I have a question.
Let's say I suspect a certain distribution platform has been underreporting sales of self-published books and vanishing the money for their own ends.
@lilithsaintcrow how large do you think the discrepancy is in relation to the reported number of sales? Would it be economically feasible to make a known number of purchases of a particular title and see if the author receives payment for at least that many sales?
@djsundog Unfortunately that wouldn't be economically feasible, though the anecdotal--mind you, only ANECDOTAL--evidence I'm getting suggests at least half of the sales are not reported in some cases.
@lilithsaintcrow yikes, that is not a small portion. I wonder if you could release a "new edition" of one of the ebooks in question that pinged a server when opened, so you could at least have some externally-sourced data to use for correlation.
@djsundog Would that be against ethical rules as an author? What is the pitfall, ethically, of doing that?
@lilithsaintcrow it definitely strays into a gray area imo - you'd be collecting a log of IP addresses (and times) that the "new edition" ebook was opened, which would provide a bit more anecdotal evidence of sales volume, but you'd still be a ways off from a smoking gun, so probably not worth it
@djsundog Yeah, that sounds super chancy even though it might work. *is thoughtful*
I appreciate you taking the time to answer, too. I know it's a weird quesiton.
@lilithsaintcrow I'm a sucker for weird questions honestly ;)
From another angle, is the publisher large enough to be an attractive target for an investigative journalist to be interested in exposing the potential fraud?
@djsundog Yes, the distribution platform is certainly that large. So large, in fact, that a reporter might not want to pull the tail of that particular sleeping gorilla.
@lilithsaintcrow ahh, yeah, that's tough. That's no way to end up with a cushy job at the Post.
@lilithsaintcrow Any platform that can't do a reconciliation on-request is automatically suspect.
Being able to prove that, or DO anything about it... that's where it gets sticky.
@LAGilman I sort of suspect a reconciliation would be doctored as a matter of course, given the peculiarities of this particular distribution platform.
Proof, especially actionable proof, is probably not going to be forthcoming unless an employee has a sudden crisis of conscience and drops a load of documentation.
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