Recently there’s been a lot of discussion of Amazon Kindle’s latest program… “Kindle Unlimited”.
Now for those of you have heard but don’t know a lot about it, here’s a quick recap in a nutshell.
*Remember: this is only a brief overview and not an in-depth piece. I understand there are still some details to be ironed out*
With Kindle Unlimited, you pay $9.99 a month to have unlimited access to Kindle books through Amazon. You don’t have to ‘buy’ the books, you simply have access to them. Sort of like a private library that you pay a monthly fee to have access to. Now considering there are literally thousands of books on Kindle this is a pretty good deal for consumers. You can sample and read any the books and decide if you actually want to purchase a copy for yourself in e-book or maybe go for an actual print copy, without wondering whether or not the book is to your taste.
So on the surface, this sounds pretty good right? So how does this effect the authors? What do they get out of having their books being ‘borrowed’ instead of bought?
Well, Amazon has a plan in place for there. Should anyone ‘borrow’ your book and read at least 10% of it, whether or not the person finishes the book, the author will earn a paid share. So they are getting something for their trouble even if the entire book is not read or purchased. Nice right? They will get something just for having their book looked at (provided at least 10% of the book is sampled).
So this sounds like a nice win-win situation for all. Unfortunately, there is a catch (yeah, you all saw that coming didn’t you?).
In order for an author’s book(s) to be part of the Kindle Unlimited program, the e-book version of their book CANNOT be for sale anywhere else. Meaning, no Nook, Apple, Sony, or other e-reader formats through Smashwords, Scribd, Oyster, etc. Amazon and Kindle will have the SOLE selling rights to the e-book form of your work. Print editions are of course unaffected by this.
So basically, an author has to choose to either pull their existing works from Smashwords and the other e-book formats, and have only the Kindle version of their e-book available. Or, in the case of a brand new book, it will only be allowed to exist in print or Kindle form.
Speaking only for myself…
I am not going to do Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Select. Some time back, I pulled my first novel from Smashwords and did the Kindle Select which also requires exclusivity and only had the Kindle e-book form available for three months. I did it because this was the only way I could do ‘Free-Days’ through Amazon, which was important to me since it was my first novel. Those Free-Days got my name and work into the hands of over 1000 prospective readers. But I had to cut my Nook, Apple and Sony fans off for three months, which I hated doing.
When I released my 2nd novel “THE SHIP” I made it clear from the start that there would be no Free-Days, only “99 Cent Days” occasionally and that was it. And I’m sticking to my guns. 99 cents is the lowest I can go on Kindle without being part of either one of the their programs. “THE SHIP” is doing nicely, and I’ve also found that a number of people have told me flat out that they prefer paying the full price when they have the money, because they love what I’ve created and want to see the money go to me and not some corporation.
With loyalty like that, I can’t bring myself to cut anyone off. So, I’m sticking with Smashwords and Amazon (no strings attached) for all my e-book formats. What others choose to do, is up to them. I simply wanted to take this moment to assure all my readers that I will always put my books out there in all the e-book formats so I can make sure it’s available to you.
Here’s the address to my author website which has links to all the e-book formats for both my books. Just click on it, and it will take you to the site and you can choose whatever format you prefer. You will always have a choice with me, it’s my way of returning the faith and loyalty all of you have shown my by taking a chance on my books.