amazon so I'm assuming he read it in the KU program (there was a 400 page read on the day of the review).

It would be nice to differentiate the reviews by people who actually read the story from those that didn't. Since he doesn't have the "Verified Purchased" it looks like he didn't read it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


That was my point. This person obviously read my book based on his comments. The novel is exclusive to Amazon so I'm assuming he read it in the KU program (there was a 400 page read on the day of the review).

It would be nice to differentiate the reviews by people who actually read the story from those that didn't. Since he doesn't have the "Verified Purchased" it looks like he didn't read it.


That's the sticking point. He clearly read the story, and 'paid' for it with his subscription to KU, according to Amazon's guidelines, but since he didn't "purchase" the book specifically, he wasn't listed as a 'verified' purchaser. The key then, is to encourage your 'free readers' to purchase your books, since you earn more than you would through the KU program.

The easiest way of doing that, is to offer the first book in a series on KU, but keep the rest as ebooks (i.e. don't enroll them on the KU program). However, from all indications, people who read free books, from whatever source, don't spend money on books, so it may be a lost cause.

However, as long as you generate the positive reviews, the free readers will encourage future purchases (hopefully), which is where you'd get your payback.

Then again, if you're happy with being paid fractions of pennies per page (and a few cents per book), then continue with the KU model. Many authors base their entire careers on that very model, though they tend to crank out short (10,000 word) books so they can generate a LOT of content in a short time.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  sharkjcw
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

The easiest way of doing that, is to offer the first book in a series on KU, but keep the rest as ebooks


What I did was not enroll in KU even though I was exclusive to Amazon, and then when the sales dropped off I enrolled in KU to pick up some extra money.

sharkjcw

I review a lot of books read on kindle unlimited. I guess I need to start stating in the review that I am a Kindle unlimited reader verses verified purchase reader.

sharkjcw

@Crumbly Writer

CW, what happens when you put the first book in a series on Kindle Unlimited. If I am interested in the other books I will purchase the book read it. and RETURN it for full credit.
Mostly I don't look at series that have part in KU and part in regular purchase because I look at it as a ripoff by the writer.

Switch Blayde

@sharkjcw

Mostly I don't look at series that have part in KU and part in regular purchase because I look at it as a ripoff by the writer.


What if the first was offered for free or $0.99 and the rest in the series for purchase at a regular price? That's a common strategy for self-published authors on wattpad.

Replies:   sharkjcw
sharkjcw

@Switch Blayde

What if the first was offered for free or $0.99 and the rest in the series for purchase at a regular price?


The thing is amazon is more customer driven. A lot of people I have talked to, If they get the first for KU or $2.99 with the rest at regular price $5.99 and up they will purchase the other e-books read them then return them for full credit so the author gets $.00 for the sale at least on KU you get something for the sale.

I have also talked to authors who swear that they make a lot more with KU than traditional sales. If I get the book on KU you get something if I purchase and return you get nothing. A lot of times I understand if it happens fast enough you never even get to see the transaction.

richardshagrin
Updated:

I am not an author, but have a viewpoint to offer. What if we compare KU to a public library? The library buys a copy or maybe several of your books. Then they lend them to the public. You make a little bit of money from the book the library bought, but nothing from the library patrons who read your book. KU doesn't buy your book but people who do pay a little per page when they read the book on KU. What both the library and KU does is get your name as an author in front of potential readers. Hopefully when their financial position improves they might buy your books. With eBooks you don't have to worry about the books they buy winding up in a second-hand book store, again getting no money for readers who buy it there. I agree, from an author's standpoint it is much better to have all your books bought by your readers, but that isn't likely for most authors. Something from KU might be better than nothing from library and second hand book store readers. And sometimes book buyers loan books to their friends... And SOL doesn't provide authors with a lot of money, unless you win a contest with a short story. So many stories, so little time. If they think about it authors should understand not all their readers are going to pay for the stories you write. KU might fit some authors as well as selling their books to libraries, etc.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@sharkjcw

I have also talked to authors who swear that they make a lot more with KU than traditional sales.


