Quartzy is reporting the impact Amazon's imprints are make on their best seller lists.
Everyone knows the impact ranking on the lists can have on sales. Visibility in this crowded market is tough, even for established authors, so the primary tool for visibility on THE platform needed to survive is in the interest of every author to pay attention to.
The bestseller lists act as the only merit based exposure the platform allows, and it's the one readers trust to find new people. After all, if they're a bestseller, they must be good.
Amazon as of now has done nothing to resolve category cheats, and others who game the system and help ruin the lists. Those category cheats steal views and sales from the people who, under the "rules," should have had them. The cheats also make the lists largely useless for readers in finding genre books they want.
Now, not only do we have a complete lack of rule enforcement, damaging the merit-based system and authors who follow the rules, but we have the seller using their power to ensure they make the most money and get the most visibility.
Amazon has gone out of its way to make getting visibility on the platform as difficult and expensive as possible, so when you find their Imprint books reaching the top of the list, you can be sure they aren't following the same rules the rest of us are. There can be no misunderstanding that a platform, paying itself for visibility to ensure they have sales that rightfully belong to others, is playing dirty pool.
And those sales do belong to others. No author is given marketing or sales information from Amazon. No author is allowed to target with full knowledge, which is ridiculous but at least it was uniform across the industry. Until now. The Amazon Imprint has information. They have access to people who can help spend money from Amazon by marketing to Amazon, by PAYING Amazon to ensure visibility.
They're using the near-monopoly they have to crush content providers. It's unconscionable. Don't believe for a moment that Amazon is a neutral platform where everyone plays on the same field. They've made themselves the judge, the jury, and the executioners for authors. They can decide who will succeed. How much money they are allowed to make. And when to change or break the rules to take over a market they took over by lying about their intent.
Readers have never belonged to Amazon. They were meant to be a technology platform. Don't trust your readership to them. Don't trust them to talk to you honestly. And remember, they're the competition.