Your take on Amazon's Kindle Unlimited

24 replies
Amazon is rolling out Kindle Unlimited today . . . all the kindle books you can read plus audio books for $9.99/month. My understanding is that Amazon is not applying the program to all books, just those marked as being available under the Unlimited program.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this program . . . "NetFlix for books" . . . as some have labeled it.

Kindle authors . . . how is this going to affect you?

Kindle readers/users . . . do you plan to join the program? Do you see benefit in subscribing?

Please join the conversation if you sell on or are a fan of Kindle.

Steve
#amazon #kindle #unlimited
  • Profile picture of the author fahadabrarkhan
    Scrib,d. Also has a unlimited books program. In my opinion this is a bad news for bookshops like Barnes and noble and borders. People will no longer buy books from bookshops when they can read 600 000 books for just $9 bucks a month. This is also a bad news for book publishers since people will no longer pay $20 bucks to buy a book.

    This is also a bad news for click bank vendors and affiliates because people will not want to pay so much money for a click bank eBook when they can get same information by paying only $9 a month. In my opinion it is a bad news for information publishers because consumers will start thinking knowledge is dirt cheap and can be purchased by paying $9 a month.

    People will lose the motivation to write good books because of this unlimited model. The only winner is readers who can read unlimited ebooks and big companies like amazon and Scrib,d who will make millions of dollars from the subscriptions. Many people who used to work in bookstores will lose their jobs and businesses this is a sad news in my opinion
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      Originally Posted by fahadabrarkhan View Post

      Scrib,d. Also has a unlimited books program. In my opinion this is a bad news for bookshops like Barnes and noble and borders. People will no longer buy books from bookshops when they can read 600 000 books for just $9 bucks a month. This is also a bad news for book publishers since people will no longer pay $20 bucks to buy a book.

      This is also a bad news for click bank vendors and affiliates because people will not want to pay so much money for a click bank eBook when they can get same information by paying only $9 a month. In my opinion it is a bad news for information publishers because consumers will start thinking knowledge is dirt cheap and can be purchased by paying $9 a month.

      People will lose the motivation to write good books because of this unlimited model. The only winner is readers who can read unlimited ebooks and big companies like amazon and Scrib,d who will make millions of dollars from the subscriptions. Many people who used to work in bookstores will lose their jobs and businesses this is a sad news in my opinion
      It'll have some impact on those companies. But there is a certain segment of the market that'll never read an ebook. Some people just like holding the book in their hands and turning the pages.

      The success of the program will depend on the selection of titles. I dropped Netflix years ago because I didn't like the selection they offered. I'm sure it's better now, but I've never been back to check it out.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        I can see it being very popular with readers, Steve? With authors, maybe not so much???
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  • Profile picture of the author Lucian Lada
    I do read Kindle books, so I see the benefit of paying $10 a month and downloading as many books as I wish. I'm curious what will happen with the downloaded books once the subscription is canceled. Will they get deleted? If not, then I see a lot of people abusing the system. But if they do get deleted, some honest people might not like that.

    Update: It seems it's only available for US customers.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eugen Prodan
      Apparently, for authors to actually receive any royalties, people need to read more than 10% of your book. Only in that case an author earns royalties. And the amount you earn as an author is "variable". Thus, not specified.

      https://kdp.amazon.com/select

      Interesting, very interesting.
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  • I thought about this today when I found out. I figured at the time that it will seriously cut into profits for authors, but if it's up to the writer to opt in, then maybe it's not so bad. But over all I think it could have a negative impact anyway, because it could serve to cheapen the industry more.Why buy a book when you can read as much as you want for 10 dollars a month? As far as being an occasional reader myself though, I admit the program may appeal to me if I find enough titles I want to read.
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  • Profile picture of the author miklanderson2
    What worries me is the idea of each book that's downloaded and read 10% getting a portion of the KDP select global fund. We currently get around $2 give or take per KDP Select download. Add in millions of downloads and reads from Kindle Unlimited and we're looking at a lot less money per download.

    What remains to be seen is whether the volume of books being downloaded and read will make up for the hit authors are going to take to the amount they get for each book...or whether Amazon is going to add more to the Kindle Select funding to make up some of the difference. I suspect those who have good books that people want to read will do just fine because they're more likely to hit the 10% read mark and those who are filling the marketplace with garbage will take a hit, but that's just wild speculation at this point.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I'll have to check out how many books I am interested in reading are NOT in the program. If there's a pattern of them not being included, I wouldn't see the benefit in joining. I'm not going to read a book just because it's covered by the program.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      This is all part of a predictable trend in which the book publishing industry has been closely mirroring the music industry. The switch from a largely physically-based model to a digitally-delivered, subscription-based one has resulted in many casualties in the music business, but also opened the doors for a great many independent artists.

