Amazon announced big news Friday, July 18. For readers its definitely great news. For authors like me it’s a case of good news,and the potential for really bad news. I’m hoping in the long run the good out weighs the bad.
Amazon has introduced Kindle Unlimited, a new program that lets readers who join pay $9.99 a month to have unlimited access to some 600,000 ebooks. The good news for readers is the low cost they will pay to read all the books their beady little eyeballs can handle. The good news for authors like me is the increased exposure the program will provide. Nothing like having Flying W Press’s Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto in a program that includes Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
Also on the plus side is the encouragement Kindle Unlimited will give potential e-book purchasers to take a book like mine out for a spin. Acquiring readers is the hardest task for independent and self-published authors like myself. so any idea that puts my book out there in the public eye is a good thing.
But there is one little catch that could be the fly in the ointment. According to Amazon, authors, whose books are picked up this way, will receive a royalty from a special fund created for Kindle Unlimited. How much of a royalty depends on the number of books ordered overall. But in order for authors to be paid, the reader must read 10 percent of the book. They can’t just order it and let is sit their in their Kindle. Amazon is watching. And there’s the rub. How many of us have ordered ebooks and just let them sit there in their Kindle without ever reading them?
If that happens under Kindle Unlimited, not only would an author lose the royalty from the sale of the ebook, he may never collect a cent from unread books lingering in Kindle “unlimited” limbo.
On the one hand I feel positive about the chance for increased exposure to potentially an “unlimited” audience. But I’m concerned about the chances of losing sales because of this 10 percent rule. I’m also bothered by the fact that Amazon didn’t ask my opinion about including my book in Kindle Unlimited. They just went and did it. Me and the authors of 600,000 other books are in it whether we like it or not.
Interesting they announced this on a Friday, the end of the news cycle. With other disasters dominating the headlines, this isn’t getting much attention. Smart move or coincidence?
It’s too early to really start complaining. This could be a real boon to new authors who are trying to attract readers. That’s how Amazon is describing it, anyway. But I would make two recommendations in case anyone’s listening. If you as a reader intend to pick up my book under Kindle Unlimited, please read it. At least past the 10 percent mark. My other suggestion to Amazon is to drop the 10 percent rule entirely. What difference does it make to Amazon how much someone reads the book? What’s the point, anyway?
Those are my thoughts on this incredibly big development in the ebook publishing world. I’ll reserve final judgment until I see the results. Meantime, I’ve got another idea. Skip the Kindle and get the paperback. Over and out.