Amazon has accused several book publishers, marketers and authors of using the Kindle Direct Publishing system to artificially inflate their sales numbers and has now filed for arbitration against them.
Amazon has laid out five arbitration demands in a complaint filed with the American Arbitration Association (obtained by TechCrunch, see below), accusing the involved parties of offering services to boost the number of pages read in books, fraudulent customer reviews, creating fake user accounts to download e-books and inflate the numbers and other schemes to boost the amount of royalties authors and publishers were able to pull from Amazon's self-publishing platform.
One such accusation alleges a publisher guaranteed authors Amazon Best Seller status using a service offering 10,000 automatic downloads of the author's e-book through a network of readers by the next day.
"While the vast majority of authors and publishers using Kindle Direct Publishing are genuinely working in good faith to publish and promote their books, a small minority engage in fraud to gain an unfair competitive advantage," an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch. "Today’s news reflects yet another step in our ongoing efforts to protect readers and authors from individuals who violate our terms of service and manipulate programs readers and authors rely on."
Amazon is now seeking an injunction against the accused parties to stop the activity, as well as asking defendants to pay damages "in an amount to be proved in arbitration."
This seems to be a first case for Kindle Direct Publishing, but Amazon has taken others to task for fraudulent activity on the site. In 2016, the Everything Store cracked down on fake reviews suing at least three sellers for buying them.
You can see the five arbitration cases below: