In a recent post I wrote on one of my other blogs, I looked at the latest KDP Select ‘Exclusive Opportunity‘ that Amazon are offering in exchange for exclusivity. Pay-per-click advertising, which when analysed, hardly looks like a very good deal at all for self published authors. But then again, none of the offerings by KDP Select have turned out to be such a good deal for authors in the long run.
However, of all the so called benefits of KDP Select, the one that has done the most damage to author earnings has been Kindle Unlimited. The damage of this ‘innovation‘ has been recorded on countless blogs by authors who have suffered from the effect of, as Amazon says, ‘Unlimited Reading’. A huge loss of earnings.
So I was very glad to read a comment by an author about how he is fighting the Amazon juggernaut. The answer is surprisingly simple. It is to give penny pinching readers, who have now been trained by Amazon to pay next to nothing for ebooks on their Kindles, exactly what they want. Cheap, cheap, cheap reading.
Let me explain the logic of this. If an author lists an full length ebook of say 90,000 words at between $2.99 and say $4.99, and a Kindle Unlimited reader reads more than 10% of the ebook, the author gets paid about $1.40. A long way from the listed price. So why not move the goalposts a little?
Giving away the months of hard work spent writing a full length for $1.40 is ridiculous, so his idea is to give Kindle Unlimited readers a lot, lot less, and gain a lot more. The idea is to write a short story of say 10,000 words, (or less) and list it at $0.99. Then, enrol the short story in KDP Select and in the process, offer it on Kindle Unlimited. If he’s lucky, miserable, penny pinching readers, who pay their $9.99 per month to have access to Amazon’s promise of absolutely unlimited reading, will download the short story, read 10%, or 1,000 words, and the author gets paid $1.40. Brilliant! Turn $0.99 and a lot less work into $1.40!
Yes, it is time for authors to revolt and say enough is enough. You want cheap, you get cheap! Amazon has encouraged ebook buyers to expect to pay less and less for ebooks on their Kindles. So it is very much high time for authors to say that if that’s the case, then readers should get a lot, lot less for their money. I mean, stuff you dear reader, but a cup of coffee hasn’t got any cheaper in the last few years.
I’m sorry, but as an author, I am not going to work my butt off for readers for nothing. So, for a return of $1.40 per potential read dear readers, get ready to expect very, very little in return from now on. Authors do need to eat, just like you.
It is high time for authors to revolt!
*** Update ***
Since writing this article, Amazon have changed to a ‘pay-per-page’ model of payment for ebooks under their Kindle Unlimited subscription service. However, after seeing the effect of ‘pay-per-page’ on my royalties, which was remarkably unchanged, I’ll stick with the theory that short is good. In a world that is losing its attention span, short is definitely better.