Amazon Creates a Fair Royalty System, and Everyone Hates it

Last week Amazon did something drastic. They changed how authors are paid when Kindle books are borrowed. But let me give you a little more information before I get into the good stuff.

Are you familiar with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL)? No? Okay. KOLL is set up for Prime members who also happen to own a Kindle device. These individuals are able to download one free eBook per month as part of their Prime subscription. Authors are compensated from a fund that Amazon sets up at the start of each month that is divided up among all downloads. Let’s just say that for a given month the royalty per download is $2. If your books are collectively downloaded 100 times, then you’ve made yourself $200. Got it? Okay.

Second, are you familiar with Kindle Unlimited? No? Okay. It’s Amazon’s eBook subscription service that allows for subscribers to download and read as many books as they want to for $9.99 a month. Keep in mind that not one Big 5 publisher has its titles enrolled in the program. Got it? Okay.

In the past, authors would receive their royalty when their book was downloaded as long as the reader read 10 percent of the book. This threshold applied to all books. It didn’t matter if it was a 50 page novella or a 1000 page brick. The reader had to read 10 percent or no royalty would be paid out. And what were people doing? They were publishing very short works and enlarging the print so that it would be incredibly easy to reach that 10 percent mark. They would get their royalty just the same as someone who published a novel worthy of Big 5 publication.

My book is 216 pages, right? Which is very short for a book. Does it seem fair that someone would need to read 22 pages of my book in order for me to get my royalty when there are works published that are even shorter in length than that? No. It wasn’t fair and Amazon knew it.

The entire system has been overhauled and now authors will be paid per page read. The 10 percent threshold has been eliminated. How is this new system unfair to anyone? How can people be writing article and blog post after blog post denouncing Amazon for this? THEY MADE IT MORE FAIR!

Just to give you an idea of the kind of people who have spoken out against the new system, one blogger who claimed to be an author and reader said that Amazon has invaded her privacy by tracking how much she reads of a given book. How the hell does she think those lists are compiled each year about the books being read on Kindle? Magic? I mean, get a fucking clue. Her Kindle is MADE by Amazon. Her Kindle is BOUGHT from Amazon. Her Kindle is REGISTERED ON AMAZON.

Remember guys, this new system applies only to books enrolled in KDP Select, which automatically enrolls them in Kindle Unlimited and KOLL. This does NOT apply to books purchased, only books borrowed. A book bought is a book bought, no matter if the reader reads the whole thing or two pages. And also don’t forget that no one says any book has to be in KDP Select at all.

You can read exactly how the system will work by clicking here. It goes into effect July 1.

I’m ready to open the floodgates. What do you think of Amazon abandoning the 10 percent threshold for a pay-per-page model for books borrowed?

 

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