To enlist your titles into Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Program, or to not enlist your titles, that is the question…
For the last two weeks, I have been researching the Kindle Unlimited Program and the new way it is paying authors through Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read (KENP) and I found a few articles that (at first) had me excited about the possible pay out, and then I came across some other blogs and articles that had me scratching my head like “What the F#?@?” I’m telling y’all now, Amazon thinks they’re slick as shit.
For those who don’t know, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Program is like an All You Can Eat Buffet for readers. For $9.99/month, you can download a ton of books. For the chronic reader who reads 6-10 books per week (that used to be me before I started having children lol), that’s like a cause for a literary orgasm. Meanwhile, there may be folks who just download a whole bunch of titles with the intent to read them, but due to their schedule and whatever they have going on in their lives at the moment, they don’t get around to them until days, weeks, hell maybe even months after the initial download. Before KUP switched over to the KENP method, Amazon used to pay authors the portion of their book’s earnings (after their cut of course) as long as 10% of the book was read. So for someone who had a 150 page book priced at $2.99 on kindle, as long as the person who downloaded it read the first 15 pages, the author was paid $2.09 for that book. So if 200 people downloaded that book and read at least the first 10% of that book, that author made $418 off of that title. Now enter the KENP program where an author no longer gets paid for the 10% of the book that was read. They are paid per page read, and some articles are calculating that Amazon is paying $0.005 and $0.004 per page! How the hell do you pay half of a cent per page? Now let’s go back to the same book. The calculations that Amazon used was this: If 200 people read the 150 page book completely, that’s 30,000 pages read. The KUP fund for the month of March is $14 million. The number of pages read in February across the board was 1.9 billion. So you would multiply 30,000 pages read by $14 million which is 420,000,000,000 then you would divide that by 1.9 billion (assuming this is the total number of pages read for March as it was in February.) The author now is paid $221.05. So instead of getting paid $418 from those 200 people who downloaded the book, they are only getting paid $221.05. That’s a $196.95 loss that the author is taking on their work. Now some of you may say, well that’s fair considering it’s cutting down on a lot of readers that would just skim past the first 10% of the book to insure an author was paid for their download. Others may say, “Well, for authors who list their titles at $0.99, that would actually be a come up.” To me, that’s hustling backwards, and I will get into the whole $0.99 ebook sale bid in a minute. Let’s break this math down a little more so you can understand why I said in the opening paragraph that Amazon thinks they’re slick as shit.
As I stated above, KUP subscribers can read unlimited books for $9.99/month. Let’s say that the same 200 people signed up for KUP. Amazon has just made $1,998. Those same 200 subscribers downloaded your book and read every single page. You received $221.05 of that $1,998.00. It seems fair to me that if it is a requirement for a reader to read every single page of your book, that the author should be paid as though it was a purchase- $2.09 instead of what totals to be $1.10 per downloaded copy which is $1.01 less than the earnings of an actual purchased copy of your book!
Now let’s look at my book “Love’s Deadly Masquerade. My book is listed at $4.99 on Kindle and it is a full length novel at 374 pages for paper back copy and 342 Kindle Edition Normalized Pages. So far this month I have 36,432 pages read. Using the same calculations from above, my royalties under the KENP method would be $268.45. However, that averages out to be about 107 people (possibly) who read my book cover to cover. If I were paid under the old Kindle Program method or if those downloads were seen as a complete purchase my royalties for that book alone would be $373.43 which means I am taking a $104.98 hit. The only way it would seem like I am being paid a greater amount under KENP versus the original method or not enlisting my titles in the KUP program at all is if I were to price this book at $0.99 and that shit’s not happening. That’s what I would call, hustling backwards.
I initially was against putting my books in KUP because I didn’t like the condition that books in the KUP could not be sold anywhere else as an ebook. I believed that was stupid because not everybody reads on kindle. Some people actually hate kindle! I would be excluding possible nook, kobo, Google Play, and ibook readers making my titles exclusively available through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Program. What is beginning to piss me off is this: Why should I make my titles exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Program only to take an undercut in my royalty payments? Why should I undersell my work to make it seem like I’m coming out on the better end of this bullshit program when I know my work is worth more and I’m (along with many other authors probably) are being robbed blind in this bullshit program. It’s like a card table at the casino where the house always wins. Amazon is the house that we are gambling in and they are winning, not us. I, like many other authors, work too hard to put my stories together and I know my worth. So like any relationship where I feel as though I’m being played, or taken advantage of, I’m out. Amazon can kick rocks, and take that KENP method and shove it up their ass! And any other author who values their work ought to do the same thing.
So, Nook, Kobo, ibook, Google Books and other e-readers, I will be adding my titles to your sites by April 1st. So long KUP. Thanks, but no thanks…