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Amazon is adding 6 months of Free Kindle Unlimited to all newly purchased Kindles


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#21 AQCrew

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 11:38 AM

We have given this topic more space in our brains this weekend than is healthy.

 

We have come to some conclusions that we are writing here for pure posterity...

 

If you believe that the majority of your sales are coming from people "browsing" for your book on Amazon or through Amazon's inherent "recommendated for you" algorithms that they serve up onto readers' kindle homepages, then KindleUnlimited is going to work well for you.

 

If you are purely attempting to sell your book directly to the reader -- either through blogs or through all the various discounted promo sites and mailing lists -- than KindleUnlimited doesn't matter because those readers are buying discounted books and you are advertising to make "sales" not borrows and your interest is selling as many copies (at a discounted price) as possible.

 

We do believe that authors really need to carefully analyze this "concept" that KindleUnlimited is cannibalizing their sales -- in other words, are readers who "borrowed" the book really readers would have actually bought it?  Doubtful because KU is enabling so many readers to read more books on aggregate as well as more books from authors they have never heard from... 

 

So it really likely depends on the type of reader and how they came to discover your book in the first place.



#22 AQCrew

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 11:45 AM

After discussion with AQTechie, we are pessimistic about the future of selling kindle-formatted books directly from your own website.

 

According to AQTechie, who did a ton of research on ebook formatting, etc, from the developer's side of things several months ago, he said that Amazon is currently using a proprietary ".kindle" format for its ebooks.

 

Mobi has gone to the wayside -- which we all actually know has been true for several years now -- so the idea that you're going to be able to "create" a .kindle file and sell it yourself isn't feasible.

 

Sure, you can plan to do it now with .mobi -- since Kindle devices can still read it because .mobi was the original proprietary format used when Amazon first launched Kindle ebooks.

 

But it is likely semi-short-sighted to think that Kindle devices will continue to support mobi.  And certainly, Amazon is not going to allow anyone to generate their own .kindle files except for Amazon during the upload process.



#23 AQCrew

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 06:11 PM

There's a thread on the K-Boards discussing the effects of KU. HM Ward lost 75% of her income to KU. Now that's... huge... she's a very popular/NYT/USA today bestselling author.

 

http://www.kboards.c...c,202571.0.html

 

Continuing with our chain of thought...

 

Yes, we do agree that a big name author like HM Ward is going to experience cannibalization of her sales while her books are in KU because obviously readers who are in KU who read within the romance & NA genre are going to borrow her books for free -- if they can -- rather than buy them at $2.99 or $3.99 or $4.99.

 

However, we think what's actually going on is a reduction of sales across the board because KU has increased competition exponentially. THAT is the bigger issue here.  An unfathomable number of Amazon readers who used to exclusively purchase books now have the option to rent 10 books at a time for free, and THAT is going to greatly affect buying habits ---> including a reduction of sales.

 

In addition, KU readers who relied heavily on purchasing brand "name" authors at discounted prices (0.99 and 1.99) from mailing lists like Bookbub no longer have as big of an incentive to fish for discounted books.  They may choose to still do so... but now, it's not their only option.  They've got KU.

 

And permafree downloads are also going to suffer -- not the free downloads generated by paid advertising -- but the downloads generated by keyword browsing and book browsing on Amazon because many of those readers are new readers with new kindle AND they have KU, so a HUGE pool of books are now free to them.  No longer just the permafree books.  Again, exponentially increased competition.



#24 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 06:49 PM

I would be interested to know how KU stacks up against Scribd and Oyster. I know Scribd doesn't require exclusivity and the payout was higher than KU (I had my novella in it and then pulled it to try out KU). But I assume it doesn't have the same reach as KU?

 

As a non-US resident I also have issues with KU being "invisible". I can't see it, access it, or browse it as I'm outside the US. All I have to go on are my lends in the dashboard. It makes me uneasy, as from my perspective I'm trying to make assumptions and decisions about a product I can't use or try out.

 

Certainly if the payout continues to drop I won't put any other projects into it. With my self published works going forward I intend to make them available across as many platforms are possible, rather than relying on Amazon as my sole source of income.



