Let’s Talk About Kindle Unlimited

We’re all here because we love to read, right? Many of us love supporting Indie authors and those who are new to the writing scene. Kindle Unlimited provides a way for us, the readers, to devour as many books as we want for a low monthly fee.

As it stands now, authors are paid a royalty when a reader downloads their books, and reads at least 10%. If you read 10% that day, the author earns a royalty on the book that month. If you download a book and don’t get to it for a month, the author will receive his/her royalty payment the following month. Seems like a good deal for all, right?


Many “authors” found a way to beat the system. They would put out 10-20 page pamphlets and enroll them in the KU program. Of course a reader only had to read a couple of pages and the author would make as much in royalties as the author who slaved over a 300-page novel. That wasn’t fair. Many authors and publishers began pulling their titles from the KU program.

After listening to many authors complain about the injustice of the system, Amazon sent out a huge survey to thousands of authors to try to gauge their overall satisfaction with the system and to find out what could be done differently.

On July 1, the KU program is changing. Instead of authors receiving payment based on a reader reaching the 10% mark in a book, payments will be based on the number of pages read.

Most think this is a positive change, but some still aren’t happy with the new system. Readers are concerned with the “Big Brother” aspect of Amazon monitoring how many pages they read, and some authors are worried that people will download their books, only to leave them sitting in their Kindles for a long time.

Before I continue, let me say that I am not a KU subscriber. I cancelled my subscription long ago when it became clear it was hurting too many talented authors. That said, I can’t help but think this new change is a good thing, if you can work around the whole “Big Brother” thing.

People who use KU are generally voracious readers. They read quickly and they read a lot. They don’t download books just to have them sit, unread for a long period of time. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, they read books soon after downloading.

If an author writes a great book, readers will finish it and the author will earn full royalties. If the book is bad, or doesn’t hold the reader’s attention, they only get paid for what the reader finishes.

Now, this is where the conflict comes in. When you buy a meal at McDonald’s, you don’t pay for what you eat, you pay for the whole meal. If you don’t eat your fries, you still pay for them, right? So why shouldn’t authors get paid for the entire book, whether a reader finished it or not?

The bottom line is that until the first month’s royalties are paid out, no one really knows how well the new KU will work for authors. So, if you really want to give a new or Indie author your full support, the best way to do that is by purchasing his or her books.

I am all about supporting the authors that bring us great horror, and if that means buying their books so they receive full royalties, and I can read them as many times as I want, then that’s what I will continue to do.

So what is your opinion on the new KU system? Do you use it? Will you subscribe now that the system is changing?


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