From Digital Book World:
On Friday, Amazon rolled out it’s Kindle Unlimited feature, where for a fixed fee of $9.99 a month readers can read as many books as they want from a certain subset of the ebooks sold by Amazon. It also includes a limited number of audio books from Audible.com. Here is how the numbers break down:
– 2,769,500+ ebooks in Amazon
– 645,790 books in Kindle Unlimited (about 23%)
– 2,157 audio books (about 0.3% of the Kindle Unlimited Books
– 2,773 books in KU are free (even if the reader isn’t subscribed to Kindle Unlimited)
How a title gets into Kindle Unlimited
Before I discuss the two-tier system. Let me explain how an author’s book gets into Kindle Unlimited.
– Kindle Direct Publishing titles enrolled in Select: this is by far the largest group of ebooks in Kindle Unlimited and is mainly self-published titles, although I suspect there are a fair number of small-presses that use KDP to list their books with Amazon. For those that don’t know, Select titles have added features such as the ability to be sold for free for five days out of 90, ability to do time-bound sales, can be borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and now they are available to those who are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. While that’s a lot of advantages, it comes with a big down-side. You must be EXCLUSIVE to Amazon. You can’t sell those titles anywhere else. Not your own site, not Barnes and Noble or the iBooks store.
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How a publisher/author is compensated
– For books enrolled in KDP & Select: Amazon has a pool of funds which is established at the start of each month. This is the same fund that has been used for “borrows” for people who are enrolled in Prime (they get 1 borrow a month). The fund does not take into account the size of the book or it’s price. Instead it takes the total amount of the pool divided by the number of borrows to calculate a unit price. This unit price is then multiplied by the number of times an author’s books are borrowed. Historically, the per unit price has been about $2 (sometimes a bit more, other times a bit less). The “downloads” from KU will be treated like a “borrow” once the reader gets past the first 10% of the book.
– For publishers/authors who opt-in to KU: they are paid the same price that they would receive if the reader had bought the book outright. Again, this amount is only credited once the reader has passed the 10% mark.
– For titles added without consent: Publishers are paid as if a regular sale were made without any minimum reading requirement.
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Historically, Amazon has been good about treating self-published authors and traditionally published authors equally. There are some exceptions (for instance traditionally published titles can be pre-ordered, and most self-published authors cannot get this feature. Again there have been exceptions made for best-selling self-published authors), but for the most part both self- and traditionally published authors have enjoyed equal treatment. They share similar exposure on best-seller lists and top-rated lists, and Amazon’s “cut” from sales have been the same for both groups (30% under the agency model). In fact, when the agency model went into affect, Amazon raised self-publisher’s royalty from 35% to 70% to match what traditional publishers were getting. But now with the roll-out of Kindle Unlimited, we see two very different treatments:
Self-published authors MUST be exclusive to Amazon (except for a handful of best-selling authors) and can’t sell their books on other sites. Traditionally published books have no such exclusivity requirement and can be sold wherever the publisher wishes.
Self-published authors are paid from a pool set by Amazon each month. They have no idea how much they will be paid per book. Traditionally published books get paid exactly as they would if a sale were made. They know exactly what the unit price will be for each book and are not relying on the Amazon’s whim as far as what their unit price will be.
Link to the rest at Digital Book World