#25 AQCrew

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 07:47 PM

I would be interested to know how KU stacks up against Scribd and Oyster. I know Scribd doesn't require exclusivity and the payout was higher than KU (I had my novella in it and then pulled it to try out KU). But I assume it doesn't have the same reach as KU?

 

 

 

Ditto, oh... so, so. Ditto.

 

We know very little about either of those distributors other than Oyster has a deal with Simon & Schuster, right?  To sell some of their books within its subscription service and Scribd just recently got Harlequin?  (note to self: must research the accuracy of that...)

 

 

As a non-US resident I also have issues with KU being "invisible". I can't see it, access it, or browse it as I'm outside the US. All I have to go on are my lends in the dashboard. It makes me uneasy, as from my perspective I'm trying to make assumptions and decisions about a product I can't use or try out.

 

 

Holy smokes, really?  So when you try to browse books via: http://amazon.com/kindleunlimited -- you can't?



#26 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 09:27 PM

I can see the main page, but I get a box with a warning in red saying "We're sorry. Kindle Unlimited is only available to US customers on amazon.com. Please stay tuned for Kindle Unlimited in your local marketplace. UK customers can sign up at amazon.co.uk/kindleunlimited."  :sad:



#27 Darke

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 10:38 PM

I can see the main page, but I get a box with a warning in red saying "We're sorry. Kindle Unlimited is only available to US customers on amazon.com. Please stay tuned for Kindle Unlimited in your local marketplace. UK customers can sign up at amazon.co.uk/kindleunlimited."  :sad:

 

This is what I get too.


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darkes_cover_4_sparkletn.jpg Book2TN.jpg darkescovenwtTN.jpg demonthumbnail.jpg 4311642f-9dfa-4c08-ac6d-a6979476c6ce.jpg

 

 3e1a6d8e-6529-475b-b08d-34d575e93531.jpg


#28 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 12:14 AM

I could've sworn they rolled out KU to the UK already. I got an email about it. There and one other market that I can't think of off the top of my head.



#29 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 12:35 AM

I could've sworn they rolled out KU to the UK already. I got an email about it. There and one other market that I can't think of off the top of my head.


It has rolled out to the UK, but I'm in New Zealand and I can't see it coming here anytime soon. In the interim things that are "US only" are invisible. Don't even get be started on publishers who decide they only want people in the US/UK buying kindle books. Frustrates the hell out of me when your options are 1/ be rorted with huge postage on a paperback or 2/ pirate the kindle version....

#30 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 01:01 AM

Ah, gotcha. I definitely don't understand some of the international barriers when it comes to ebook buying and selling. Like B&N still not having figured out how to take money from Canadians lol.



#31 AQCrew

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 06:46 AM

It has rolled out to the UK, but I'm in New Zealand and I can't see it coming here anytime soon. In the interim things that are "US only" are invisible.  

 

Wow, this is really interesting (also for you Darke, in Canada as well).  

 

So when you're on the amazon.com/kindleunlimited homepage, there's no KINDLEUNLIMITED: "search box" field that allows you to say... type in "steampunk ebooks" and see the first page of results for all "steampunk ebooks" that are enrolled in KindleUnlimited?



#32 Darke

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:08 AM

Wow, this is really interesting (also for you Darke, in Canada as well).  

 

So when you're on the amazon.com/kindleunlimited homepage, there's no KINDLEUNLIMITED: "search box" field that allows you to say... type in "steampunk ebooks" and see the first page of results for all "steampunk ebooks" that are enrolled in KindleUnlimited?

 

When I clicked on that link, it took me to the page, but there's a disclaimer that says it's only available to US customers on the .com site. I went to .ca and it doesn't have a KU page and not a word about it anywhere.


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darkes_cover_4_sparkletn.jpg Book2TN.jpg darkescovenwtTN.jpg demonthumbnail.jpg 4311642f-9dfa-4c08-ac6d-a6979476c6ce.jpg

 

 3e1a6d8e-6529-475b-b08d-34d575e93531.jpg


#33 AQCrew

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 03:26 PM

Ok, so this is sort of bringing the whole discussion full circle.  That's sort of a disadvantage -- in terms of market research -- to be outside of the US and not be able to see which books are being offered in KU and how they are listed on search result pages.

