Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Unlimited Royalties?

Figuring out book sale projections?  Easy as a pie chart.  And a graph.  And a quantum physics formula.
Amazon has unrolled a new program recently, Kindle Unlimited.  Basically, it's like Amazon Prime on steroids.  For $10 per month (first month is free), those who subscribe can read as many books for "free" as they want that month, from select titles.  Most of the titles are what's available for Prime members.

For authors, when someone downloads a book via Unlimited and reads at least 10%, they get a cut of a fund of money.  How much they get for each book "read" depends on how many books are read that month.

This is the same way that Prime works except that a person may read a lot more books, making each cut of the "pie" different.  Of course Amazon has added money to the fund so there's more to go around.

Some authors are pulling out of the program while others are celebrating.  I'm going to wait and see.  Prime has been good to me because I make a bit more on a "borrow" than on a sale.  If Unlimited works the same way, then it could accelerate things for me.  Here's my thoughts on this:

  • There's only so many books for the Unlimited subscribers to choose from.  If a lot of subscribers keep reading mainly from the Unlimited library, this could increase sales for those select books.
  • There could be more people looking at your book when browsing Unlimited, increasing awareness
  • For books under $2.99, borrows are more profitable, so more borrowing = larger royalty deposits
I've been watching my stats.  Surprisingly, my book has been slipping in rank of knitting books for kindle.  However the borrowed units have increased.  There's also been less returned books.  I expect that the sales and stats of Unlimited books will fluctuate in the next few months as subscribers try out this option.  

As for me, I'm trying out Unlimited too.  There's a surprising amount of books available that could keep me busy reading for a few months.  From a reader's perspective, I hope Amazon finds a way to have more or all books available for this program.  If not, eventually I'll run out of books I want to read and unsubscribe.  Time to wait and see, and put down that pie chart.

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