Kindle Unlimited

Earlier this week, news leaked out about Kindle Unlimited, an ebook subscriptions service for $9.99 a month, with a title list of over 600,000 titles, including Amazon Publishing titles, self-published titles, and several big-name exclusives.

The program is now live, and there are details on the page.

Terms – or ‘How Are Authors and Publishers Getting Paid?’

What that page *doesn’t* mention is how authors/publishers are paid.

UPDATE: There was a miscommunication on my contact’s part, and the content that was previously here is not meant to be public. As a result, I’ve redacted the term details.

UPDATE: I’ve received one confirmation from a self-published author (J.S. Morin) that their KDP Select titles were automatically included in KU. And the KDP Select page has been update to include KU as a feature. Interestingly, I’ve spotted at least one title I thought was on KDP Select but does not appear to be in KU. This may merely be a blip, however.


Unless the terms are terrible for authors across a variety of publishers, Kindle Unlimited is likely to create very stiff competition for the existing ebook subscription services such as Oyster and Scribd. It’ll be interesting to see how much volume of sales KU generates, and whether that changes other ebook purchasing habits. I see the subscription model as being best for voracious readers who want versatility as well as depth of selection, vs. less high-volume readers who may need to be more selective in their purchases, and will probably continue to shop based on individual authors and titles.

The publishing seas continue to change quickly, as they have for several years. May the winds be at your back, and a friend at your side come the next storm.

And to be mercenary for a moment, if you sign up for Kindle Unlimited, Shield and Crocus is in fact one of those titles you can read as part of the free trial. *wink wink*

6 thoughts on “Kindle Unlimited

  1. I was about to ask, “How do I get my book on Kindle Unlimited.” Then I remembered that there’s this Google thing. Best I can tell, Kindle Unlimited is a feature of the KDP Select program. Putting your book on KDP Select (which lightweight indies like me can do) automatically makes your book available on Kindle Unlimited.

    Reminder to those unfamiliar with KDP Select: if you make your book available on KDP Select, it cannot be available elsewhere for at least 90 days. No Barnes&Noble, no iTunes, maybe they’ll give you a pass if it shows up on BitTorrent. I have no idea. I’m just a talking marmoset.


  2. I’m going to watch and see for the time being. In my initial browsing of the books included, the titles that caught my eye were titles that I have already purchased (including Shield and Crocus!). Thanks for the explanation of the royalties. When I purchase a book, I know a certain amount goes to the author. I always wonder about that with services like this.

  3. Publisher’s Marketplace (put out by Publisher’s Weekly) answered the how the author get’s paid question. It depends on how you are published:

    1. Amazon can put any book they want into KU without the consent of the author or the publisher (that is how Hunger Games is in there now). If they do, then they pay 100% just as if a person bought the book normally.

    2. Any publisher that consents to books to be in KU will also be paid 100% but only if the reader reads 10% of the title.

    3. Any author published through an Amazon Imprint, fall into category #2. They get paid 100% if the reader reads 10%

    4. Any small press or self-published author who gets their books onto Amazon through KDP will not be paid 100%. These KU books (assuming 10% was read) will be treated like a loan from the Kindle Lending Library. These books are paid based on a formula. Kindle puts aside an amount each month (was $1.2M for July but they increased it to $2.0 M when KU was announced) and this is divided by the number of borrows/KU downloads where 10% was read. The author gets this per unit price times the number of books that qualify. It does not account for the book’s price so a $0.99 title is paid the same as a $9.99 title.

  4. Pingback: Amazon's Kindle Unlimited subscription plan screws self-published authors

  5. Pingback: My Thoughts on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited | tracycembor

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