Friday, July 3, 2015

Kindle Unlimted Is More Fair

And you may not be happy about that change.

Amazon has updated the Kindle Unlimited payout structure, and mass hysteria has ensued. It's fine, big changes are fine. The entire industry has been in one long continuous change since KDP took off. We should all remember one thing going forward,

Kindle Unlimited is a optional subscription service.

And we've heard the sky is falling since Amazon entered the race, and again with KDP Select, and again with the introduction of Kindle Unlimited. It seems like a simple sentence to keep in mind, but it has a lot carried within it.

KU is optional. Don't like it? Drop it. The contract is three months. Three months is most likely not going to make anyone dirt poor or filthy rich. Certain authors have never made their works exclusive, instead they focused their efforts on wide distribution. They seem to make a good living too.

KU is a subscription service. The users who rent our books are not buying it, so don't use the 70% royalty rate as a measuring stick; it'll never live up to that ideal. Don't think of it as a lost sale, think of it as a sale that wouldn't have happened otherwise, because most likely it wouldn't. As a Kindle Unlimited user, I've passed on books to find others who are enrolled in KDP Select. Some books I buy regardless.

The new system is more fair. When a premium priced epic at $5.99 received the same payout as a short story at $0.99, that was unfair. It takes longer to hit the 10% point for novels than short stories. In fact, one short story I read hit 10% after the first page it began. Shorter works were overvalued, and longer works were undervalued.

A payout by length was a popular alternative when Kindle Unlimited first came out. After three months of doom and gloom or so, everyone was quiet. Authors 'N Friends figured out how to best survive in the new ecosystem, and that was more short stories and novellas. Now the new system is more fundamentally fair, but the authors who figured things out, along with those with plans to have shorter releases, are no longer overvalued.

I won't be taking my book or keep future releases out of Kindle Unlimited. It's been very good to me. I've had a lot of KU users who rent my book with a healthy mix of those who purchase my book. Selling is not easy. As someone who sold poorly on other retailers, I know first hand it's easier to fall into obscurity than it is to make a single sale.

Not that Kindle Unlimited is without its faults. They're there, sure. Is it worth the hysteria authors are lumping on it? I don't think so. Discussions about if subscription models are the way forward or not are in a different category. Honestly, the fact that the subscription competitor Scribd pulled the majority of romance and erotica works is where most of the energy should be directed at. This is where a company literally vanished author's work without their permission or consent.

I've said it before, relatively speaking, Amazon is a boyscout compared to publishers and others. When authors figure out the ecosystem (which will be soon, if not already), than the glut of articles will disappear.

There are some serious issues I take with the new system, but I'll save that for the next post. The sky isn't falling quite yet.