In a recent statement Amazon disclosed that there are now more than 75,000 books in the Kindle Lending Library. Customers, who must possess both a Kindle device and Amazon Prime membership to borrow a book, borrowed books 295,000 times in December.
Authors earned $1.70 per borrow from a $500,000 fund. The top 10 authors earned an average of $7,000 each in royalties.
Most promising was the sales boost many authors received as a consequence of adding their books to KDP Select. The top 10 authors in the program saw a 30% increase in royalties received from sales of their books over the period. Including their earnings from the loan fund, their earnings from Amazon were up 449% on average from November – but again: only the top 10 authors.
KDP Select offers some obvious benefits, such as increased exposure, but also has some significant drawbacks. The exclusivity clause prevents many would-be lenders from selling their books through other vendors with self-publishing programs, such as Barnes & Noble or Apple.
KDP Select is a lending program that encourages self-published authors and publishers to make their work available exclusively in the Kindle Store for 90-day periods. It also makes their works freely available to borrow by Kindle users for at least five of those 90 days. Those who agree to both terms are eligible to take part in a $6 million annual royalty fund, which pays dividends based on each author’s share of total borrows during that month.
A happy independent author writes:
My political thriller RUNNING, centering on two women vying for the presidency, went from sales of about 2 books per month since I first published on the 4th of July to an initial KDP Select free day — 12/23/11 — when 8,500 copies were downloaded. I made more than $5,000 in seven days of sales at the end of December, with prices ranging from $7.99 to $2.99. With 508 “borrows” that month, I will receive an additional bonus of nearly $900 from the loan program. The KDP Select program helped my novel break out and put me on the best seller list at #1 in Kindle political fiction on the free days and #2 on the paid days. I would definitely recommend it to indie writers who want to jumpstart their careers.
author of RUNNING (now an indie best seller)