The December 27, 2014, New York Times article “Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books. Authors Turn Up Noses” by David Streitfeld, in my opinion, should be read with a grain of salt, as the saying goes.
The article describes how Amazon’s monthly book subscription program — Kindle Unlimited — has hurt author revenue. But readers of the article should be wary of this information:
Holly Ward, who writes romances under the name H.M. Ward, has much the same complaint about Kindle Unlimited. After two months in the program, she said, her income dropped 75 percent… She immediately left the program. Kindle Unlimited is not mandatory, but writers fear that if they do not participate, their books will not be promoted.
It is this additional paragraph, further down in the story, with its final sentence that is especially telling (boldface is mine):
One major point of contention: Kindle Unlimited generally requires self-published writers to be exclusive, closing off the possibility of sales through Apple, Barnes & Noble and other platforms. (Ms. Ward was an exception.)
Let us examine this information as of this writing (because with Amazon anything can change overnight).
While all ebooks (print book are excluded) in the exclusive KDP Select program are automatically included in Kindle Unlimited, many other ebooks are also included that are not part of the KDP Select program. Obviously Holly Ward’s ebooks are not part of KDP Select and, as a successful author, she also does not need to be part of Kindle Unlimited.
Yet for many of us self-published authors trying to find readers for our books, KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited can be worthwhile options. In fact, I’m wondering whether readers with Kindle Unlimited subscriptions will any longer be tempted to pay for the ebooks of unknown authors. Why pay for unknown authors when you can try as many as you want for free?
(Those of you who have read my earlier posts on KDP Select know that I believe there are valid reasons for self-published authors to include their ebooks on KDP Select. Many of my own ebooks are on KDP Select although some are not for various reasons.)
While it seems too early for general statements about the value of Kindle Unlimited for different author categories, I do believe we should be careful about throwing out the baby with the bathwater after reading one or two articles.
It is important to weigh the benefits and detriments for ourselves rather than accepting a verdict that may not fit well for our own situations.
With this caution in mind, click here if you want to read the entire NY Times article.
© 2014 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY, as well as newly written books not yet published. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org