kindleunlimitedYeah, I received an email from Amazon this morning after having seen rumors about their new program for a couple of days.

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:

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.

Thoughts? Comments?

Kindle Unlimited: Hmm…
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8 thoughts on “Kindle Unlimited: Hmm…

  • July 18, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I made quite a bit of money on KDP’s Prime ‘borrow’ option when readers could only do one book a month. I made more on this program than I did at B&N or any other bookseller outside of Amazon. So as an author who sees a lot of ‘borrows’ on a book, I’d be excited to see what this gains us.

  • July 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Looking through the offerings in romance, most of the books I saw were ones that are often featured on Kindle daily deals, ones you can borrow if you are a Kindle prime member or free. I only buy audiobooks for books I have on Kindle and those are usually discounted. I may do the free trial at some point but for my go to authors like you, I like to own the book!

  • July 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I’m going to watch this carefully. On the surface, it sounds like a good thing for readers AND authors. My primary concern when I first heard about it was the impact on author royalties. I remember when movie rental stores first popped up, there were concerns about people gaming the system. Yes, it happened, but the industry managed to work out most of the wrinkles – at least as best they could in the face of those who make it almost an obsession to break the rules. This is probably going to have the same type of growing pains. But I can see some real reader savings and author profit. Both are very good things.

  • July 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I already broke even if I had paid for the first month – not a romance, but one of the books I borrowed sells for $17.50. My kindle wishlist, that I kept for my KOLL loans has grown significantly this afternoon (previously I kept it small, since I didn’t want a huge mess, if I could only borrow one books a month)

  • July 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    From a reader listener perspective, I’m very interested. I just signed up for the program this morning — month’s free trial.

    So far I got four Mark Chabon novels — love that man’s writing — including a whisper-sync audio version of one — along with Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and the Wool omnibus by Hugh Howey, also whisper-synced. I actually paid $1.99 for the Howey audio, though — for some reason the text was available free but not the audio.

    I typically read 15-30 books per month and listen to several more, so I’m all for this program. But I can’t see how authors are going to benefit from it. They will have to make all their money on subscribers who pay the monthly fees but never download much!

  • July 19, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I signed up for their trial. Looks like you can select 10 books and then afterwards you have to return some in order to get more. I’m not sure I will use it after the trial is over though. Might be a nice way to try out a new author but I think the selection is pretty limited like it is for the KindleMatch program.

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  • July 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    All academic for me so far…as usual Amazon UK is lagging behind and it’s not available.
    If it were available I’d give it a try…depending on length I read 2 or 3 ebooks a day so I’d use it to try out new (to me) authors.

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