Kindle Unlimited Books is a subscription service from Amazon. It acts like an online library lending service where subscribers can read as many ebooks as they like from around 1.4 million titles.
It’s like the Netflix for books and readers.
Sounds good, hey?
I love it. Literally, love it.
There’s nothing worse than starting a book and realising after you’ve paid for it it’s not what you were expecting. To be fair, Amazon are great about allowing you to return a book you don’t like. But, as an author, I’m not inclined to do that.
It’s so demoralising to see sales coming in and then have them whipped away.
So it’s not something I do unless I really can’t get on with a book.
Kindle Unlimited means you don’t have to do this.
You can borrow up to ten books at a time and then just return them. Plus, if like me, you have a few books on the go at the same time, it’s an effortless way to switch between books and promising new authors that you may not have otherwise tried.
And to discover new writers and genres too.
Which books are in Kindle Unlimited?
This is down to the author/ publisher. When you read a book from Kindle Unlimited, it is exclusive to Amazon, so some writers don’t want to give up their right to wide distribution.
However a lot, like me, love the service and like to give back by including our titles in the membership service.
Read Chloe Grace cozy mystery books on Kindle Unlimited
How do Kindle Unlimited Books work for authors?
When we publish a book on Amazon, we have a dashboard called KDP. This is where we upload our manuscripts in a format exclusive to Amazon. This requires software if you want to make it look nice. Otherwise, you can use a pdf format, but the Kindle software often kicks out alignment using this method.
We get our covers designed either by a professional designer like I do, or you can make your own in this system. You can spot these on Amazon because they are pretty basic looking covers.
At the same time as we’re doing all of this, our editor is checking our manuscript to ensure that it is error free. Then it’s time to upload into the KDP dashboard.
This is the process of publishing our ebook. There are a ton of different fields that we need to complete, book title, author names, blurb, etc.
Once we’ve done all of that we save it and then flick over the page to decide whether our pride and joy will only be available to Amazon. If we check yes, then this ebook will become a member of Kindle Unlimited Books. We can have some books in KDP (exclusive to Amazon) and others wide (not exclusive to Amazon).
If we publish exclusively to Amazon, then Kindle Unlimited subscribers can access these on their various forms of e readers.
How do authors get paid with Kindle Unlimited Books?
We get paid for every page you read. So, that’s why you’ll find a lot of authors pack the back of their books with extra material and previews of their next books. For sure, it’s a dominant way to hook you into their follow on title, but it’s also an unscrupulous way of getting additional payment.
Every time you flick over a page, we, as the author, get a small amount of money. So think about it. If you read the first chapter of their book once at the back of the previous novel, and then again if you select to download the entire book to your device, that author gets paid twice for those page reads.
As an aside here, it doesn’t matter if you read the e-book on your iPad, phone or e-reader. The payment system is the same.
It’s dubious and Amazon penalize authors if they catch it happening. There are regulations that you agree to about how much additional content (book stuffing) it allows you.
But the amount we get paid is nominal, so authors continue to do it. A sizeable amount think it’s worth the risk of getting kicked off the Kindle Unlimited Books subscription service.
How much do authors get pain in Kindle Unlimited?
It changes every month.
The system depends on how many pages we have read in any month. They split these page reads between the available pot of recompense.
They derive this financial pot from how many people have signed up to be a member of Kindle Unlimited.
You’d think the more subscribers there are, the more payment authors receive. But, if you all read a ton of books, then the number of pages that have to be paid out of that pot will also be greater.
It’s therefore tricky to tell exactly how much you will receive. You’ll get a breakdown of page reads in any one day, week or month. But, because you don’t know how many pages we have read until the end of the month, no-one has any obvious way of knowing until later.
A rough rule of thumb is that for every page read of a kindle unlimited book, an author can expect something near 0.004p.
That’s why we need a lot of page reads.
Have you read about the process of producing a book? You’ll see, it’s not a cheap thing to do.
If you don’t get paid a lot, why would you sign up to the program?
Amazon are the reader’s king. They are by far the biggest in the market and if you commit your book to be exclusive to their catalog, then there are benefits.
The KDP dashboard that we mentioned earlier has an area where you input metadata. You select keywords and other ways that readers can use to find your book when they browse the services from their devices.
We’re not officially aware of how it works, but we have seen it so many times that if you are in the kindle unlimited store, then you get a boost to your rankings. Effectively Amazon will push you towards the front of the queue based on your exclusivity.
This is an enormous deal, because it doesn’t matter how little you get paid for every page read. If readers don’t find your books then you’re not getting anything. You need to be up the listings to get any kind of monthly income. This is even more important when you think each book costs me around £1000 to produce. Getting any kind of fee to offset this is better than nothing.
Plus, we don’t just get paid on page reads. If you purchase the book so you can keep it in your library or if you decide you’d prefer a paperback, then we get paid for that just as much as we would if we had offered our books wide.
If you would like to join the Kindle Unlimited membership and get a whole ton of books to read that aren’t available anywhere else, you’ll also be supporting small authors struggling to survive.