Amazon has been on my mind a great deal lately, not the least of which because I’ve got a Countdown deal going on, right this second:
on Book 1.
I have to say, Amazon’s timing for the roll out of Kindle Unlimited could not have been more obnoxious for me personally. Right the VERY DAY the deal began, they went and did this. Because you know it’s all about me 😉
Okay, enough about my personal problems with Amazon. What will Kindle Unlimited mean for authors, publishers and readers?
Well, let me explain what Kindle Unlimited is, and what it isn’t. “Unlimited” is not exactly true. For $9.99 per month (for US customers only at the present time), you can get what is being touted as “Netflix for books.” You can borrow books to read on your Kindle (or any other device, unlike Prime, which is only limited to a Kindle device), and you can also do unlimited audiobooks. At Amazon, they are bragging that there are over 650,000 titles to choose from, including the Hunger Games books, all the Harry Potter books, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Along with all those indie authors who have books enrolled in a program called KDP Select.
Some of you may be familiar with KDP Select. An indie author can publish on Amazon without participating, but if they agree to have the book remain exclusively published on Amazon, that book can be enrolled in Select, which gives additional benefits. Amazon Prime members have been able to borrow these books for a while now, but they had been severely limited by the one-book-per-month restriction, as well as the necessity to own an actual Kindle device instead of being able to merely use the Kindle app.
Kindle Unlimited, for $9.99, would change all that. You don’t have to be enrolled in Amazon Prime and you don’t need to own a Kindle device. So, naturally, the good authors at the Kindle Boards forum went absolutely crazy this weekend because of this sudden “game changer.”
I’ve been mulling it over in my mind all weekend (along with checking my Amazon sales constantly, to see what kind of progress my sale is making). People think of Netflix when they think of unlimited subscriptions. But it is an error to compare this move of Amazon’s to Netflix. I think it’s a mistake is to assume that many people are such voracious readers that they will hop on board and pay the ten dollars a month to borrow loads of books…that they will NEVER get around to reading! This is different from staring down a long Netflix queue. Just like freebie hoarders, these people will pay for the buffet and then stuff themselves on the salad bar before getting to the hot table. The only time I can see a casual reader paying this kind of subscription is if there were lots of those really expensive new release James Patterson or Nora Roberts e-books available on Kindle Unlimited. Yeah, that’s not happening anytime soon. I suppose in this way, it is like Netflix; Kindle Unlimited has its limits.
This move is probably in response to services that already exist, like Scribd and Oyster. But it could also be a move to try and keep some of the indie authors in Select who are thinking of publishing elsewhere (like me). Some authors have their titles borrowed, and they do make something of a royalty when they are. This can entice some authors to keep their books exclusively on Amazon so that they can take advantage of this benefit, which will then enable Amazon to brag that they have exclusive content not available anywhere else.
Okay Amazon, if you want exclusive content, then I can provide!
I am announcing my intention to start a novella series that will be exclusive to Amazon (enrolled in KDP Select) which will be set in the universe of The Inventor’s Son.
I’ll probably be taking secondary characters and making books about them OR I will do a prequel, serialized, specially written with the Kindle Unlimited reader in mind.
But one thing I won’t do is keep The Inventor’s Son series exclusively in Amazon. I believe that there is a market for the book at other sites like B&N, Kobo, and Apple Store. People are also starting to get on board with Google Play, and I feel that this venue has the potential to be quite competitive with Amazon. Especially since a) people already have their credit card info stored on Google Play if they own an Android phone or tablet and b) the Google Play books app is already on the Android device as well. I’ve shopped Google Play for books, and they often undercut Amazon on price.
These are interesting times to be a writer, indeed, and while some people may think that it is a curse to be living in interesting times, I believe it is better to look for potential upside to changes.