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Old 07-27-2014, 08:46 AM   #1
lovecraft68
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KIndle Unlimited; A double whammy for indy authors

So Amazon just launched Kindle Unlimited. You can read as many e-books as you want for 9.99 a month. A great deal for readers, but what does it mean for indy authors?

What it means is losing money on both sides of the coin.

Like Kindle select you have to be exclusive with amazon which is a big mistake, especially these days where Amazon is a house of cards for indies as far as blocked accounts, more restrictions, limited visibility and the threat of being erased anytime someone complains in a newspaper Kindle is selling anything they don't like. So you are crazy to be exclusive with them right now.

First whammy? Payment. Like Kindle select you are not getting a 70% royalty you are getting money from some "fund" and amazon is very vague on exactly what you will be getting paid per download. What is known is that it is far less than what major publishers are getting. Why would the big six get into something like this if they are making nothing? Oh, and they do not have to be exclusive of course.

So you really have no idea what you are getting paid yet, could be less than a buck per download, who the hell knows? You won't until you get that first watered down payment

So exclusive and a joke of a compensation plan is the whammy on joining.

Now if you do not join? Okay here's the deal. Jane Doe just spent $9.99 to read as many books as she would like so when she is shopping do you think she is going to buy other books? No, she is going to look for everything that is part of her $9.99 subscription. So by not joining you are being cost sales, few will buy a book when they can get whatever for one low price.

I have already seen this effect. I have averaged x amount of sales on amazon for an extended period of time and since Unlimited launched I am down close to 50%. Coincidence? Maybe, but it would be a huge one.

Amazon has already been "rotating" Indy books visibility wise and burying them behind major published titles as well as a long list of things like removing tags, face book likes and anything else they can do to make you difficult to find. The people who will not be part of this Unlimited plan will be forced to the back of the heap and that is a big heap.

So under the guise of this great(for buyers) plan is what could be one of the final nails in the indy coffin.

Your best bet is to stay clear of it and just sell whatever you can on amazon, but start focusing a lot more on sites like Smashwords, B&N, Kobo and Apple(if your material flies there) and even small sites like Fiction4all and anywhere else you find.

Also keep it in the back of your head that Amazon is in another lawsuit that they will inevitably win-as they always do- that may allow them to start paying only 35%-50% royalties across the board(even major publishers) instead of 70% so all in all.....

Amazon is only going to be the biggest market for indy publishers if you are okay with just about giving your work away for free.

Last edited by lovecraft68 : 07-27-2014 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:55 AM   #2
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I read an article about this and if I have it right, it's not that great a deal in the sense that you can get a better deal via Amazon Prime for about the same amount of money. The article noted that Amazon was going after its own customers, at least it could be seen that way.. If I can find the article again, I'll let you know.

And I'm not saying you're wrong, just saying that this seems to be an odd thing Amazon is doing.

There are also other services, I think one is called Oyster (?) that do the same thing. So one might want to watch out for those.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennLady View Post
I read an article about this and if I have it right, it's not that great a deal in the sense that you can get a better deal via Amazon Prime for about the same amount of money. The article noted that Amazon was going after its own customers, at least it could be seen that way.. If I can find the article again, I'll let you know.

And I'm not saying you're wrong, just saying that this seems to be an odd thing Amazon is doing.

There are also other services, I think one is called Oyster (?) that do the same thing. So one might want to watch out for those.
I have heard of Oyster, Smashwords lists you on it and you get paid by download somehow. I don't know the exact details, but I get very little per transaction.

I do remember someone mentioning on a blog that it seemed as if Amazon was competing with itself in a way.

The difference with this is the exclusiveness I believe and that is what makes it a bad sell fro publishers there. That and as I said if you are not part of it odds are you are going to lose sales because people are only going to download what their subscription allows them to.

What this reminds me of is the subscriptions you can buy on stock photo sites. For $89 a month you can download 5 photos a day for 30 days. The photographers get paid a small percentage of each of those downloads compared to a full sale and not all of them want to participate(at least for larger size photos.

So when I bought the month long script and was searching for pics, if someone was not part of my script I went on to one that was. I mean that's $89 compared to $9.99, so you shelled out more to get this, but same principle.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:43 AM   #4
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I thought the new subscription sounded good until I read it wasn't for all the books. I've never been one for book subscriptions anyway. I don't see Amazon lowering its author percentages anytime soon or Konrath, Howie et al would be doing a fast reversal on their recent petition supporting Amazon.

