Thursday, 18 June 2015

Kindle Unlimited to Pay per Page

I don't know how I feel about this, so I'll start with the fact.

Amazon has announced, "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." - Source

What this means (broadly) is that when a KU user borrows a book, the author will be paid for the number of pages that is actually read by the borrower, and not on the fact that it was borrowed. In effect if I borrow a book and only read half of it, the author only receives half of the royalties that they would have, 

This is all achieved, I assume, by the wonders of the (clearly CIA named) Whispernet. 

I do see why they've done this. It should slay the slew of daft 15 page "I was turned gay by being taken by my own butt-hole" erotica (I use the term erotica loosely), which sells at .99c. I think that is a good thing, however, if "I was turned gay by being taken by my own butt-hole" is your bag, it may cause a problem.

Why will that happen? The authors. They'll withdraw their books. Their 15 page tome will get them tiny payments in royalty. They will be better off selling them outside of KU in the regular market (even with a potential drop to 35% royalty).

So that is hurting the authors and the readers of said material.

I'm an author. If it hurts the reader, I'm against it.

But what about other markets?

Well, I suppose I should up my game on writing twists, turns, and reveals, to make my writing more "page turnable". Hold on. That's a good thing, right? Make my writing better? To get more page turns? To make more money? (I know, I'm talking broad terms. All writers should continually improve their craft - not just for money. But we're not in it for the money, amirite?)

So that's a good thing?

Torn.

Now this doesn't happen anywhere else, does it? If I buy a dvd (and I do...many) and it turns out to be shit and I turn it off after 15 minutes,  The Asylum (who make unbelievably shit films) still gets paid, right? Of course they do. A percentage of revenue of anything comes from purchases that are never used. It's economics.

So why is writing any different?

It shouldn't be.

Or maybe Amazon are Trailblazers. Maybe in a few years from now that apple at the back of the fridge that I forgot to eat I won't get charged for, the farmer won't get paid for, and we'll have less farmers.

Food for thought.

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