Kindle Unlimited Doubles Authors’ Royalties Says Amazon

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon increased the KDP Select global fund pool for December from the base $3 million to $7.25 million which compares to $6.5 million in November and $5.5 million in October.

The payout per borrow in December was $1.43, up from November’s $1.40 and October’s low of $1.33. Dividing the payout per borrow by the total pool gives a headline number of over 5 million paid borrows in December 2014, up from 4.6 million in November and 4.1 million in October!

Amazon also announced that total royalties paid to KDP Select authors for the five months since Kindle Unlimited was introduced were “more than double” that of the same five months of the previous year.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the overall growth of the Kindle ebook market. Did the market double in size between the five months of 2013 and 2014? If so, we’d expect authors to be earning double without the introduction of Kindle Unlimited. If the market trebled in size, but author’s earnings only doubled, KU would’ve had a sizeable negative effect. We have to know the change in market size to make sense of whether KU had a positive or negative effect.

While it is undoubtedly good news that KDP Select royalties are more than double what they were for the same period in 2013, I’m not sure to what degree the introduction of KU can be credited with the increase. When Amazon says, “we wanted to share some initial results from the first few months of Kindle Unlimited“, they are deliberately trying to associate the introduction of KU with the increase in year-on-year sales, when many other factors may be involved.

Another claim is that, “During the 5 full months since KU launch (August to December 2014), royalties to KDPS authors from a la carte sales have grown faster than a la carte sales on KDP overall or Kindle overall.” One simple way to achieve that would be to give KU titles prominence in the Kindle marketplace. As KU books are available for purchase or borrow, you would expect sales to increase compared to non-KDPS titles if the visibility of KDPS titles were boosted. Does Amazon boost the prominence of KDPS titles? I have no idea.

Regarding the claim, “Total earnings on titles priced $2.99 or greater are growing faster than the overall average. The same is true for titles 150+ pages in length.” I don’t know how to explain this. It seems to flatly contradict the introduction of a flat-rate monthly fee for unlimited titles. A paid borrow nets the author $1.43, whereas a $2.99 sale paying 70% nets the author $2.09 (assuming negligible delivery costs). The only way a $2.99+ title can be making more since the introduction of KU is if the amount of borrows more than compensates for any fall in sales.

Perhaps the number of borrows is compensating for any fall in sales. However, such information contradicts many claims from authors that sales have fallen and the difference has not been made up through KU borrows. In one famous example, HM Ward withdrew her 60 books from KDP Select as a result of her income falling by 75% in the two months after the introduction of KU, as described on the KU Boards forum. Note that the reported revenue fall included “All Star” bonuses for both months for being one of the highest sellers on Kindle!

Are there niche-specific effects of Kindle Unlimited? Perhaps some niches are more likely to have sales cannibalised into borrows and other niches aren’t. Perhaps the niche KM Ward is in suffered more than other niches. Perhaps the introduction of the All Stars program was specifically meant to counter the effect. We don’t know this information.

The final claim is that, “Renewal Rates – Authors have chosen to renew their titles in KDP Select at rates in excess of 95% in each month of 2014.” I would simply use apathy to explain this. You have to actively opt out of KDP Select. As most titles and most authors will be selling very few books they have little incentive to leave. The introduction of the All Stars program shows that Amazon is concerned about the top sellers leaving and is incentivising them to stay in KDP Select.

Overall the news from Amazon seems good, but we really don’t have the full picture. Amazon have said,

“We’ve gotten lots of great feedback in the past weeks and months, including a bunch of ideas on how to further improve the structure of the program and make it work better for authors and readers alike. Like everything we do, we’re looking hard at all your feedback and we expect to keep tweaking and improving the program in the future. “

… which implies that they know everything in the garden isn’t rosy and are looking to make improvements.

What do you think? Was the introduction of KU a good thing or a bad thing for authors? Is Amazon simply using KU as a “loss leader” to get people to buy and use Kindles? After all, there’s an advert every time you turn on your Kindle, and people on Kindle buy and consume content other than ebooks which all helps Amazon’s growth. Are Amazon just reacting to Scribd’s subscription model? Leave a comment below with your thoughts…

Posted in Kindle Publishing | Leave a comment

CrowdSearch SEO Review

Crowd Source SEO

Crowd Source SEO

I mentioned CrowdSearch SEO to my email list and they loved it, so I thought I’d do a review here at the blog to describe what CrowdSearch is, what it does and how it can help you rank at the top of Google, get more traffic, leads and make more money.

