Thursday, 2 July 2015

Amazon makes KU payouts fairer; some writers miffed

Yesterday Amazon's Kindle Unlimited lending library started paying authors a different way.

Instead of payment per book once the reader had reached the 10% mark, authors are paid for each page that is read.  You can read about it here. Books' pages are worked out by a uniform system, the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC v1.0). Clever old Amazon, no doubt anticipating a flood of aggrieved emails, has made these smaller than a normal page; my novel Replica is 287 pages long, but 452 KENPs.

This system rewards writers who write full-length novels that grip readers. Shorter works, and books that readers don't finish, will lose out. This is fairer, right?

You'd never think so from the wails and moans rising from parts of the press and some authors. You'd never think putting your books in KU was optional.

Erotica shorts authors knew it was going to be bad. I just don’t think most of them thought it was going to be quite *this* bad. Because it looks as if authors will be making about $0.0057 per page. That’s slightly less than half a penny a page, folks.
Selena Kitt

(I think erotica tends to be on the short side.)

From The Guardian:

Casey Lucas, a literary editor who works with self-publishing authors, says she has lost six clients already. They have decided to stop writing after “estimating a 60–80% reduction in royalties”. A lot of self-published romance authors are disabled, stay-at-home mums, or even a few returned veterans who work in the field because a regular job just isn’t something they can handle,” she says. “People are shedding a lot of tears over this.”

Oh no! Wicked Amazon is ripping off the disabled and disadvantaged! Writers are being forced to stop writing!

Amazon's KU fund for July will be at least $11 million. If the new system encourages some writers to leave KU, there will be more for the rest of us. Always supposing that readers actually read our books after borrowing them, that is.


  1. Thanks for bringing some common sense to this! I've even seen blog posts stating that Amazon are only going to pay for pages read for a book BOUGHT by a reader. Oh, god, have I seen the future? Are we all doomed?
    How do you find out or calculate the number of KENPs? No More Mulberries is 262 pages so I guess the KENP will about 500?

    1. Mary, if you go to your Bookshelf, by each book you will see Promote and Advertise. Click on this, then under Earn Royalties from the KDP Select Global Fund, right at the bottom in small print, it will say your KENPs.

      We may all be doomed, but not because of Amazon :o)

    2. Got it, thanks. Oddly, my KENP is more than yours but No More Mulberries has fewer pages than Replica!

  2. You know, you're right - the fewer writers and e-books in any single market, the better off the rest of us will be.

    But I still have mixed feelings about this double-whammy. The authors and their readers are predominately female. This is big hit to take...supple and two markets, in the same week.

    Yet -- look how far we've come since Authonomy. I never thought we'd get this far. I never imagined the market would have such incredible ups and downs.

    It boggles the mind.

  3. I don't know about a double whammy, Kat, male or female - I'm hoping to make more money, as I've got full length novels in KU and believe they are good reads :o)

    1. By double-whammy, I meant the Scribd purge of 90% of their romance catalog.

      My romances are still on Scribd...that might change tomorrow. But my best market is Apple's iBooks. I only did well on Kindle Select when it first came out.

    2. I do better on Select than I did on other non-Amazon platforms - but it has dipped recently, for some reason. I don't know much about Scribd - glad you've survived the purge so far.