      Authors can learn from what has been happening in the music business and position themselves to profit from the forthcoming changes to publishing. Here are three models likely to benefit from these changes:

      1) The publisher. Rather than focus simply on your own writing, expand your portfolio with a range of other titles. Start by acquiring or commissioning books that complement your existing catalog to help establish your particular style or brand, then think about branching out into other areas. The idea is to build a substantial library of titles of which you control the copyright.

      In the music business, owners of catalog (copyright holders) continue to profit regardless of the delivery method.

      2) The specialist. In spite of the brave new digital world, the market for physical and/or special interest products remains active. In music, there's still a small but thriving market for vinyl records - which command a premium price. The trick is to know your market, but if you're in a specialty field with a defined and dedicated customer base, consider repurposing your content into courses or text books. There are several services that allow you to publish and distribute physical books at very cost-effective rates.

      The market might be smaller, but hard-copy books and specialty publications are likely to hold their value in the turbulent times ahead.

      3) The star. Very few individual artists in today's music business make much money from sales or downloads of their music; the big profits tend to come from live appearances and merchandise. They view downloads as a means to build a rabid following by word of mouth and social sharing.

      As an author, consider using your digital work as an introduction - the entry-point to brand: "You". Give away your best titles in order to create a following. Get these followers onto your own site where you have more control. Create special, fan-only products - limited editions that foster demand. Produce one-off stories. If you operate in a particular genre, create genre-specific, branded merchandise.

      Employ the subscription (or even free) model as your gateway.


      These are just a few ideas to consider. Whatever your current business, the likelihood is that your products themselves will not continue to command the same prices they've enjoyed to date. The general trend is toward free or, at best, subscription-based models. It's a more democratic commercial reality in which almost anyone can be an author or publisher.

      Whether that fact excites or scares you will depend on how you view opportunity.


      Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author N4PGW
    Write a book, link to your squeeze page, upload as an unlimited edition, and let the traffic begin....
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    • Profile picture of the author cborgrx
      For us newbie list builders, I see it as a plus. Just putting the finishing touches on my first Kindle book. It was much easier than I had imagined. I hope to pop one out every month, so I agree let the signups begin.
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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        I checked, and of the last 10 books I purchased, not one is in the program.

        According to the information I received from Amazon, only ebooks that are exclusive to Kindle are listed. Perhaps that's a temporary policy. However, for now it means that nearly all books from major publishers will NOT be included in the program.

        I admit that I am a reading snob and do not wish to spend my reading time on second-rate books. Therefore I purchase very few Kindle-only books and would not find any value in this Unlimited program.

        Who is it right for then? People who are not discriminating readers and who are just as happy with stuff by unknown authors as with books they would find in most bookstores or libraries.

        I apologize if anyone is offended by these comments, but as a consumer this is how I feel, and I know there are hundreds of thousands of people like me.

        Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author moneymagneto
    I think I posted up something similar at 2:07 LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author ContentZen
    I'm currently only a subscriber, not a content provider through Amazon. As a homeschooling mama, I'm pretty excited about the selection that's available in the children's books, as well as the nonfiction material.

    The self-help, psychology, and other topics that I'm personally interested in leave quite a bit to be desired, but hopefully quality will pick up over time. Honestly, from what I'm seeing, it looks a lot like the same rehashed information over and over again, which doesn't help anyone. On the other hand, it leaves quite a bit of room available for higher quality content.
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie123
    The selection is limited for the 9.99. I checked it against my Kindle wish list and none of the books were on it. I am certain it can help some people. My opinion is that the selection is mediocre. My two cents!
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      I can see it benefiting some publishers/authors and hurting or not affecting others.

      If you're one of those people who think 10 pages or 1,500 words is long for a book, this may be just what you're looking for. Titles you might only be able to sell for $0.99 get borrowed in quantity and generate (at this point in time) about $2 per borrow.

      I also think that as the program develops it will benefit some genres more than others. If your genre has readers that go through a book a day or more (like the Harlequin romance set, some western series and some sci-fi series), Unlimited might be your ticket to the promised land.

      As for the selection, I think that will follow along the Netflix/Hulu model as more authors and publishers figure out how to profit from the program.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Core
    Sounds easy to abuse and the background behind it remains unknown
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  • Profile picture of the author flyingdutch
    Here is part of a reply that I posted on the KDP forum:

    Although it is a bit early to draw conclusions, I have done some analysis on the stats I have and here are my 2 cts:

    The first question is : Which customers are going for KU? Either they are new customers that were shopping elsewhere, but they are now informed that you can buy 'unlimited' books on Amazon for $10. I don't think the offer is that world-shocking, so I think that these KU customers will mainly be existing customers.

    If assumption 1 appears to be correct, then the next question is: What were these KU customers before KU was announced. That leaves 2 possibilities:

    1.They were KOLL customers that are turning into KU customers.
    2.They were paying customers that turn into KU customers.

