Amazon has just announced a change in payment model for their popular Kindle Unlimited service.
Here is what they said in the announcement:
“…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.”
At first glance I was leery, but as I read further, my optimism grew. It appears that Amazon will begin rewarding authors who produce longer works, of higher quality (or entertainment value) and evening the once collective like distribution of KU funds. This may come as a disappointing blow to writers of shorter works and essays. But to the novelist, this seems to repair a disparity in the policy which granted the short story the same monetary reward as an epic novel…worse, in fact, since the old policy only required 10% to be read before it was counted toward payment. A thirty page short story would require only 3 pages to have been read to receive the same payment as reading 30 pages of a 300 page novel. This old policy made the short story 10 times more valuable than the work of a 300 page novel. I’m not one to begrudge a benefit to another, but the policy has led to an explosion of short stories and novellas, each taking a tiny slice of the pie away from the collective works represented in Kindle Unlimited.
This new policy fixes that by calculating pages and full percentage read, not only balancing the scales on AMOUNT of content, but also on QUALITY of content. Authors whose work is read all the way through will be paid a higher award than those whose work is put down.
In the words of The Kindle Direct Publishing Team:
“Here are a few examples illustrating how the fund will be paid out. For simplicity, assume the fund is $10M and that 100,000,000 total pages were read in the month:
- The author of a 100 page book which was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
- The author of a 200 page book which was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million multiplied by 20,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
- The author of a 200 page book which was borrowed 100 times but only read half way through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
We will similarly change the way we pay KDP Select All-Star bonuses which will be awarded to authors and titles based on total KU and KOLL pages read.”
While I’m understanding of the disappointment some short story authors might feel about the change, I have to say this new policy goes a long way to promote the values that Amazon espouses in regard to encouraging quality written works:
“Our goal, as always, is to build a service that rewards authors for their valuable work, attracts more readers and encourages them to read more and more often.”
As with any new sweeping policy change, there are bound to be those who feel cheated… if I had spent the past year writing individual short stories to capitalize on the old model, I know I would. And there is equally the potential of unforseen repercussions to such a dramatic change in policy–I will be watching the bottom line on my KU novels to see if there are any. But on the surface, and judging my Amazon’s track record on improving rather than harming authors and readers, I feel the new Amazon policy is a stellar move toward promoting quality writing and literary entertainment. Bravo, Amazon.