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Amazon Adjusts Page Size Measurement for Kindle Unlimited Royalties, Also Adds a Cap

3 February 2016

From The Digital Reader:

Ever since July 2015 Amazon has been paying authors and publishers with works in Kindle Unlimited by the page, and on 1 February 2016 Amazon adjusted how it calculated the page size.

Amazon quietly announced on the KDP support forums on Monday that it had developed a new algorithm for calculating the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count, or KENPC.

The retailer said that the new method, which has been dubbed KENPC v2.0, “makes a number of improvements to how we standardize font, line height, and spacing used to normalize the length of each book relative to one another. This change will impact the KENPC of some titles while others will remain unchanged. The average KENPC will change less than 5%, although individual books’ changes may be larger or smaller. The new KENPC approach will be applied uniformly to all KDP Select books and all versions of those books.”

. . . .

In related news, Amazon has also added a cap on the maximum number of pages an author can earn from a single reader  in a single title (3,000 Kindle Edition Normalized Pages).

Amazon says that only the very longest books will be affected, and given that authors have reported that, say, a 300 page paperback has a KENPC of around 500 to 600 and that a box set ran to around 2,000, I would bet Amazon is correct in that regard.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to Valerie for the tip.

Amazon, Ebook Borrowing/Lending

34 Comments to “Amazon Adjusts Page Size Measurement for Kindle Unlimited Royalties, Also Adds a Cap”

  1. I put 6 titles in Jan. 21st (from my SF/Rom series).

    Page gain for 2 titles of 9 and 8. One title lost 5 pages. My 2 longer titles’ KENPC remained the same.

  2. Here’s hoping that KENPC is actually fair. Right now, it creates an economic incentive to engage in poor page design.

    I still can’t fathom why they don’t simply base it on word count. There’s some jibber-jabber about children’s picture books, but that’s a tiny minority of books in KU and it doesn’t look like the current system works to get decent payouts for those anyway.

  3. I lost about 10% off my page count. 🙁 For me, 10% off is a lot of pages in one month.

    There was nothing special about the way I formatted, no bigger fonts, line-height or extra spacing.
    Talk around the web is that 10-15% reduction is pretty standard for most authors (depending on what program they used to format.)

    It’s not going to be a big deal if the rate increases overall, but if it stays at around .0046 then I’m looking at a big pay cut.

  4. Chris McMullen also wrote about this change in KENP calculation, and he has a survey on his website.

    https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/if-your-kenpc-dropped-with-v2-0-what-should-you-do/

    I currently have 5 titles in KU. The 2 novels each became 2 pages shorter under KENPC 2.0. The 2 novellas became 1 page shorter. The short story stayed the same length. No significant changes for my books.

    (I also have 13 titles more widely distributed and not in Select.)

    I’m curious about the cap. My readers tend to re-read my books. My longest novel is 846 KENPs. If a reader reads Fate’s Door a fourth time, crossing over that 3,000 page cap… what does that mean for payment?

    Is the cap on a per borrow basis or a per book basis?

    • I read an explanation that the cap was originally for reference books. So 3000KENPs per book, per user was the limit.

      I don’t think there is a time limit, but it didn’t occur to me that I would get paid again if a person reread a book.

      • I don’t think they payout for rereads. Only the first read.

        • Right. That was announced at the beginning of the program.

        • Correct. They’ve never paid for re-reads. It’s spelled out right in the KU payment terms: Amazon pays you the first time a reader reads each page of your book. Not the second, tenth or hundredth time.

          So a KU subscriber can return, re-borrow and re-read your book as often as they want. You only get paid once. There is, unfortunately, no incentive in KU to write books that readers love enough to re-read.

          It would be lovely if they did that: instead of just rewarding the “most read” KU All-Stars, how about giving special bonuses to the “most re-read” novels in KU? I’m sure they have that data at their fingertips.

          • Thanks for the details, Shelly.

            There is, unfortunately, no incentive in KU to write books that readers love enough to re-read.

            I still enjoy writing books that readers love to re-read. Fortunately I (currently) use KU as a part of my book launches, but do not rely on it for long term audience growth or for income.

  5. Seems like Amazon is turning up the water slowly and waiting to see who jumps out.

  6. After my latest 3-month experiments, about 20 books are going wide again. KU 2.0, or whatever they want to call it now, just doesn’t do it for me.

    Some authors might be making bank, but an extra $20 a month isn’t doing it for me.

    Even when I had my more popular novels in, it was only $100 extra a month.

    Those more popular books are doing quite well being wide, I might add.

    I know a lot of people will say it’s the book or the writing or the author – that I’m not pulling in the readers because my story isn’t good enough.

    I feel KU 2.0 is just too cluttered now. Take a look at your genre’s Top 100. I’m willing to bet 17/20 or so of the top books say “Kindle Unlimited” above the cover, not “Look Inside.”

    There’s a glut. It’s just the free/perma-free all over again.

    Like I said, some are profiting. I’m not, so I went wide again. Each author needs to figure out what works best for them.

    • Right now, the 6 titles I have in Select weren’t selling much, if at all, at other retailers. Scribd was my biggest market for them, but since they’re romances, the romance cull there meant all but one was removed from Scribd.

      They do sell on Amazon, and are still selling copies in spite of being in Select. I’m just gaining a little extra from readers via KENPC page reads. Readers who obviously weren’t interested in buying those titles, but apparently do want to read them.

      So for me, right now, having them in Select is a slight bonus.

