Kindle Unlimited

Today is the last day any of my work will be enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Select program for authors, and its Kindle Unlimited program for readers. This post attempts to explain why.

First.  Kindle Select pays authors based on the number of pages read, not on the number of pages re-read.  My work is not in the mainstream, and it never will be.  Malmaxa isn’t banal or easy to read, but strangely enough a consistent theme of readers is that once they’ve read it they read it again, and then they often read it again.  I don’t think many books do that, but I know mine do.

Next.  I don’t subscribe to competitions in which the winners take all, while all the other competitors support said winners and get nothing in return.  Unfortunately that is precisely what Kindle Unlimited is – a very small number of authors are rewarded financially, while Amazon gets to advertise how its Kindle Unlimited members can read books from thousands of authors, for free.  Essentially this is a situation in which thousands of authors support a numerically insignificant number of big winners, while getting nothing in return.  Would you be a member of Kindle Unlimited if Amazon told you “You get to choose from a few hundred books!“?  I don’t think so – the draw is freedom to choose from a massive pool.  But remember, though the pool before you is massive, you only get to drink a few drops.

Finally…  Kindle Select requires Amazon to be the only place your digital work is sold.  I find that to be a severe restriction of freedom and am not willing to be bound by it.  Interestingly enough Amazon is currently the only place you can purchase my work in eBook format.  Now you might think that since Amazon is the only place you can buy it, it would be no loss for me to remain enrolled in KDP Select.  In a way you’re correct, it would be no monetary loss since it doesn’t cost anything to be in it.  In another way you’d be incorrect, it would be a loss of principle and I’m not willing to do that.  The forced elimination of competition is not a good thing, and that is precisely what KDP Select does – it prevents authors from engaging with Amazon’s competitors.

I guess the bottom line is that I’m as selfish as the next person.  I want my readers to be my readers.  I want my writing to touch them in ways they have never been touched before.  I want them to want to read my words again, and every time they do, for them to find something new.  I want them to possess my work, as much as my work possesses them.  I don’t want drive-by readers who skim over my words without taking them in.  I want readers who care, and the bottom line is that I don’t think Kindle Unlimited helps me find them.

If only I knew what did…

{P.S. There is lots you can read for free right here on my blog.  There is poetry, if you’re into that.  If you’d like to read the start of Malmaxa you can do so at the following two links, right here, right now, and completely free.  Beltamar’s War, and my personal favorite excerpt from the same book.}

About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
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One Response to Kindle Unlimited

  1. Brian Basham says:

    This is almost exactly why I am only keeping my books in the program for a single 3 month period before going wide. Any discoverability you gain from going exclusive with Amazon dries up well before the 3 month period ends. By the time that period ends if you aren’t one of the winners then it makes more sense to pull out.

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