Kindle Select – Resistance Is Futile

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In case you missed it last week, Amazon is restructuring the way it calculates royalties for its authors in the Kindle Select program. The long and short of if it is that Amazon is losing money on Kindle Unlimited, so they’ve changed the structure to make it more lucrative – for them, anyway- beginning July 1.

In the old program, if your book was part of the Kindle Select program and a reader downloaded and read past 10% of the book, you got a share of the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Lending Library Fund, which is calculated in some funky way that I don’t exactly understand because…math. But anyway, you get paid the rate for the full book, as long as they read past that 10%.

In the new program, even if they read past 10%, you’re only going to be paid for the amount of pages they read. So if they stop in the middle, or they decide to skip your “About the Author” page, you’re not going to get as much as you would before.

Which is, of course, crap. If they bought your paperback at the bookstore, you’d get paid whether they read it all the way through or not. But this ain’t paperback land, and Amazon is unfortunately the big, bad gunslinger in this shootout. They’re holding all the cards.

The biggest problem (or so I thought) about the Kindle Select program is that they require 90 days of exclusivity. You cannot publish and sell that title anywhere else – not Smashwords, not your own website/platform, nada. It’s Amazon and only Amazon, and that kind of sucks.

Or so I thought.

Here’s the simple truth that I can’t ignore. My novels on Amazon outsell my novels on Smashwords at a rate of 25:1. That is a huge difference. Huge. And when I signed two of my books onto Kindle Select, I got a chunk of that general fund and it added to my bottom line. That figure far exceeded what I got in sales on Smashwords, despite the fact that they feed out to Barnes and Noble, Apple, and you can download them onto any e-reader – including Kindle – or PC.

And here’s the other half of that. My novellas – which you know are my racier stuff, and a lot more down-and-dirty than my carefully plotted novels – sell much, much better on Smashwords. Go figure. I think they just get lost on Amazon. I’ll leave them up there, but I’m not going to be signing any of them up for Kindle Select.

But I will be signing up all my novels, beginning July 1. It just makes more sense for me monetarily. Sorry, folks. If you’re a Nook user, or you read my work on your PC, you’ll need to follow the instructions on the Kindle download for reading Kindle books without a Kindle (which you can easily do).

It makes sense for me, even if it is a crappy deal. Less money is still money, and it’s more money than I’m getting at Smashwords, despite all the marketing efforts I’ve put in to send readers there.

The King is dead, long live the King.

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