 

If you look at the dearauthor website, there are a ton of romance readers chiming about their thoughts on KU.  However, this one comment stood out among the rest:

 

 

I checked out the All-Stars in the Romance section and the only author I’d heard of was Bella Andre. It seems to me that KU is highlighting something that was already happening – a big divide opening up between two halves of the market. There are people buying a ton of mostly self-published books that are exclusive to Amazon and often but not always low-priced books. Someone on KBoards has been collecting sales figures for the all star list – to make it into the top 25, you have to have around 30,000 sales/borrows in a month (per author, not per title). So these books are selling well. But they aren’t books that I see people talking about in traditional romance venues. They aren’t trad-published, but they also aren’t the self-published books which make waves in the wider romance community. They aren’t being entered for RITAs, they aren’t reviewed on the big blogs and so on. It feels like a different, parallel market.

 

That "different, parallel market" is the sheer power of having your book "browsed" by the thousands and thousands of fresh readers coming to Amazon on a daily basis and discovering your book via keywords as well as Amazon organically recommending your books to readers based on their previous purchases as well as what they clicked on and showed previous interest in...

 

Mark Dawson, a very smart and successful indie author, posted a survey on his Facebook page, asking his fans about how they find their books.  Read the thread.  The answers are extremely enlightening and pertinent to this conversation:

 

https://www.facebook...776861685712795

 

The two most popular answers are Bookbub (which makes sense because Mark advertises with Bookbub) and Amazon's "recommended for you".

 

So if you're not getting the benefit of this "different, parallel" browsing market where readers are browsing Amazon and buying YOUR book because they find in on their search results pages as well as Amazon "recommending to readers" YOUR book, then you're going to have to go generate sales through marketing, advertising, and promotions. 

 

And we think this is where the KU borrows vs. the sales divide comes into play.  

 

If you don't have any borrows (or even very many sales) coming from the "different, parallel market" of browsing Amazon readers, then it likely makes a lot of sense NOT to be exclusively to Amazon and to get out of KU.

 

Every paid advertising mailing list that we've tried thus far increased sales.  It did NOT affect borrows in a very significant way.



#34 C. Taylor

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:56 PM

I personally think that KU has a lot to offer, BUT people need to look at how you make KU work for you, instead of just sticking to the old ways, if that's no longer making you money. I personally think permafree still holds value because there are still a lot of readers that aren't on KU. As for the high end indies who were exempt from being exclusive, they've lost a fair amount of money because they tended to have higher priced books, so instead of getting $3/book, they're getting 1.33 per borrow, and on the scale that they sell books, that quickly adds up to lots of money.

 

Personally, I don't think it's an all or nothing. My best selling series are my billionaires, but primarily because the first book is perma free. From there, I put the 2nd and 3rd book in KU and then the 4th and 5th, aren't.  My mermaid isle series is in KU. My highland books aren't. Some series sell far better on KU than others.  But it's an experiment. And as soon as I have a bit more time, I'll be writing things with KU in mind and how to get KU to work in my favor.

 

As for selling books on your site, I think the problem is visibility.  They have to already know about you and your books to get to your site, whereas on amazon they can come across your books by browsing.


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#35 jwmstudio

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 05:45 PM

 As for the high end indies who were exempt from being exclusive, they've lost a fair amount of money because they tended to have higher priced books, so instead of getting $3/book, they're getting 1.33 per borrow, and on the scale that they sell books, that quickly adds up to lots of money.

 

 

I think this makes an enormous amount of sense and could be the main reason why the superstars don't love it even without the exclusivity but why there seems to be opportunities for lower to mid list authors. The step between a $2 royalty on a book and $1.50 on a borrow when your not selling tens of thousand of copies every month is easier to swallow. Especially if it gets you visibility and borrows that wouldn't have been sales in the first place. 

 

And don't throw things, but as a reader I love it and I've borrowed things I wouldn't have bought.


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