We're not talking about KU or not. Well, someone said they don't like to offer their book on KU because they make pennies.

My question was, if the book is NOT on KU, how would you view the first book in a series being sold for $0.99 or even free, and then the other books in the series being regular price? That's the strategy authors on wattpad use.

They use it because some readers are not willing to pay anything for an unknown author, so they offer it free. Then, if the reader likes the author, they'll pay for other books.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@sharkjcw

CW, what happens when you put the first book in a series on Kindle Unlimited. If I am interested in the other books I will purchase the book read it. and RETURN it for full credit.
Mostly I don't look at series that have part in KU and part in regular purchase because I look at it as a ripoff by the writer.

I'm not sure what your question is, since you answered it yourself (i.e. you won't read any since you consider it a ripoff, though it's similar to authors offering their first book in a series for free, then charging for the later books in a series).

Was there an actual question there? I was just offering suggestions on how Switch might monetize his other books after offering one (only) on KU.

By the way, in case you haven't noticed, many authors (both famous and unknown) refuse to participate in KU, because they find the payment arrangement unfair to authors. KU has a notoriously low author participation rate, attracting more low-quality entries than professional books (IMHO).

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

how would you view the first book in a series being sold for $0.99 or even free, and then the other books in the series being regular price?


Members of my Writers' Group have tried that strategy but report that it doesn't seem to work.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@sharkjcw

The thing is amazon is more customer driven. A lot of people I have talked to, If they get the first for KU or $2.99 with the rest at regular price $5.99 and up they will purchase the other e-books read them then return them for full credit so the author gets $.00 for the sale at least on KU you get something for the sale.

Quite frankly, that's otherwise known as "theft", and if you do it too many times, Amazon will ban you from their site (read their ToS). A few times is considered normal (not liking the book after you bought it), repeated behavior indicates you're riping the site (and authors) off.

You may think you're being clever, but it's the same as stealing a book from a library, and then returning it when you finish (or several years later, in most cases).

If authors don't feel KU pays a legitimate rate, it's their right to refuse to participate. Stealing their work because you feel 'entitled' to get whatever you want is akin to a 5-finger discount, and just as ethical.

@richardshagrin
Again, with a library authors make the choice to make them available to libraries, knowing what's involved. (By the way, there's a higher read/purchase ratio for library books than there is for KU reads.)

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

With eBooks you don't have to worry about the books they buy winding up in a second-hand book store, again getting no money for readers who buy it there. I agree, from an author's standpoint it is much better to have all your books bought by your readers, but that isn't likely for most authors. Something from KU might be better than nothing from library and second hand book store readers.

Face it, most SOL authors upload their stories for FREE in exchange for feedback and as a thank you to SOL, so it's not a matter of 'getting something from your book'. Instead, it's a protest against Amazon's unfair pricing (giving away free books and movies to attract paid free-mailing subscriptions.

Deciding that anyone who believes in a principal deserves to be stolen from is highly questionable. It's akin to saying 'any rich person deserves to be stolen from because they don't deserve what they paid for, while I do simply because I'm too lazy to work an extra job'.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Members of my Writers' Group have tried that strategy but report that it doesn't seem to work.

No. Offering the first book for free doesn't pay, because free readers (like here) don't pay, no matter what. They feel entitled to whatever they want, and will never pay (most often).

However, offering the first book at a discount is different, as you're targeting likely buyers, but making their purchasing decision easier. It's more akin to offering the first book in a goodreads free book giveaway, then charging for the others (they're more likely to purchase than KU readers, as they'll often purchase books after losing the giveaway).

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Again, with a library authors make the choice to make them available to libraries, knowing what's involved.


No they don't. Most libraries purchase the books in their collections or they get donated by third parties who purchased the book.

Once a book is published, an author has no control over who purchases it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

No they don't. Most libraries purchase the books in their collections or they get donated by third parties who purchased the book.