Last edited by LadyVer : 07-27-2014 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I thought the new subscription sounded good until I read it wasn't for all the books. I've never been one for book subscriptions anyway. I don't see Amazon lowering its author percentages anytime soon or Konrath, Howie et all would be doing a fast reversal on their recent petition supporting Amazon.
Well they are trying. Hatchett (Think I am spelling that right) is the one fighting it right now. I have a feeling Amazon could care less who supports them and who does not.

There are countless petitions that have been started about them being unethical thieves and that never seems to get any media attention, I wonder why?

There is a rumor that the Goverment may be starting to use Amazon's "cloud" for some things. If that happens Amazon will be the only site in business in a few years. It will be like the movie Demolition man where the only restaurant was Taco Bell.
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:36 AM   #6
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Okay, so basically you all are telling me that I shouldn't sell any book via Amazon and try to publish it via Smashwords and other publications?
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSoulfulBard View Post
Okay, so basically you all are telling me that I shouldn't sell any book via Amazon and try to publish it via Smashwords and other publications?
No, I believe you should sell anywhere and everywhere you can. Just do not go exclusive with them or anyone else.

What I am saying is that amazon was once the biggest selling platform by far-and even then was not worth being exclusive-but now it has been fading and they are finding new ways to make it even less profitable for anyone but the big six.

So put some eggs there but put them everywhere else as well
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:58 AM   #8
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Mark Coker weighed in on this several days ago...

Is Kindle Unlimited Bad for Authors? by Mark Coker
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:13 PM   #9
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I guess you are talking dollars with your 9.99 per month That equates to about 6.50. I would need to purchase two books a month (based on average Kindle price of 3.25.) That's in addition to the ones I borrow from my local library.

Now I normally only buy on special deals at Amazon that usually brings me down to 1.50 a book so I'd need to read four Amazon books per month to make it worthwhile. Don't see the attraction.
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeYaKen View Post
I guess you are talking dollars with your 9.99 per month That equates to about 6.50. I would need to purchase two books a month (based on average Kindle price of 3.25.) That's in addition to the ones I borrow from my local library.

Now I normally only buy on special deals at Amazon that usually brings me down to 1.50 a book so I'd need to read four Amazon books per month to make it worthwhile. Don't see the attraction.
That has been the general feedback to it so far. Its too much like prime to make it stand out. But....the purpose is to cut back on what they pay authors and to get more of them to get disgusted and leave than it is to generate a ton of profit.
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:56 PM   #11
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For some people like my wife, a subscription service is attractive as she can go through a book or two a week given the chance. She's thinking about giving Oyster a go [Oyster pays indie authors once a reader has gone over 20% through the book].

Sounds like typical tactics used by giant retailers, Walmart does the same damned bullshit. In a world where people want to get everything for as little as possible and no longer appreciate how long it takes to make things by hand, it's unfortunately a tactic that will continue to do well for these mega companies.

Another site you can try is selz, they're small time but customer service seems pretty good. Turner tried putting the stolen e-books onto their site, but after selz was informed of their stolen status and given a link to the thread on Lit, selz yanked the books.
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JagFarlane View Post
For some people like my wife, a subscription service is attractive as she can go through a book or two a week given the chance. She's thinking about giving Oyster a go [Oyster pays indie authors once a reader has gone over 20% through the book].

Sounds like typical tactics used by giant retailers, Walmart does the same damned bullshit. In a world where people want to get everything for as little as possible and no longer appreciate how long it takes to make things by hand, it's unfortunately a tactic that will continue to do well for these mega companies.

Another site you can try is selz, they're small time but customer service seems pretty good. Turner tried putting the stolen e-books onto their site, but after selz was informed of their stolen status and given a link to the thread on Lit, selz yanked the books.
Thanks I will check them out

Speaking of Turner? I don't ever want to hear amazon talk about how seriously they take fraud and copyright and theft.

After having 290 books removed she still has an account with a couple of books and several print editions. They received multiple complaints with plenty of facts to back it up and she is still alive there.

More of their bullshit.
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Old Yesterday, 08:58 AM   #13
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Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more

From: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/30/amazon_says_hachette_should_lower_ebook_prices_pay_authors_more/


Amazon has laid out its reasons for wanting to drive the retail prices of ebooks downward, claiming that contrary to popular belief, the practice is actually beneficial for retailers, publishers, and authors alike.

