Monday, March 23, 2015

Positives of Kindle Unlimited

I want to discuss some of the positives Kindle Unlimited offers authors. Subscription services are here to stay, and they're only going to get bigger. It's a common today to talk about how bad KU is to authors, and I've talked about it as well, but we risk having a perpetual raincloud hanging above us, unable to see the good in anything, if we constantly talk about it in that manner.

Kindle Unlimited is good for the readers. I've mentioned how pleasant my subscription to KU has been. It paid for itself last month when I was able to get Octavia's Butler's Wild Seed to read for my book club free of charge. Well, not free, but you get what I'm saying.

Outside of being a consumer, Kindle Unlimited offers some benefits for being an author.

Less friction between the reader and unknown authors. These authors suffer from a serious problem, they're not a consistent quality like [Insert favorite author's name here]. This will mean less reviews, which influence a reader's decision to buy a book. And reviews are tough to get as any author will tell you. With more and more book reviewers shying away from indie books, it can seem impossible to ever receive them

The price of a new author can hinder a reader from purchasing a copy. A lack of reviews may make the readers less likely to spend $0.99, $2.99, $3.99, or $4.99, because they can read a tried-and-true author's book instead. Kindle Unlimited removes the price tag altogether, and the lack of reviews are a smaller importance, because they can always delete the book. No harm, no foul. No transaction from their bank account.

A KU sale is not a lost sale, but a sale that wouldn't have transpired in the first place. I've noticed some authors mention they're "losing sales" to Kindle Unlimited, even though they have more readers than before. Obviously, they refer to the decrease in royalty, the example being a purchase of a $2.99 ebook gives $2.04 of profit, while Kindle Unlimited pays an ever fluctuating amount. That's loss of royalty, but not loss of readers.

What authors want is more money, not more readers. Not entirely an unreasonable thing, given the fact that authors now have the ability to make money outside of the closed-system of publishing. The point I'm getting at, while sidestepping this particular can of worms, is many of these readers probably would never have taken a chance on the book, so the $1.38 (January 2015 payout) isn't a lost sale, but a sale that wouldn't have happened otherwise. If they like the book, they may follow the author and read more of their works. This entire path may not have happened without Kindle Unlimited.

Let me point out that this is probably what the Kindle division thought would offset the full royalty, and for some authors it works as intended. Other authors don't receive this benefit, and a lack of money in the bank account is a very real thing. I've talked about this before, but even in a positive article I don't want it to be forgotten. 

No returns/refunds. A reader is allowed up to a week to return an ebook on Amazon if they are unhappy with it. That's a long time, and it hurts as an author to see a sale, and see a return within a week. It appeared, and it was taken away. As far as I know, there is no sort of refund system with Kindle Unlimited. The payout is never returned. Once the reader hits 10%, the money goes through a one-way street.

Those are all the points I can think of. I have been happy with my book in Kindle Unlimited, where it has done quite well in. I definitely see where most (If not all) the criticisms come from.