Once a book is published, an author has no control over who purchases it.

More often, if the book isn't a bestseller, authors make the book available for 'library purchases'. Otherwise, the books never show up in the libraries catalogues, and they don't have the chance to purchase it, even if it's requested.(Libraries use a separate listing than booksellers do.)

If someone purchases the book (or received it as a gift), then it no longer "belongs" to the author, but to the purchaser, so it's their right what they choose to do with it, not the authors. However, if someone didn't legitimately acquire it, it's still illegal offering it (ex: if someone robs someone, then gives their valuable first additions to the library before the police arrive to question them).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

However, if someone didn't legitimately acquire it, it's still illegal offering it (ex: if someone robs someone, then gives their valuable first additions to the library before the police arrive to question them).


True, but that has nothing to do with copyright law and everything to do with laws prohibiting receiving stolen goods. It would be equally true of a painting or an antique vase.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

with a library authors make the choice to make them available to libraries,


I didn't know the author (or publisher?) had to approve it. I thought the library could just buy a book and put it on their shelves.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Members of my Writers' Group have tried that strategy but report that it doesn't seem to work.


The authors who participate on wattpad think it is a good strategy. It allows a reader to "try out" an unknown author without an investment (free) or a small investment (99 cents).

CW
This has nothing to do with KU. It's a pricing strategy.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

The authors who participate on wattpad think it is a good strategy


The authors in my Writers' Group who have tried it also thought it was a good strategy. Do the wattpadians have any proof that it works or is it merely conjecture? I'm sceptical because wattpad seems to be a rich source of ideas which have no substance :(

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I'm sceptical because wattpad seems to be a rich source of ideas which have no substance :(


Sounds like a group of political scientists. Lots of ideas without any substance.

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Do the wattpadians have any proof that it works or is it merely conjecture?


I have no idea.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Thank you for your honesty.

I'd be interested in hearing from others who have tried this approach. One day I hope to be yet another unknown author, with aspirations racing ahead of capabilities, trying to rack up e-book sales :(

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I didn't know the author (or publisher?) had to approve it. I thought the library could just buy a book and put it on their shelves.

Again, booksellers and libraries have completely different ordering listings, and you have to opt into each (usually by paying a flat fee or an additional charge per book sold.

The next time you offer a book for sale, examine the sales offerings. You'll undoubtedly notice some sort of "Library" option.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The authors who participate on wattpad think it is a good strategy. It allows a reader to "try out" an unknown author without an investment (free) or a small investment (99 cents).

Again, I prefer weeding out the 'we only want free books', so I charge something, just to register interest in the offering, though for 'free for reviews' I will offer free books, since the payback is in something other than payment (more page views, author recognition, positive reviews, etc.)

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


The authors in my Writers' Group who have tried it also thought it was a good strategy. Do the wattpadians have any proof that it works or is it merely conjecture? I'm sceptical because wattpad seems to be a rich source of ideas which have no substance :(


Twice a year, SW offers a "Read a Book" special, where authors can (choose to) discount their books and be listed in the offerings. I've found that, not only do I sell several each time, but that those sales tend to generate additional sales. The sales aren't earth-shattering, but then, every bit helps and you grab whatever leads you can.

I also know a LOT of authors who keep listing the same book on the goodreads "Book Giveaway" contest, continually keeping their book before readers and generating additional interest in it. I doubt they'd keep doing it if they weren't generating income from the practice.

Also, several will list each new book in a series as a goodreads giveaway (again, to attract general reader interest), and also offer the first book at a discount. That way, readers will see the new book and decide to investigate the discounted first book.

Again, consider the numbers. For each giveaway I offer, I'll offer between 6 - 10 books, yet I'll get 700 - 1,200 submissions (to win). I'll also get about 1,500 page views (on my website) with each offering, so more people will visit my page than actually enter the contest. Often, the losers will go ahead and order the book when they lose (I know I have!).

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