"With an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out-of-stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market e-books cannot be resold as used books," the Amazon Books team wrote in a forum post on Tuesday. "E-books can be and should be less expensive."

But given the giant e-tailer's recent tactics, not everyone is likely to believe the motive behind this latest missive is altruistic. Over the past few months, Amazon has been locked in a bitter conflict with US publishing giant Hachette, which has refused to lower the prices it charges for ebooks sold through Amazon's online store.

In response to Hachette's refusal to budge, Jeff Bezos & Co have reduced the inventory of Hachette print books carried in Amazon's warehouses and slashed the discounts it offers to customers, resulting in higher-priced books that often take weeks to ship to customers.

Little wonder there has been a sharp drop-off in sales of Hachette titles through Amazon, which ordinarily accounts for as much as 41 per cent of all new book purchases in the US market, including both print and digital. According to research from the Codex Group, Amazon commands a 67 per cent share of the ebook market and its share of online sales of print books is 64 per cent.

In the past, Amazon has said that it has tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a new deal with Hachette "on behalf of customers," while Hachette has said that nothing Amazon has proposed so far recognizes the "appropriate value" of publishers and authors.

But in its Tuesday forum post, Amazon spelled out exactly the revenue split it has proposed to Hachette, saying that the publisher of an ebook should get 35 per cent, the author should get 35 per cent, and Amazon itself should get 30 per cent.

That breakdown, however, would be contingent upon Hachette lowering its prices. While recognizing that "a small number of specialized titles" will always retail for higher-than-normal rates, Amazon wants Hachette to price the bulk of its ebook editions at $9.99 or less.

Its rationale? According to Amazon, lower ebook prices result in dramatically higher sales, which in turn can bring in bigger revenues, even if the unit price of each ebook sold is lower.

"We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99," Amazon said, adding that this increased revenue would benefit all parties concerned.

What's more, the e-tailer's spokespeople wrote, even if Amazon takes almost a third of the revenue from each ebook sold, Hachette has no right to complain.

"Is 30% reasonable? Yes. In fact, the 30% share of total revenue is what Hachette forced us to take in 2010 when they illegally colluded with their competitors to raise e-book prices," Amazon's forum post declares, referring to an earlier ebook pricing skirmish that Hachette ultimately settled out of court. "We had no problem with the 30% we did have a big problem with the price increases."

As for that 30 per cent revenue cut that authors would receive under Amazon's plan, however, the e-tailer admitted that it was just a suggestion, and that authors would need to take it up with Hachette.

"While we believe 35% should go to the author and 35% to Hachette, the way this would actually work is that we would send 70% of the total revenue to Hachette, and they would decide how much to share with the author," Amazon said. "We believe Hachette is sharing too small a portion with the author today, but ultimately that is not our call."
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Old Yesterday, 09:51 AM   #14
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Right off the bat...

"With an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out-of-stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market e-books cannot be resold as used books," the Amazon Books team wrote in a forum post on Tuesday. "E-books can be and should be less expensive."

Too bad they included two "un-truths" in their litany.

People do return ebook, especially at Amazon, all the time, due Amazons return policy.

As for transportation costs...why do they charge me, or not pay me the amount they keep for downloading the ebook to the customer? They call it a delivery charge...isn't that the equivalent of a transportation charge?

What's more...Amazon takes 65% of the sale price on most books because they fall into the arbitrary royalty structure of 35%. Any ebook under $2.99, royalties are only paid at 35%, which means Amazon takes 65%.

Then there are some markets the force the 35% royalty on the author no matter the price, unless you are enrolled in KDP Select.

What a scam.

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Old Yesterday, 12:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handley_Page View Post

"With an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out-of-stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market e-books cannot be resold as used books," the Amazon Books team wrote in a forum post on Tuesday. "E-books can be and should be less expensive."
Tilt. The Returns policy is a major problem with Amazon.
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Old Yesterday, 07:23 PM   #16
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What amazon is not mentioning in that particular segment is they also are looking to pay authors less, especially independent authors.
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Old Today, 12:34 AM   #17
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What amazon is not mentioning in that particular segment is they also are looking to pay authors less, especially independent authors.
Well, true... of course they're looking to pay less for anything. Same with Walmart and anyone else.

Makes me think if Netflix - flat fee, all you can eat, from a wide, but selective menu.

Personally, I still buy books (okay, ebooks) and I still buy DVDs (okay, digital DVDs).
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