Authors can’t make people read their books after they buy them — all they can do is work hard to make sure their books get bought. They have no control over what happens after the purchase.
That used to be okay, but not anymore. Amazon is changing that for some authors with new terms for the Kindle Unlimited payment policy.
In a letter sent to authors enrolled in the KDP Select e-book publishing program, Amazon said, “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.”
You read that correctly. Now KDP Select authors with books in the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library will have to care about whether book buyers actually do read their books.
Payment for pages read
When the KU program was introduced, authors were told that borrowers had to read at least 10 percent of the book for authors to be paid (see “Attention book lovers: Read at least 10% of your Kindle Unlimited books“).
The new model bases author payments on the number of pages read. Authors of long books that get read will earn more than authors of short books that get read. Authors of books that don’t get read at all will suffer — but that was the case when the KU program was introduced, too.
This approach rewards good stories and good writing in fiction because if you’ve hooked someone, they’ll keep reading. It also rewards those who provide good, useful content in nonfiction.
Still, remember that this applies only to authors enrolled in the KDP Select program.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out for prolific authors over time. Will they earn more or less with this model, and what decisions will they make based on their sales tracking? Will they opt out of these lending programs, or will the numbers show that it’s better for their bank accounts than not participating in the program?
It’s definitely a story to follow.
What do you think of this new payment policy? Fair or unfair? Please comment below.
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