Pros and cons of this -
Pros - For the reader - Brilliant for a fast reader who can read a book a week or more. IF traditional publishers join this scheme it will mean that readers can have access to more expensive books than they might currently read.
Cons - For the reader - Unless you read really quickly, or have plenty of time to listen to audio books, you might as well buy a couple of paperbacks a month - visit The Works or browse the charity shops and you will find lots of books for less. Or actually buy your ebooks.
Pros - For the author - I can't see a single one at the moment, especially for small publishers and self-published authors.
- You have to be in Select to benefit which means you cannot offer your book on any other platform.
- Your books will show up on the new sales chart, but you won't get paid until the reader has read at least 10% of the book, which might well mean you never get paid. I have about 50 books on my Kindle I have not started yet, but I know the authors will have been paid. Some have been there since the day I bought the Kindle which is probably three years ago.
The best we can hope for is that not enough people sign up for this scheme to make it worth Amazon/Netflix's while. It is easy money for them. They share your subscription and then pay out peanuts to the authors.
To me this is reminiscent of all those mail order book clubs you saw advertised in magazines way back when. Do they still exist? I know I signed up for a few in my time. Still have some of the books I've never read. The thing with those clubs, though, was that they sent you real physical books you could keep once you left the club. I'm not sure what happens to the books you have downloaded for your $9.99 once you decide you don't want to play any more. Are they all wiped from your cloud, or do they remain there? The explanation on the KDP site doesn't go into this.
If this does become successful and enough people join, it will surely put an end to cheap self-published books, or at least make it more difficult for them to chart; assuming that downloads will be recorded in sales charts. And how will that work, when the book is ordered or when it reaches its 10% read target? Unless you can get through 10 books in a month, and I know some people can, readers will want those more expensive traditional published books so that they feel they are getting their monies worth. And I don't blame them.
So where will authors wanting to do promotional freebies or price-reduced countdown campaigns stand? Hopefully there will still be more people buying their books than signing up for the Kindle Unlimited scheme. We have to assume that the market for free books is totally different to that of paid books, which it probably is; but then puts a question mark against why people give their books away in the hope that readers will then go on to buy books.
Whether this works or not only time will tell. I hope it is successful if it means more sales for everyone but somehow I'm not totally convinced. Amazon are offering 600,000 books. If they get 600,000 people sign up that's a lot of dollars for them, but the possibility of only one sale per month for each book. I know it doesn't work like that, but it does mean there will be an awful lot of books that are not touched and even more work for the authors trying to get noticed.
What do you think of this scheme? Will it help or hinder self-published authors? Feel free to leave a comment or rate this post below.