Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year you may have noticed a bubbling discontent with Amazon by a number of better known indie authors out there. J. A Konrath has recently stated, in the comments for his December 19 post, that he was stepping away from Amazon's KPD Select program, once his ninety days were up in late January. Holly Ward, who writes romances under the name H.M. Ward recently revealed that in KU her earnings have plummeted by as much as 75% as a result of borrows instead of sales.
For an indie author, enrollment in Amazon's Select program allowed them
to offer the enrolled title free for five days for every ninety day
term. Aside from price matching making a title permanently free it was the
only way an author could offer their work for free to the massive
audience Amazon has nurtured. The Select program, in its infancy, was
directly responsible for a number of indie authors becoming bestsellers.
Earlier this year Amazon rolled out its subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, that allowed members to borrow an unlimited number of kindle titles for one low monthly fee. It was Amazon's response to Oyster and Scrib'd, two stand alone subscription services that have done for e-books what Netflix has done for movies.
If the member read the borrowed title beyond ten percent it triggered a payment to the author. Some authors, those with titles priced from $0.99 to $2.98 actually benefited from the program as the payment was averaging about $1.30 per borrow. On titles priced between a $0.99 and $2.98 the author makes 35%, of the purchase price for each sale. So for a book priced at say $2.98, the author would make approximately $1.05, or $0.35 for each dollar.
Authors with higher priced books such as $2.99, who were used to earning 70%, or $2.06 for each sale, were taking a beating due to Kindle Unlimited. To add insult to injury it was learned that Amazon was also offering two payment tiers for its lending program. Trad published titles were being reimbursed at their agreed upon rate, while Indie authors were being paid from a pool, with payments ranging from $1.30 to $1.60 per borrow.
When I began this journey at the end of 2011, the possibilities seemed unlimited. But the times they are a changing, much has been said about the Amazon lending program both for and against it. Some heavy names have weighed in with their discontent.
But you know what?
Does anyone really have any control over what Amazon does?
The only thing I have any control over is my own writing, whether it gets done or not in a reasonable amount of time. So while everyone's gnashing their teeth, and spouting off about what evil Amazon has once again foisted upon the world of Indie publishing, I'll be over here writing.
After all that's the only thing I have any control over.