Secondment to Hell

If you read my previous blog post, I Never Learn, you would be forgiven for thinking that my prolonged absence from my blog was due to feverish writing activities related to my second novel. Well, you’d have been wrong. Of course, the real likelihood is that my absence never crossed your mind at all, but for ego purposes, I’ll pretend that’s not true.

Unfortunately, for the past six weeks, I have been rectifying the mistakes of a member of staff who, let loose on some basic accounting for my husband’s business, managed to wreak havoc previously unknown to the general accounting world. Actually, no not the accounting world. To man. And although my faith in mankind has diminished over the years, this person put a pretty major dent in what was left of it. Don’t think it was deliberate sabotage, though. This was the work of somebody with about three brain cells. Born that way or a product of an uncaring society? I really don’t know. I might have cared six weeks ago, but after all that mind-numbing number crunching, my ability to do so has evaporated, along with most of my brain cells.

But anyway, back to the writing world.

Whilst I’ve been seconded to hell, Kindle has introduced the much-maligned Kindle Unlimited page count thingy (bear with me, trying to get back into the swing of writing words here.) The first morning it popped up on my screen I’d had 96 pages read. I mentioned this to my husband and suggested that the reader was perhaps in America and had now gone to bed, thus stopping at 96 pages. My husband facetiously countered that perhaps the reader had gone to the toilet or was making a cup of tea. It then occurred to me that this pages read thing was just too much information. Here I was speculating about why a singular person, who had been reading my book, had stopped at 96 pages. I do not need to know this, or know when someone is even reading my book. It is completely OTT in the information department! Some authors I know are even wanting more information like how many readers were reading it on any given day and even, at what page has a reader stopped reading (so they know if there’s a theme building and they have a super-boring chapter that’s making readers lose the will to live.) Is it me or this is taking things too far?

Furthermore, why did Amazon feel the need to do this in the first place? Profits wise I don’t have a problem with it, if anything I seem to have had more KU’s (based on number of pages read) in the last couple of weeks than I’d ever had before. But it is such a strange concept. If you purchase a paperback and then never read it (which I’ve done countless times) or just read a couple of chapters (ditto) the author still gets the royalties, which they deserve to get. So why is this any different?  Is this soon going to happen with songs? You download a track, start to listen to it and realise it’s crap, will you get a proportional refund? Or an album which only has four good songs on it, likewise?

But I think the thing that is bothering me the most (other than the fact that the internet is taking over the world) is the monitoring of us that these companies are doing. They know when you’re reading a book now! How much of it you’ve read! And I bet they are keeping tabs on purchased books as well, not just the KU’s but they’d never admit that. I’m coming across as paranoid now, but that’s  probably because I am :D.

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12 thoughts on “Secondment to Hell

    1. Aw, thanks Ron! I’ve just realised that I didn’t explain what Kindle Unlimited was in the blogpost; I’ll edit it. KU is something you can purchase for $9.99 per month and you can ‘borrow’ any book that is enrolled in KU (as mine is.) It’s only borrowed books that I received info on how many pages have been read, not purchased ones. But you can bet Amazon is watching us all!

  1. Blimey Kindle Unlimited isn’t something I have knowingly got involved in!
    I think I buy my book on Amazon and it downloads it to my kindle (and my Kindle account) and the luck author gets the £ if I read it or don’t. My kindle is an early generation and I can’t imagine it sending metadata to the mothership but perhaps that is me being naive.
    I’m one of those people who sometimes has more than one book on the go at a time : D TTS

  2. Kate Beth Heywood,
    first, 🙂 (that’s for your thoughts on secondment)
    second (yeah, no pun there), thank you for following my blog and for sharing and blogging
    you’re a good writer, so keep writing please (and happy blogging to you!)
    Eruditeblogger

  3. Isn’t the KU info-gathering exercise simply wonderful?

    In a bright shiny future, Amazon will have gathered enough data for algorithms to churn out an endless stream of perfect books for each reader. Imagine, just the right number of plot twists and character reversals, and as many sequels as the algorithm can churn out.

  4. As an Amazon author myself, I found this a great post, and totally hilarious. I agree with everything you say about KU – it’s mind-bogglingly confusing. Loved your explanations about why someone should stop reading at p. 96! The call of the toilet sounds very likely. Thank you for a very informative and humorous post. Millie 😀

      1. Thank you, Kate! I’ve just been back to yours. I saw your comment last night, but it was getting late, so I thought I’d leave it until this morning. 😀

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