Recently Amazon announced a new program for it’s customers called Kindle Unlimited. This new program allows customers to pay a monthly fee of $9.99 a month and in exchange the customers get to download e-books for free. This program is only available to the United States at the moment.
This is different to Amazon’s Prime program that allowed readers to ‘borrow’ one book a month through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. In the case of Kindle Unlimited the reader gets to keep the book permanently. The one criteria is that the book has to be published exclusively on Amazon.
Authors would get paid from the same Kindle Select Program Global Fund pool but here’s the problem. The author will only get paid for their book if the customer reads at least 10% of the book. That means that if the customer downloads the book and never reads it, the author does not get paid.
This has caused a huge furore in the self-publishing arena.
There are valid arguments for, and against enrolling your books in Kindle Unlimited. Each author has to evaluate their own marketing strategy and decide whether this approach would work for them. What works for one author would not work for another.
My issue however, is with the general outrage against Amazon. Self-published authors are forgetting that they are merely house-guests at Amazon. Without Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) millions of books would never have seen the light of day, let alone get read by readers.
Amazon provided a user-friendly platform to allow aspiring authors to self-publish, at zero cost, on the biggest market place in the world. It transformed the world of reading and more importantly it transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of authors who would never get published through the traditional channels.
Loads of authors have made a fortune on Amazon as a result. They are hugely successful and sell thousands of copies of their books every month. That would not have been possible if Amazon had not led the way to helping authors self-publish to their huge customer base.
Of course Amazon make money from it. If it did not make business sense, then they would never have done it. Amazon’s primary responsibility lies with keeping it’s customers happy and maintaining a profitable business. Without happy paying customers and a sustainable profit, it would cease to exist.
Then where would all these self-published authors be?
Now you may or may not like their latest initiative, but so what? As an author it is your prerogative to evaluate the program and decide whether it fits in with your book marketing strategy or not. Self-published authors are not having their arms twisted and being forced to sign up for the Kindle Select Program by Amazon. It is a choice.
And stop crying ‘foul’. Amazon owes self-published authors nothing. They made it possible for them to get published in the first place. We should be grateful for the opportunity that they presented us with. We have to adapt to any changes they make in their business strategy, because we do not own Amazon. We are merely house guests and should be grateful that we got invited to participate in the first place.
So let me know. Do you agree with me or not, and why?
Diana Heuser specialises in e-Business and Publishing Resources for Authors. Connect with Diana Heuser on her business website, via Twitter @DianaHeuser or on Google+. Join our fabulous free Group “Secrets To Publishing A Book on Facebook”. You will find it interesting. Request to join here.