As The Scams Continue to Turn

I just learned about a ‘technique’ our scammers are using regarding audio books.But not just any audiobooks. No, these involve audiobooks that are in the Audible Romance Package. 

‘LEAVE YOUR AUDIOBOOK ON ALL NIGHT’

Amazon/Audible implemented this new ‘subscription’ service last summer. With it, readers/listeners can listen to an unlimited number of audiobooks per month for a fee. Much like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, you only get to listen to those books that are in the romance package program.

The author of that audiobook is paid for each minutea reader listens to your book(s). There is no limit to the number of times you can listen to the same book. Once, twice, thirty times, it doesn’t matter. We are paid for each of those minutes. Absolutely no checks and balances on this.

So the scammers, who find ways of scamming crap faster than a kid can find mom’s hidden chocolate, are taking over the Audible Romance Package Program. Seriously, this is a whole new level of scamming.

So what are they doing? They’re asking their ‘readers’ to play the book a few times. They don’t even have to listen to the book. Just play it. Leave it on loop. Leave it on all night, on loop. Leave it on all day, on loop.

I could not figure out why my audible royalties took a nose dive over the last few months. I’m talking a 75% drop. Now I know: the scammers are taking over Audible. 

They’re not really listening to the book; they’re just playing the books over and over and over again. 

I’m sure there is probably a new audiobook click farm in some dark basement somewhere, listening to audiobooks 24/7. But they’re not really listening, they’re just playing the books.Over and over and over again. And according to Audible, that is not against the rules. 

Dozens upon dozens of audiobooks in all sorts of genres by known scammers, have been flooding the system since Audible launched the RP.

And yes, Audible has a ‘bonus’ for those audiobooks that had high ‘minutes listened to.’ Sort of like Amazon’s All Star Bonus for their KU program.

We are paid next to nothing for each minute listened. We get as little as 0.00095 of a cent per minute listened. Let us do some math. Let’s use a 5 hour book as an example. A five hour book equals 300 minutes. 300 x 0.00095 means we get 0.285 of a cent for that book. If the book had been purchased outright, I would get $4.42 cents. That is a remarkable difference.

So let’s take a 24 hour day. There are 1440 minutes in a day, multiply that by 0.00095 and you get $1.38. Doesn’t sound like much, because it isn’t. But if you have say 10 audiobooks in the package and you have dozens of people playing it on loop, the money does eventually begin to increase. However, the scammers don’t really care about that part of the equation. What they want is the Audible Romance Package bonus. That bonus is calculated doing math I doubt Sheldon Cooper could figure out. The bonus is given to the ‘authors’ who had the ‘most listens’ for the quarter. We’re talking thousands of dollars.

I did earn that bonus the first two quarters. However, my royalties started taking a drastic dive after the first quarter. At first, I wasn’t concerned because I thought it was this new program finding its way. I was also getting a nice bonus that made up for the loss in royalties.

But over the past few months, the royalties have dropped so significantly and so dramatically that the ‘bonus’ doesn’t even begin to make up for the loss in royalties.

Audiobooks are expensive to make. Especially if you write really big books like I do. It can me cost over $4,000 to create an audiobook for one of my bigger books. In the past, I usually made the money within a month or two of release. I would continue to make good money on it for years after. That, however, is no longer the case.

So we have a whole new battle to fight. I can’t wrap my head around this right now. Not only is Amazon allowing their KU system to be gamed, Audible allows it as well.

It boggles the mind. Not only do we have to deal with pirated copies of our audiobooks at Youtube, now this.

I told you this would get much worse before it got better. I don’t know if this is the worst of it yet. I’m afraid to think about it. 

I hate scammers.

16 thoughts on “As The Scams Continue to Turn

  1. Thank you Suzan for being at the front of this and explaining it. I really admire your dedication and honesty- not only are you a Fantastic Author but you are a Peoples Champion as well!

    Cheers~
    Kelly Braun

  2. *sigh* Yet another system open to gaming. Fairly easy fix, though; same as KU, limit the amount of times you can get paid from a single user to once per book. In KU, no matter how many times they read, you get paid ONCE. Make it the same for the Audible program and you’ll fix the worst of it.

    (Oh, and ban all accounts that have listened to the same audiobook repeat times in a 24-hour period, say).

  3. If you purchase am audiobook with a credit and the author has an exclusive deal with Audible (and paid up front for the narration) they get 40% royalties. If they have a royalty share deal with the narrator then they split that 40%.

    Books were added to the Romance Program by publishers without the knowledge of authors – or narrators who agreed to royalty share deals. Those authors and narrators saw their incomes flatline when the Romance Package began back in November 2017. If a legit author is only getting a few cents per listen- then having to split that with a narrator, they both earn zip!

    The best way to purchase audio is via credits or purchasing outright. I know that this doesn’t suit the budgets of voracious audiobook listeners, but its the only way authors can earn a living from producing audiobooks

  4. Another scam! It is time for action. We are holding a town meeting, so to speak, to talk about a plan to combat the growing trouble with Amazon scammers and falling sales. Some of us authors are putting our heads together and are forming a plan. If you are interested in being part of the solution, please join us tonight, Wednesday, 6 pm PST, and let us know what you think of our plan. There is strength in numbers, let’s stand together.
    The meeting is being held here… https://www.facebook.com/groups/INKSLINGERSDEN/

  5. Another scam! We are holding a town meeting, so to speak, to talk about a plan to combat the growing trouble with Amazon scammers and falling sales. Some of us authors are putting our heads together and are forming a plan. If you are interested in being part of the solution, please join Lynda Cox and I tonight, Wednesday, 6 pm PST, and let us know what you think of our plan. There is strength in numbers, let’s stand together.
    The meeting is being held here… https://www.facebook.com/groups/INKSLINGERSDEN/

  6. I have started to get really excited when I see your name pop up in my email. I open it knowing you will have something awesome to say. So I repost you on facebook.
    Do not stop fighting. Your words are appreciated – both here and between the covers of your REAL books because you are a REAL author and your work is good.
    People need to just boycott these unlimited services. They are bunk.

  7. I’m shocked that “Leave your audio book on all night” is even a thing! How do people think of such deceit? I saw Courtney Milan tweet about this on as well. As a new book blogger, I will now do my due diligence to avoid promoting books by scammers. Thank you for bringing all of this to our attention!

  8. My love for the Romance Package has just taken a nosedive. I have had questions about how it worked and assumed it something like KU but did not realize authors were paid by the minute listened: I just thought it was by number of times the book was downloaded. That raises another question. Does the speed at which someone listens to a book relate to minutes listened or is it just based on the number of minutes in a book? I adjust my speed based on the reader. Right now I am listening to one at 1.25. Would this author get less because I am listening fewer total minutes? Also, were books really added to RP without the author’s consent? I assumed that authors probably decided if the wanted their books in the package. Which leads to another question about how authors are paid for books included in Hoopla and Overdrive through public libraries but that’s a discussion for another day.

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