Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Kindle Lending Program: Good for Indie Authors?

I got a very interesting email this morning from Kindle Direct Publishing, letting me know about a new opportunity for indie authors: Kindle Select.

Basically, they have a new program that indie authors can enroll in that will allow people with Amazon Prime memberships to "borrow" their books through the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

The kicker is that for every person who borrows the book, the author gets a share of a profit pool..

From the FAQ:

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How is my share of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library fund calculated?


Your share of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library Fund is calculated based on a share of the total number of qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles. For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000 and the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 100,000 in December and if your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 1.5% (1,500/100,000 = 1.5%), or $7,500 in December.

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While I seriously doubt most of us will be making $7500 a month from this, it's still very intriguing.

Kindle Direct Publishing even went so far as to sweeten the deal by allowing authors enrolled in this program to make their book free as a promotion for 5 days during enrollment.

Now here's the rub. Nothing is perfect, right guys? ;)

Your book must be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days to participate in this program.

This means if your book is selling in any other store (Sony, iTunes, Kobo, Diesel, Barnes and Noble, etc,) you must take it down from those sites in order to be a part of this new Lending Library.

This article has a very good summary of what the program entails:
http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/pressed/2011/12/08/amazon-provides-boost-for-independent-authors

Now, I'm hesitant about this because I'm selling well at the other stores. I've heard other indie authors talking this morning about pulling all of their titles from Amazon's competition, and couldn't help but ask "What happens if Amazon gets a monopoly on indie bookselling?" Will they still treat authors as well as they are now?

What happens to our 70% royalty rate once they're the only show in town?

For now, I'm going to sit back and see what happens with the folks who are putting most or all of their books into this program. There could be amazing potential for profit, but there is also a high risk when you rely on one source for all of your income.

What do you guys think?  Should indies jump on it, or hold out to see what happens next?

5 comments:

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Although I've sold more books on Amazon than I have at B&N or Smashwords, I feel it's important to keep my novella on those two sites. I'm not going to join, at least not now.

There's more discussion about this at Writer Beware: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2011/12/fine-print-of-amazons-new-kdp-select.html

lisanowak said...

I have a huge moral issue with this. I'm not going to help Amazon become a monopoly. Some things are more important than money.

I also totally agree with you that if Amazon does become a monopoly, they're not going to continue to offer us the 70%. People need to think about the long term implications, and also the good of the system as a whole, not just their immediate gratification.

McKenzie McCann said...

Exclusivity for 90 days isn't so bad. That is, if you publish with them first and then release it to everyone else later. Even if you don't make much money, word of mouth is probably worth it.

...Probably.

Steph said...

I struggled with this last night as well. Ultimately, I decided to leave it how it is- available on multiple sites. While my sales aren't astronomical, I want my novel available to whomever wants to read it- not just those that use Amazon... We'll see if that was the 'right' decision... :)

Rebecca Knight said...

It will be super interesting to see what happens :). Thanks for all your comments!