      As you said, each of us needs to figure out what works best for us. 🙂

      • I have a lot of books that don’t sell on Amazon and don’t sell wide. They just don’t sell at all.

        Maybe one day. Until then, getting 19 pages read every two months isn’t really worth much to me. Sure doesn’t bump that book up in the rankings anymore. Personally, I think the pages read algorithm has skewed rankings so it’s harder to rank than it used to be, even if you are exclusive.

        I guess I figure if a book isn’t selling, might as well just go wide with it. I haven’t seen much of a bump even after running a freebie promo on some of these.

        Again, everyone has to figure out what works for them. So far it sounds like most people have quite a few books to play around with. That helps.

        • Me,too. My books weren’t selling when they were wide. I put my post apocalyptic series in KU and suddenly I started getting KENPs! What a treat. More eyes on the books.

          The first book is .99. The 2nd book is $2.99. (Third book will be out in Oct.) The KENPs are about even on both of them, but I think sales on book 2 are up.

          In comparison, the cozy mystery series I put in D2D has only sold a few since I took it out of KU.

          For an unknown writer, I think KU is positive free promotion

        • What I’m seeing is that the KU download bumps the rank. The actual page reads do not.

          So you get one bump that doesn’t necessarily coincide with when that person actually reads the book.

  7. That’s basically the case with the 6 I have in Select. They weren’t selling anywhere but Scribd and Amazon, and once culled from Scribd, well…just the usual few sales per month on Amazon for some of them.

    Yes, having several titles helps. I’ve got 22 in total, but only 6 (all in an UF series) that sees sales through most retailers. Those won’t ever be exclusive to Amazon.

    Total KENPC count for the 6 in select is only 867 pages, so I’m good with getting 1 or more complete reads of each per month versus no-to-a-few-sales. It may not add up to much, but it’s more than getting nothing. 🙂

  8. Looks like I lost about 10 KENPC pages on all my novellas. Yeah, a bit of a bummer, but I think I’ll live for now.

  9. A question to all the people with books in the KU system.

    Compare your KENPC to the number of “manuscript” pages you wrote.

    The classic manuscript page is a maximum of 250 words. It has one inch margins all around with an extra half inch on the left. It is 25 double spaced lines of courier 12. That’s 60 characters per line. Each “word” is considered to be five letter plus a space, so 10 “words per line, which makes a maximum of 250 words per page.

    There is a nice example in pdf from SFWA.

    Manuscript Preparation
    http://www.sfwa.org/2008/11/manuscript-preparation/

    Look at your manuscripts and compare them to their KENPC and see if you can compare apples to apples. Then we can get some real numbers.

    • Okay, what’s the question?

      Nobody really writes “manuscript” pages anymore, which is kind of the point of the normalized pages count. What’s a “page” when you can change font and its size on the fly?

      My books aren’t in Select right now, but when they were the “page” measurements seemed reasonable. The Prodigal Hour clocks in at approximately 80,000 words and I think was at about 500 KENPC; Meets Girl is probably 15% shorter and I think was in at low 400.

      As I understand, Amazon is using algorithms (as usual), to determine these based on customers’ reading — not book formatting. Just as Kindle automatically parses out the first minutes of a given user’s reading to determine what percentage of the book they have left to read (as well as matches it against previous reading speeds of previously read books).

      • The point about classic “manuscript” pages is to compare apples to apples.

        If everybody uses a classic manuscript page to compute their KENPC then we could know roughly what Amazon is using. By your word count they are using 160 words to 170 words per KENPC, but we don’t know how dense your prose is. Do you write short paragraphs or a single paragraph that fills page after page. It does make a difference, but because people are not writing prose “old school” we can’t compare results. We end up talking past each other. HA!

    • None of that matters, allynh. Amazon is using character count, which includes spaces and enters, and page breaks. Word count is pointless (especially since Amazon apparently can’t do a consistent page count anyway, unless you have a print version out).

      If you can find your character count (I can see this in Scrivener), divide by 1000, and you should come up more or less at your KENCPC. This isn’t counting page breaks, of course.

      • “Sheila said: divide by 1000” on the character count.

        I pulled _Great Expectations_ from Gutenberg, cleaned it up, put it in Word.

        I did a word count and have:

        Words – 185,509
        Character (no spaces) – 805,437
        Characters (with spaces) – 986,048

        I pulled the same file up in LibreOffice:

        Words – 185,526
        Characters excluding spaces – 805,437
        Characters including spaces – 986,048

        Various Kindle editions range in size from 286 to 464 pages. Yikes!

        • the page count you are seeing isn’t the KNEP. only someone who publishes a copy is going to see the KNEP

          but with people saying that the KNEP is around 2x the ‘page count’, 986 KNEP for a 464 ‘page’ book is in the ballpark of being reasonable.

  10. I had one novel drop 100 pages, or 21%, and a box set get decimated similarly, while the shorts within didn’t get hammered as hard on an individual basis. The two short pieces in a different category actually rose. Based on discussions here and elsewhere, I strongly suspect genre has something to do with it.

  11. I’m surprised that they haven’t put a cap in place saying that a borrowed book won’t earn more than the sale of the same book.

  12. I’m planning on going into Select/KU for the first time once my book finally disappears from some of the far-flung places offering it. Amazon lists its 92,000 words at 315 pages in Kindle format, while the print version is 526. I’m interested in seeing what the KENPC number will be.

    • Michael, the page count doesn’t have anything to do with KENPC. Amazon doesn’t use it to calculate the KENPC. As I said in a reply above, you can get a rough idea by taking the character count and dividing by 1000.

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