If you’d like a video explanation, here’s how CrowdSearch introduce themselves and their product… Continue reading

Posted in Search Engine Optimisation | Leave a comment

2015 Prediction: Falling Value Of Digital Goods To Continue

Old School Neil + Linda!

Old School Neil + Linda!

[author’s note: this is quite a long opinion piece, so you may want to grab a coffee and read it quietly, or print it off. I think it could be vital to your success in 2015 to understand and adapt to this on-going trend]

I have a perspective of the Internet, and selling online in particular, that few other people have.

I created my first webpage in 1996 and started selling my own products online in 1997, the same year I registered my first domain name. I’ve basically watched the whole of the Internet come online, and have noticed a trend that has been gathering steam over the years and is getting more and more aggressive.

If you intend to do business online creating and selling digital goods, or promoting them as an affiliate in 2015, it’s important to take notice of this trend and what it means for your business. Continue reading

Posted in Internet marketing | 16 Comments

Demo Of My New Software

In my last blog post I mentioned UbotStudio and how easy it was to use. In fact, I got rid of my team of Russian coders and now use UbotStudio to create cool software!

I thought I should show you the software I’ve been working on… so here it is… all 100% created in UbotStudio, 100% by me.

If I can do it, you can. So get a copy of Ubotstudio using the exclusive coupon I arranged for you. (The coupon for 25% off is embedded in the link and ends on November 1st!)


Posted in Coupons And Discounts | 1 Comment

UbotStudio Review

Ubot Studio Coupon

Ubot Studio Coupon

[note: I’ve been given permission to post this at my blog due to spam filters eating my email!]

Things have sure changed since I sold my first ebook in 1997!

  • People don’t see ebooks as valuable (see Kindle)
  • People don’t see music as valuable (see Spotify)
  • People don’t see videos as valuable (see Youtube)
  • People don’t see digital services as valuable (see Fiverr)

So, what’s left for an online entrepreneur to SELL?

I’ll tell you… software.

People still respect software. People are still willing to pay for quality software.

In the past I used software to build my email lists to tens of thousands, and made hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales of products to people based on those opt-ins.

I paid coders thousands of dollars to create the software and organising them was a gigantic hassle, which is why I no longer offer the old software.

BUT I’ve found a tool that helps you create software just as good as what my coders created, and it’s easy to use.

The software’s called “UbotStudio” and I’ve been using it over the last few months to create cool software. It’s basically replaced my coding team!

I like it so much I twisted the arm of the creator, Seth, to get a unique discount coupon for you. He said “OK, but it’ll only last for two weeks”.

You will not find this coupon anywhere else. It’s just for people on my list. Unlike a lot of companies, UBotStudio do NOT have permanent coupons. You can’t just query Google and find one! :)

[actually, I’ve been granted permission to post this on my blog due to the spam-filter problem, so if you’re really lucky and read this post before November 1st without being a member of my list, congratulations!]

So here’s your chance to get this amazing software at a deep discount…

The coupon is good for a huge 25% off the Standard version, 20% off Professional and 15% off Developer, which I use.

Oh, I should let you know, there’s a useful tutorial PDF and a ton of videos to help you get started and a very helpful forum and support staff if you get stuck.

Can you imagine saying to people, “I’m a software developer”? How cool is that? It’s great, and lucrative too! :)

Get your discounted UBotStudio here!


Neil and Linda Shearing

PS, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can try out UbotStudio and make your own software before deciding whether or not being a “software developer” is for you…

PPS, the coupon code is encoded in the link, above. Be sure to click that link before ordering to get the discount order page.

PPPS, I want to reward action takers, so the first TEN people to claim a copy of UBotStudio will have email access to me to ask me anything about using UbotStudio to make quality software, build an email list and make money!

Just send me your receipt and if you’re among the first TEN, you’ll get this exclusive bonus, valid for six months starting 30 days after you place your order (that’s to ensure only buyers get the bonus, not refunders).

Posted in Coupons And Discounts | 1 Comment