For five years now I've been a participant in Amazon's Kindle Select program, or Kindle Unlimited. This program is great for readers because you can read thousands of books for "free" after paying the small monthly fee. It's like Netflix for books! And that was great, and I really liked having my books in the program. I frequently shouted from the rooftops that all of my readers should join this program.
One major downside has always been that books in the program have to be sold exclusively on Amazon. That means anyone who reads books on iBooks, Nook, Kobo, or borrows them from their library using Overdrive wouldn't get to read my books. For a long time, I put up with this major downside because most of my readers used Amazon, and the program was pretty successful.
Well, that's all about to change. While the program is great for readers, it's terrible for authors. We get paid less than half a penny per page read. That means if someone reads an entire novel from me, I earn $1. If they purchased the book instead, I'd earn $2-3. That's a huge difference!
Last year, Amazon released a new "feature" called Page Flip. This enabled readers to read eBooks slightly differently on their devices. And guess what? Amazon doesn't pay authors for any pages read in this page flip mode. Me, and hundreds of other authors saw our earnings decrease between 10-30% overnight when page flip was enacted. People were reading our books and we weren't getting paid because they used Page Flip mode. I even have email confirmation from Amazon that they do not pay us for any pages read in this mode. Not cool.
And even worse, is that Amazon has become rampant with scammers. These people aren't authors at all. They are bottom feeders who steal content, plagiarize, or pay insultingly low wages (think $20 for an entire novel) to ghostwriters to pump out "books" that aren't really books at all. Then they hire click farms to borrow their scam books in the Kindle Unlimited program and "Read" them all the way through. There are literally thousands of people with Kindles and cell phones who pretend to read books by just clicking through the pages on these scam books. Amazon pays these people tends of thousands of dollars and their fake books rank high on the charts because it appears that they're best selling books, when really it's all a lie. (Read more here)
When someone does a scam like this, it hurts all authors. Because remember that half a penny payment we get? It comes from a communal pot of money each month. Each month, Amazon takes however many pages are read in their entire store and divides the pot of money up. That's how we get paid. If the scammers weren't earning $$$ from fake reads, the pot would be bigger and authors would earn much more than less than half a penny per page read.
Amazon has done very little, if anything, to fix this problem.
So it seems it is time for me to stop letting the system take advantage of me. Over the next few months, I will be removing my books from the Kindle Unlimited program and enrolling them for sale on all other eBook retailers. I'm considering leaving my novellas and short stories (like the First Love Shorts) in the Kindle Unlimited program for the rest of the year so that my KU readers can still read content from me. The Immortal Mark series will be available until July 24th. Ella's Stormy Summer Break will be released in Kindle Unlimited for the first 90 days starting June 26th, and then it'll be removed. I'm doing this so that my loyal readers will get the chance to read the book with their KU subscription.
I trust that my readers will follow me wherever I go, because you are all amazing and so supportive. My books will still be for sale on Amazon, but they just won't be in Kindle Unlimited.
Please note that if you can't afford to buy my eBooks, I would encourage you to check with your local city or county library. They might already have my books available in the Overdrive program to rent for free, and if not, you can request that they purchase my books. Most libraries will buy eBooks without a problem, and then you'll be able to read them for free while still supporting me as an author. Check out the Overdrive program here.
Thank you for understanding!