There has been a lot of talk about Kindle Unlimited. Some authors are absolutely livid about the changes Amazon has made to the KDP Select program. They feel that being paid for pages read instead of per book downloaded is unfair. After all, they claim, if you buy a paperback at a book store, you can’t return it. I can’t deny that’s true. But it’s now 2016. A new age of technology has not only dawned but is on its way to full maturity. New rules are being written and will continue to be written, altered, and amended for online consumers.
So what does Amazon claim is the benefit for its authors who enroll in KDP select? Amazon claims that KDP select authors will reach more readers, earn more money, and maximize sales potential. Wow! Sounds awesome – although I don’t know how you reach more readers when you have to give Amazon exclusivity. And the tools for maximizing sales potential are limited: Kindle Countdown deals only work if your book is higher priced and Free Book Promotion may lead to more sales but definitely not to more cash in pocket.
If I’m so critical of the program, than why I am I writing a blog post about how excited I am for the program?
It’s all about the money. Well, not entirely, but higher royalties is definitely one of the huge benefits for indie authors like me. Unfortunately, my books just don’t sell when they’re priced above $1.99. In fact, they sell best when priced at 99 cents, which leaves me with less than 35 cents royalty per book. Not very encouraging. On the other hand, with my book Life Discarded, which is normally priced at 99 cents, I earn $1.45 per book if the reader reads the entire novel. And if they only read half the book, then I still earn quite a bit more than with the strict royalty per book set-up.
Stop the presses! Why would an indie writer with bargain basement priced books not want to sign up for this great deal? Well, it turns out that not every author profits from pages read versus books purchased. The royalty for a book enrolled in KDP select is determined based on something called Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP). I’m not sure how Amazon does it, but they’ve come up with this system to ensure that all books are treated fairly. For me that translates to my book The Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives Series jumping from 506 pages to 727 KENP. Since I get paid per KENP read, all I can say is GO ME!
But if you are a writer of short stories or novellas, your calculations are going to be less advantageous. In that case, you may want to opt out of KDP select and maintain the right to sell your works at Barnes & Nobles and other online retailers. And giving up exclusivity to your works is definitely the biggest potential disadvantage to joining KDP select. As a recovering attorney, exclusivity is a word that causes me to automatically go into fight mode. NO! I will not give up my rights. Because I don’t sell that many books with other retailers, I decided to give KDP select a go. The increased royalties make it worthwhile for me to give up my exclusivity (even though it pains me to admit that).
What are your experiences with KDP select? In or out.