The top catch at the moment is that Amazon is only offering approx. 23% of available titles in their library to Unlimited subscribers. This selection is comprised largely of self-published authors, most of whom are already enrolled in their KDP Select program. Let me back up, Amazon offers a program called KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select that boasts it gives authors more exposure while requiring they sign exclusive rights to sell their books. The problem fundamentally is that it narrows your readership to only one book source right away. Sure Amazon is largest seller because they'll sell your book 11 cents cheaper then B & N, but I personally don't want to see every bookstore on the planet close because of one dominant power, nor do I think it's wise to allow them to dictate the market. Competition is healthy and for authors and the future of self-publishing, it's a necessity.
So does that actually make it good exposure for the indie or self-published author? Yes and No. Yes, it does get their titles seen by those subscribers, but those readers who want to get their hands on the top books out there won't be signing up for the service. This could mean that self-published authors who've just signed their rights over will be stuck in a pool of lesser known and possibly lower quality books with a cut from a pool of less readers. It's like a pyramid scheme relying heavily on the amount of memberships that join on top of the quantity of downloads.
I'm waiting to see if it becomes more transparent before my next book comes out in September. People signed up for Netflix because they had a huge selection of movie titles from blockbusters to independents as well as classics and you could search their database before signing up. Netflix and Apple remain the top sources for movie rental and both offer huge selections that are not predicated on exclusivity. There are currently other programs offering similar book subscriptions to Amazon like Oyster, Scribd and Entitled or free library apps like OverDrive. None offer readers everything they may want, but it is probably the way of the future so bring on more choices.
As an author, signing over my rights to only one seller so that my books might swim in a murky pool, doesn't sound like a great option. I would love to know what you think? Send me your comments on Facebook or Twitter to keep the discussion going. The more readers and authors who communicate their real-time opinions, the more informed we all are about making the right decisions for ourselves.
Here are some links to a few more articles that go into sales and stats behind Amazon's recent programs.
Amazon’s Kindle Store Could Be a Goldmine For New Authors by JESS BOLLUYT
Amazon Has Basically No Competition Among Online Booksellers by Polly Mosendz
Kindle Unlimited’s Two-Tier System Makes Some Authors Second-Class Citizens by Michael Sullivan
Apps For Reading Could Be Your Netflix of Books By Hayley Tsukayama of the Washington Post
Check out A.L. Goulden's profile on GoodReads and pick up her latest book August Fog available at most eBooksellers.
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