Prime is for those people who pay the yearly fee to have Prime on Amazon. With that 99.99 fee you get free shipping, free music, all the prime movies and TV shows you want to watch (hello binge watching) and one book to borrow a month. Only one. Once you borrow that book, you have to wait until the next month. The one big catch is that it HAS to be on a Kindle device. For every book borrowed, authors get a % of the Kindle Global Fund Amazon provides for this.
Kindle Unlimited is something else. For 9.99 a month, readers can get unlimited access to books in the KU library along with some audio books from Audible. At any one time, you can have up to ten books that you have borrowed. Once you return one, you can get another. Just like Netflix discs. You can leave the service at any time. And, you can do it from any Kindle App. You do not need to have a Kindle to be part of the service. You can cancel at any time.
That was all for the readers. Now, to get down to the reason as an author why I put some of my books in the service. As an indy author, there is only way for me to enter my books and that is to put them in Kindle Direct Publishing Select. In this agreement, I have to leave my books exclusively with Amazon for at least 90 days. In return, I earn off my books that get borrowed. In Kindle Unlimited, every time someone reads past the 10% mark, authors get a cut of that Global Fund. Ten percent is the amount that readers can read on Amazon on the Look Inside feature. So, they have to pay the author once the reader gets past what is already available online.
As an established author, I have had a few people question my reasoning behind doing this. I can’t go into all the reasons here on the blog, but there is one big reason: earnings. I have noticed sales on B and N are sliding downward. Even even my books that make it under the 100 are not selling the same amount they did a year ago. This is due to a few things, mainly that B and N announced they would no longer build the Nook readers and tablets. There is also the tidbit that they are spinning off the Nook with Samsung and no one knows what is going to happen there. Oh, and the most dire prediction, that B and N physical stores might be gone by the end of the year. I used to kill it on Barnes and Noble but it just doesn’t happen now. Their sales were down 27% during Christmas from the year before, and I have always found that B and N were not happy about ebooks. They definitely were never really nice to indies. And I am saying that after having one of the top 100 bestselling Nook books of 2010. I was the only author on the list who did not have any Big Six publishers.
After less than a month, though, I can see the benefits. I have sold the same amount of Desire by Blood, but my borrows have been equaled 6 times as many as the sales. I have just put a few more books in the service and I will reassess in a couple of months, but the borrows our much more than I would sell anywhere else. With the % I earn off of borrows, this increases my earnings quite a bit. And while I would love not to pay attention to earnings, I do this for a living. I support my family by writing books and while I am thrilled I have more freedom to write what I want–not what the publishers want–I do have to pay attention to my earnings still.
While I am happy with that, I am not totally sold on putting all my books there. Harmless, Harmless Military, the Santinis, and Cursed Clan will all stay in wide distribution. These books are by far my best sellers and they sell everywhere. So for now, they will stay in distribution. The one exception is for the Harmless Shorts which will be only on Amazon.
There are other benefits, like getting 70% from other countries that I normally would get 35%.
I know some readers will not have anything to do with Amazon. They feel Amazon is ruining the physical stores. That is a subject for another day. I will say that before B and N and Borders strong armed their way onto the market, many indy stores were doing decently. Also, SELL FREAKING BOOKS, Barnes and Noble–since you call yourself a BOOKSELLER.
But I digress. I am happy to test the waters and see if things like this will work. I love all my readers, and I do like to offer enough options that everyone is satisfied. But with dwindling sales, I thought I would give this a try with books that sell little or not at all on other outlets.
Myself, I am planning on signing up for the free month of KU to see if I will really use it. I am pretty sure I will lol.