Thursday, 16 July 2015

Is 'pay per page' a good move by Amazon?

On 1 July Amazon changed the way they pay for any loans or borrows within the Kindle library system. Before this date whenever a book that is in Kindle Select was borrowed the writer received a payment of around $1.35 once the reader had read more than 10% of the book. By borrowing I'm referring to Prime Members, who can borrow one book at a time, and subscription members who can borrow up to ten books and keep them for as long as they want. When they want to borrow an  eleventh book they have to return one in order to do so.
This meant that the writer knew at a glance how many times a given title had been borrowed and could work out fairly accurately how much they would receive in payment at the end of each month. Whenever I borrowed a book I always flipped to the 10% mark so the writer got a payment even if I didn't want to read the rest of the book.
The new method of payment was introduced, so Amazon say, because a large number of unscrupulous writers put up items where the front matter itself was more than 10% so without even looking at the book/short story/rubbish these writers would get the same payment as someone who had a three hundred page book borrowed and read.
The new system records how many pages of any book is read in any month and the writer is paid accordingly. This would mean that for a very long book and a very slow reader the writer might be receiving payments spread over several months.
At the moment nobody seems to be very clear exactly how much is going to be paid per page – the current thinking is that it will be half a cent. This would mean that my books, the bulk of which are a hundred and fifty pages or less, would receive around seventy-five cents  instead of $1.35, so I stand to have my income  from KU reduced by a third. Obviously this is not good news as I've already taken a 20% hit on my sales in the UK because of the introduction of VAT a few months ago.
However, until the end of July no one really knows how it's going to work out. I'm hoping that my income doesn't suffer too greatly by these changes.
The other drawback as far as I'm concerned is that I will no longer be able to track exactly how many of each title is borrowed each month and this is something I like to do. Ten thousand page reads could equate to anything – I'm not sure if this system will continue as I don't think I'll be the only writer who suffers economically and is also frustrated by being unable to make accurate recordings for each book.
I'd be interested to hear other writers views on these changes. Am I alone in having reservations?
I really liked the system as it was and I think these radical changes might well be for Amazon's benefit rather than mine.
Fenella J Miller


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  2. I agree Fenella that this will benefit Amazon more than us! And like you, I liked being able to record how many loans I had of my books. The new system does sound fairer but only if we are paid a reasonable share.

  3. Sheila, I agree. I think there were not enough scammers to justify such a radical shake up. Baby and bath water spring to mind.

  4. I'm reserving judgement until it's been running for a couple of months. I can see lots of writers leaving KDP select if their income drops.,

  5. Lizzie, I won't leave as I sold almost nothing anywhere else. Unless there's another avenue of income as good, even a loss of income is better than no income.