From the “see, I told you so” files… Amazon has announced that they’re changing the payment structure for books exclusively enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the books that are eligible for the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL).
Yes, for some authors, this change will be great.
For others, however, they might find their income jacked up all to hell on the backside of the changes.
“But Tymber, isn’t this good because it’s no longer a flat fee, and it’s based on length?”
Yes, for some authors, it can be a good thing. But there will be some authors, however, who’ve loaded all their eggs in the KDP/KU basket who will suddenly find themselves staring at a mess of broken shells. Amazon can, at will and whenever they want, change their payment structure, and this can be a good thing…or it could be a very bad thing if they suddenly decide, “Hey, we’re dropping the amount of the pot this month.” (Don’t say they won’t do that, because this change is proof that Amazon can do whatever it wants.) Authors who are KDP-exclusive are running a very severe risk of getting screwed.
Another issue about this change…note carefully Amazon’s wording:
Under the new payment method, you’ll be paid for each page individual customers read of your book, the first time they read it.
So what if someone gets your 200-page book and the first time they read it, they only read 10 pages in before they get distracted and read something else, just to return and finish it later? Does that mean you only get paid for those 10 pages and not for the rest of the book, even if they later read it?
What happens if someone takes their Kindle offline and reads your book, deletes it, and then brings it back up. Does that mean that you won’t be paid for that read? (Don’t laugh. Two words–airplane mode.)
Mind you, this is NOT an anti-Amazon rant. Far from it. It’s a strongly-worded warning to authors to make sure they are paying attention to what’s going on so they aren’t caught unawares.
This new change will be implemented July 1, 2015, so I STRONGLY recommend crunching some numbers NOW instead of playing the wait-and-see game to find out how you’re going to be impacted. You might decide that exclusivity isn’t worth the risk and need to add other distributors.
Kindle Unlimited Pages Read
Beginning July 1, 2015, we’ll switch from paying Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) royalties based on qualified borrows, to paying based on the number of pages read. We’re making this switch in response to great feedback we received from authors who asked us to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read. Under the new payment method, you’ll be paid for each page individual customers read of your book, the first time they read it.
Royalty payments under the new program
As with our current approach, we’ll continue to set a KDP Select Global Fund each month. Under the new payment method, the amount an author earns will be determined by their share of total pages read instead of their share of total qualified borrows.
Here are some examples of how it would work if the fund was $10M and 100,000,000 total pages were read in the month:
- The author of a 100 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
- The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million multiplied by 20,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
- The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
We will similarly change the way we pay KDP Select All-Star bonuses which will be awarded to authors and titles based on total KU and KOLL pages read.
You can enroll in KDP Select at any time by visiting your Bookshelf. If you no longer want your book(s) to be included in KDP Select you may unenroll from the program by contacting us with the ASIN of the book you would like to remove.
Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC v1.0)
To determine a book’s page count in a way that works across genres and devices, we’ve developed the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC). We calculate KENPC based on standard settings (e.g. font, line height, line spacing, etc.), and we’ll use KENPC to measure the number of pages customers read in your book, starting with the Start Reading Location (SRL) to the end of your book. Amazon typically sets SRL at chapter 1 so readers can start reading the core content of your book as soon as they open it.
This standardized approach allows us to identify pages in a way that works across genres and devices. Non-text elements within books including images, charts and graphs will count toward a book’s KENPC.
When we make this change on July 1, 2015, you’ll be able to see your book’s KENPC listed on the “Promote and Advertise” page in your Bookshelf, and we’ll report on total pages read on your Sales Dashboard report. Because it’s based on default settings, KENPC may vary from page counts listed on your Amazon detail page, which are derived from other sources.
After this change, you’ll be able to view your Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) Pages Read in your Sales Dashboard report by marketplace and title.
We’ll continue to update this Help page with more information on your KDP reports, KU/KOLL royalties, and KDP Select Global Fund payouts as the changes roll out.