I’ve been receiving questions about Kindle Unlimited, and what it will mean for ebook sales. Since the program’s so new, it’s impossible to say. However, I LOVE ebooks, so anything which brings ebooks to a wider audience is devoutly to be encouraged.
Here’s what we know. Kindle Unlimited costs around $10 a month, with a 30-day free trial. Currently, it’s for US customers only. It looks like a great deal, and since I read at least a book a day (I’m a fast reader), I’ll be joining when it’s made available in our part of the world. When you subscribe, you can borrow ten ebooks at any one time. Just return your ebooks once they’re read, or if you decide not to read them.
Currently, there are some 600,000 titles in Kindle Unlimited. Presumably, these are the titles which were already enrolled in KDP Select.
Kindle Unlimited and ebook sales…
For your ebooks to be available for the Kindle Unlimited program, they must be enrolled in KDP Select. That means, that if you want to be part of Kindle Unlimited, you must give Amazon exclusivity. That may well be a deal-breaker for many authors. Some authors make more money on their titles on the other ebook retailers in aggregate than they do on Amazon.
In Kindle Unlimited, you get paid when someone reads over ten per cent of a downloaded ebook, out of a pool of funds. The big question of course, is how much will you be paid per book?
David Gaughran reports:
There’s actually no way of knowing right now. Authors had the same questions when KDP Select launched in December 2011, and I remember estimates ranging from $0.30 to $2. In the time since, borrow payouts have averaged $2.19. It seemed like Amazon was always keen to keep the rate around $2, adding and subtracting money from the fixed pool each month to keep things at that level.
Currently, there are many more questions than answers about Kindle Unlimited. This means that some authors are freaking out… Don’t. 🙂
What to do now: is it worth switching your entire Amazon catalogue to KDP Select, so it’s available in Kindle Unlimited?
In a word, no. Your milage may vary, of course. 🙂
I uploaded a new title to Amazon a few hours ago, and I ignored KDP Select, as I’ve been doing for the complete series of ebooks of which this latest title is a part. I’ve made my marketing plans for the series, and they never included KDP Select, because I publish the series elsewhere. If I wanted to enroll the titles in KDP Select, I’d have to take them down from other retailers, and it’s not worth the hassle.
I’m outlining a novel which I may serialize in KDP Select, so the parts end up in Kindle Unlimited. I’ve written a couple of series for ghostwriting clients, and they’ve done reasonably well. This particular novel would serialize easily, and once I’ve written a first draft, I’ll look at publishing the first three or four parts, to see how they do in Kindle Unlimited.
Kindle Unlimited: good or bad for authors?
Some of the authors I’ve chatted with are nervous about Kindle Unlimited, but I’m not. I tend to be optimistic, and as I’ve said, I’m happy about anything which brings ebooks to a wider audience.
Nate at The Digital Reader’s published Is Kindle Unlimited Good or Bad for Authors – Six Viewpoints — it’ss worth reading for a sense of what others are thinking.
What we know for sure is that Amazon’s not resting on its laurels. Kindle Unlimited was inevitable, because Scribd and Oyster are using the subscription model. My feeling is that Amazon’s been working on this longer than those two services have been available anyway.
It’s very early days with Kindle Unlimited. Look at the service as another way to market your ebooks.