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All-You-Can-Read Kindle E-book Subscriptions

18 Jul

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Kindle-Unlimited

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Just hours after I wrote about an upcoming rental service it is now officially announced by Amazon…
Amazon is offering an e-book rental service: “Kindle Unlimited”. The “all-you-can-read” book service will cost $9.99 per month. Amazon’s big advantage here: they are offering nearly 8,000 titles in Audio-book format and over 600,000 book titles. The current Kindle Owner’s Lending Library has a one-book-per-month cap, so this could be an option for Prime users who want more access.

Lots of Competition Already 
Amazon certainly enters a crowded field and will have to compete with Scribd and Oyster. Scribd, which launched a book subscription service last October, charges $8.99 for access to best-sellers, classic books and new releases from bigger trade publishers. They have 80 million users and offer works from 900 publishers. They allow users to contribute works.
Oyster boasts access for $9.95 to more than 500,000 books, but the majority of those titles come from self-publishing service companies, such as Smashwords.

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How Much will Authors Receive?
Amazon’s official announcement for writers/publishers:  “KDP authors and publishers who enroll their books with U.S. rights in KDP Select are automatically enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Inclusion in Kindle Unlimited can help drive discovery of your book, and when your book is accessed and read past 10% you will earn a share of the KDP Select global fund. For the month of July we have added $800,000 to the KDP Select global fund bringing the total to $2 million.

KDP Select is an optional program that makes your book exclusive to Kindle and eligible for the following benefits:

  • Reach more readers – With each 90-day enrollment period, your book will appear in Kindle Unlimited in the U.S. and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) in the U.S, U.K., Germany, France, and Japan which can help readers discover your book.
  • Earn more money – When your book is selected and read past 10% from Kindle Unlimited or borrowed from KOLL, you’ll earn your share of the monthly KDP Select Global Fund. You can also earn a 70% royalty for sales to customers in Japan, Brazil, India, and Mexico.
  • Maximize your sales potential – Choose from two promotional tools including: Kindle Countdown Deals, time-bound promotional discounts for your book, available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, while earning royalties; or Free Book Promotion, where readers can get your book free for a limited time.

Gigaom.com explains:  “If you’re a self-published author participating in KDP Select, however, it looks as if your book can be included without your explicit permission simply under the terms and conditions you already agreed to: According to one poster on the Kindle Boards, “Books in Select will automatically be enrolled. Like the KOLL you won’t be able to opt-out if you’re in Select.  You will be payed [sic] if you someone reads 10% or more of your book. The payment will come out of the same KOLL fund, just as if it was a borrow.” That “same KOLL fund” is a set pool of money from which self-published authors are paid each time their book is borrowed.”

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Author-publishers have an advantage: Amazon doesn’t have any books from the so-called “Big Five” publishers: Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Hatchette. Some of these big houses have agreements with Oyster, as well as Scribd, and are likely not cooperating with Amazon’s new service.  Read also Joe Wikerts‘ commenting blog post on this.
Amazon seems to become the 21st century’s digital library.  “Kindle Unlimited” could completely change the market.  Why purchase individual e-Books or bulky physical copies when you can read hundreds of thousands of books for just $9.99?

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Also Available: “Kindle FreeTime Unlimited” for Children
Amazon already offers a and-curated subscription of kid-safe apps, books and videos. They explain on their website:
“Kindle ‘FreeTime Unlimited’ is the first-ever all-in-one subscription that brings together all the types of content that kids and parents love – books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows. With unlimited access to thousands of hand-picked titles for kids ages 3-8, parents don’t have to spend time (and money) guessing what their kids will enjoy, and kids can explore a world of age-appropriate content on their own – NO ads, NO in-app purchases.”
“Kindle FreeTime Unlimited gives kids the freedom to choose from thousands of the most popular books, games, apps, and shows for hours of fun and learning. Unlimited access starts at just $4.99 per month, with special pricing for Amazon Prime members from $2.99 per month.”

Screen Limits
“Many parents choose to limit their child’s screen time, but doing so without the proper tools is difficult. With Kindle FreeTime, parents can set daily limits, or restrict certain categories – like games and video – while leaving unlimited time for reading. In Kindle “FreeTime” mode, web browsing and purchasing content are also disabled.”

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After 5 Months of KindleUnlimited
Many authors are a bit sceptical if it is worth staying with KU.  An excerpt from an article by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader: Author Discontent Grows As Kindle Unlimited Enters Its Fifth Month
“I took the plunge and went all-in to KDPS again. Lends almost made up the difference and KU honestly revived my older lower selling series. However, I am still down overall from pre-KU levels. As soon as my KDPS terms are up, I’m back out, baby. I may keep my older series and my 99c shorter works in KDPS for the exposure and because even $1.33 is better than $0.3465, but I’m taking my longer better-selling and higher priced books out.”
So it seems that KindleUnlimited is worthwhile for lower priced books, while higher priced are better of without.
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