As a short story writer with a number of stories in Kindle Unlimited I was intrigued to read this from Amazon, today.
…we’re pleased to announce that beginning on July 1, the KDP Select Global Fund will be paid out based on the number of pages KU and KOLL customers read.
As with our current approach, we’ll continue to offer a global fund for each month. Under this new model, the amount an author earns will be determined by their share of total pages read rather than their share of total qualified borrows. …
In the coming days we’ll share more details about this change. In the meantime, for further information (such as how we measure pages read) you can read more here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A156OS90J7RDN
The background to this is that currently a 10,000 word short story earns the same “borrow” amount in Kindle Unlimited as does a 100,000 word novel; about $1.35. This was a nifty earner that my short stories won me, but I was waiting for Amazon to change things, and in a couple of weeks they will. The likely calculation is that I’ll lose a dollar on every borrow of a short story, or maybe a bit more. But that’s fair. 10,000 words is so not the same as 100,000. Full length novel writers should be happy…
Ahem. There is an elephant in the room. At the moment, all “borrows” are paid by Amazon when a reader reads 10% of the book. Now, payment will be per page read. So if readers just … stop … reading your book, then that’s where your payment sticks.
Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s playground. They get to observe reader and author behaviour and how to manipulate it. With this change to how borrows are paid, Amazon has done something significant. Now, for an author in Kindle Unlimited, getting our books into readers’ hands is NOT enough. We must get them to READ those books. Mountainous To Be Read piles earn us nothing in borrows.
Of course, by definition, a lending library encourages readers to read their ten (in Kindle Unlimited’s system) current borrows so that they can return them and get out another ten. But they could also return them unread. Ouch.
I’m intrigued by what this change may mean. With Kindle Unlimited, Amazon has pushed the moment they pay authors further down the line. From the traditional moment of sale, instituting Kindle Unlimited changed that to 10% of the book read, and now it’s by pages read (which can be a drawn out process because as readers we’re all so busy). Of course, no author has to put their books in Kindle Unlimited, and many (most) haven’t. But is it a straw in the wind?