To my loyal Amazon readers, I am so sorry.
I’m leaving Kindle Unlimited (KU).
Why? Because Amazon isn’t paying me fairly any more. They aren’t paying any author in the program fairly anymore.
If you’re unfamiliar with how KU works, readers purchase a subscription to the service for $9.99 a month and get unlimited reading of any book enrolled in the program. This is great for readers, and I love that people on a budget can get my books. As a reader, this is a great deal.
On the author side, it’s not quite as exciting.
In order to be a part of KU, the author must only put their book on Amazon. They can’t publish it anywhere else (like iBooks or Barnes and Noble). This is a missed opportunity for authors that we have to accept in order to participate. This was a tradeoff that I was willing to make.
The real issue comes with how authors are paid. Amazon pays us by the page read. There is no set page rate for how authors are paid. There is a monthly pool that authors all have to split. Amazon calculates how many pages the entire KU reader base read and then splits the pot between everyone.
Traditionally, the page rate has been around half a cent a page. That’s not great, but it was workable. This month, the split came to $0.004 a page. Not 4 cents a page. Less than half a cent a page. This is the fourth month in a row that the rate has gone down, leading to a 20% decrease in pay over the past year.
How angry would you be if your boss decreased your pay by 20% while they made record sales?
For a book that is 250 pages long (which is where most of my books are) that means we earn about $1 if someone reads the entire book cover to cover. That is not anywhere near what is considered fair value.
In addition, Amazon has allowed scammers to take over their marketplace. If you go and look at the top 100 books in the store, you’ll find several with the reviews saying that this book is nothing but jibberish. However, those scammers are taking their cut of the prize pool and getting the same .4 cents per page I am.
And Amazon doesn’t even care.
It takes me 2-3 months to write a book. I take time away from my family to do this. I pour my heart into each novel, and with Amazon deciding to decrease my pay every month, it means that I either have to work faster and sacrifice quality, or make less money for my family.
Amazon is hurting authors. I’m actually really conflicted about this because I know this will hurt my KU readers, but Amazon is leaving me no other choice. I used to love being a part of KU, but Amazon has ruined it for me, and now my readers.
So, dear reader, unfortunately, I have to leave Kindle Unlimited.
I hate doing this to you. If you want me to come back, tell Amazon. Tell them that they are not providing a good customer experience. Tell them that you want authors to be paid fairly. Tell them to get a grip on their business and not let fake books take all the money from real authors.
Email Jeff Bezos himself. (email@example.com)
If you want to help me, tell a friend about my books. Tell them I’ll be on iBooks now.
Here’s a link to what’s been going on in the Kindle Unlimited program. It’s ripe for scam artists to steal the pot and Amazon is doing absolutely nothing about it.
*It will take some time for all the books to come out of the 90 exclusive period on Amazon. Yours Truly is already out of KU. The rest will be following as their contracts expire.