I’ve been asked what I think about this program, and honestly? My initial gut reaction is one of cautious optimism, with more than a lot of hesitation. As with anything new, it’ll take a few months to see what trends start to shake out.
There are a couple of articles about it you can refer to:
- Chuck Wendig: To Kindle Unlimited, and Beyond
- GigaOm.com: Kindle Unlimited…
- TechCrunch.com: What Kindle Unlimited Means for Authors
- The Passive Voice
My initial impression over the ten percent issue kicking off the royalty payment triggered a thought regarding potential abuses. What’s to stop people from waging campaigns to get people to read that far? I don’t know. One thing is certain–people will always try to game the system. If there is an Amazon program announced, guaranteed there is already a slew of people working to figure out a way around it. (*cough cough tagging items cough cough*)
I’m curious to see what Amazon does with the books, however, if someone’s subscription cancels or doesn’t renew. Do they pull the books from their account? How about people who download backups to their computers and then strip DRM? It’s my understanding that this works on all devices, not just an in-browser app.
Since the catalog available for this program (from what I understand) is only a fraction of the bazillions of Kindle books available for purchase, I don’t think it’ll hurt ebook prices overall any more than Amazon’s Prime program did, or any more than Netflix hurts digital movie and TV show prices to buy from various outlets. I don’t see widescale participation by the Big 5 other than some of their imprints here and there, so I doubt their entire catalogs will be available through the Unlimited program anytime soon. (Again, I could be wrong.) But it does include audiobooks, so that’s pretty cool. It might be worth it (as a consumer) for that alone if you don’t want to actually purchase an audiobook.
Do I think it’s “bad?” No. You can opt out. And it looks like it’s more of an exclusive club than a free-for-all right now, since non-KDP books (for the average self-publisher or small press) aren’t eligible. And it might give some writers more exposure being in the program than they might otherwise have had.
Hopefully, if there are issues and they scuttle the program, Amazon takes the loss on the chin and doesn’t pass it on to the authors.
We shall see.