    What kind of effect will each of the these options have for us, authors?
    1.They were KOLL customers that are turning into KU customers

    In first instance, I will assume that the KU/KOLL payment will remain around $2.1 as it has been in the past . I'll come back to this later).
    In this case, a KU/KOLL payment corresponds roughly with the 70% royalty that you get on a book that is priced at $2.99. Is that coincidence that these two amounts (KU/KOLL payout and 70% royalty) have a break even point at 2.99? I don't think so. It's just another way for Amazon to push authors to that price point.
    So if your books are priced above $2.99, you were already losing out on every KOLL. If your books were priced at 2.99, it didn't really matter anyway if it was a KOLL or a sale and the introduction wll not change anything for you. If your books were priced under $2.99 you are making more on a KU/KOLL than on a sale. This is especially true for the .99 cts books that only have a 35% royalty rate. But in all cases, if KOLL customers will turn into KU customers, nothing will change for use authors as compared with the situation before KU.

    2.They were paying customers that turn into KU customers.

    In this case, it is clear that the 'under 2.99' books will earn more, the 2.99 books will remain the same, the $2.99+ books will lose .

    How much? Amazon has shelved out an additional 800k. If we assume that the KU/KOLL royalty will remain at about 2$ this corresponds with 400k sales. Which according to my numbers is about 1% of monthly sales.

    This would mean that the average increase/decrease in revenues will only be impacted very slightly for the 2.99- and the 2.99+ books. For books that are at 2.99 , nothing will change , regardless of where the KU customers come from. For the others, the gain/loss would be somewhere between +/- 10% compared to the pre-KU period (all other things being equal).

    Is it reasonable to suppose that the KU/KOLL will remain at around $2? I think it will, for the following reasons.

    1. If this figure would go WAY down, authors might be tempted to lower their prices. And that's not what Amazon wants. At least for the moment, everything seems to point that Amazon wants books priced at 2.99

    2. Authors might be leaving the platform all together. This would be pretty disastrous because we, the authors, are providing the contents for the platform. In that sense, Amazon is comparable to FB. The value of FB is determined by the data that users provide. No users->no data->no value. And it's the same for ebooks on Amazon.

    Personally my KOLL/sales rate is around 8%. But I have seen figures here going as high as 25%. Over the last 2 days I had more KU/KOLL than on average before. And it is obvious that KU will increase KU/KOLL rates for everyone, that will be taken out of your sales.

    I'm sure that Azon is closely observing the stats and particularly the KU/KOLL commission. And if necessary will put in more if necessary to keep this around the $2.

    Update next month when we know more.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    Too early to tell at this point. However, I will say this, I haven't noticed any decrease in any of my Kindle sales; it's still been pretty steady.

    I'm going to wait and see, but no matter what happens, I will adapt. In the interim, I'm going to focus on writing my next series.

    RoD
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  • Profile picture of the author Jarrod
    $9.99/month to read books isn't that great of a deal for a lot of people, seeing as how most people don't even read 1 book per month. To expect this service to radically change the frequency/behavior that the majority of the market consumes books seems a little pre-mature and ignorant of the fact that people are reading less.

    Furthermore, as a writer trying to make a living in a world that wants to read less, any model that increases consumption is a model that I would vote for.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kelley
      It looks like a disadvantage to authors for most niches. Which readers are going to go for KU?
      Answer: only those who already spend more than $10 a month on Kindle. But there is a limit to how many books those folks would be ordering anyway except for those addicted to Romance novels.

      What might happen is that the KU customers would order lots of books and would read just a few pages until they hit one that strikes their fancy.

      Based on my own $7 book, it would take a 250% increase in sales of my book just to break even. Don't see KU making that happen.

      But a 99 cent book could be diffeent because Kindle would pay $2 for the book. But maybe those aren't the rules. Maybe Kindle only pays $2 during the free period?

      But the solution is simple for us authors. Don't enroll in the KDP program for the higher priced books. KDP hasn't offered much in the way of advantages so far. It has probably cannibalized sales that would have been made anyway.

      Meanwhile KDP requires exclusivity which is a high price to pay for next to nothing being offered in return.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    I already joined KU and my sales are way down, reviews are way up. That would be the one star reviews. Book blasters are busy attacking me. They use cut and paste to try to crush my sales with comments that are very generic. Yeah as in - diz book SUX!!!

    Funny, I should have seen it coming... a mile away even.

    KU is for me a FRIGHT mare. Think of what happens when people no longer have to pay. They start downloading like crazy. Also, they do not read any or review. Well, except for competitors who can now download all my books with our paying one penny.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Hooper
    It's a great opportunity for authors...at least right now. Everybody I've seen get involved with similar Amazon programs, like Matchbook and the similar music service has benefitted.

    3 Ways Authors Can Use Amazon MatchBook to Sell More Books | Big. Bold. Impact. might give you some ideas...
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  • Profile picture of the author WilliamVillagran
    I think it's great because if your a big kindle reader it will let you read lots of books without having to pay a lot of money for them. I plan on getting the program A.S.A.P
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