Kindle Unlimited—Amazon Just Paid out $8,500,000 for January, 2015


KDP Select Global Fund from July, 2014 thru January, 2015



Amazon has raised the KDP Select Global Fund significantly since the launch of Kindle Unlimited.

The monthly KDP Select Global Fund had been around $500,000 in the days of Amazon Prime, which grew to around $1,000,000 when Prime expanded to Europe.

This figure doubled to $2,000,000 with the debut of Kindle Unlimited in July, 2014, which was just a partial month.

It has grown fast since, reaching $8,500,000 in January, 2015:

  • July, 2014: $2,000,000
  • August, 2014: $2,875,000
  • September, 2014: $4,700,000
  • October, 2014: $5,000,000
  • November, 2014: $5,500,000
  • December, 2014: $7,250,000
  • January, 2015: $8,500,000

This suggests to me that the Kindle Unlimited subscriber base has grown tremendously.

Since Amazon is paying $8,500,000 in royalties through Kindle Unlimited for the month of January, 2015, this shows that this is a significant share of the digital market.

Not every book in KDP Select is benefiting from this, but very many are, which is why Amazon quotes a 95% (or higher) renewal rate in KDP Select each month. That is, most authors and publishers in KDP Select have been content enough with the program to continue their books’ enrollment.


In the days when it was just Amazon Prime, the monthly KOLL payment had averaged around $2 per book.

The KOLL payment has dropped significantly compared to those days, but borrows are way up (overall).

If your sales have held steady and you’re seeing those increased borrows, this is a great combination. In this case, the drop in KOLL payments doesn’t matter. There are many authors in KDP Select who are enjoying this.

Some authors’ sales and/or borrows are declining. But if so, it may not have anything to do with Kindle Unlimited. With so many other books being released and so many other authors marketing their books, sales have a natural tendency to drop off at some point, unless you continue to deliver fresh content to the market and implement effective continued marketing of your own. Plus, after January, many books’ sales tend to decrease. It’s a seasonal trend. There are so many factors involved, it’s very hard to pinpoint a single culprit when sales turn south.

I look at two things in a recent announcement from KDP:

  • The 95% renewal rate in KDP Select shows that the vast majority of KDP Select authors are content with the program.
  • This quote: “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.” It looks like many serious authors with long-term goals are thriving in KDP Select.

KOLL payments have started to level off around $1.40 per book. In January, 2015, KOLL paid $1.38 per book. Here is the trend:

  • July, 2014: $1.81
  • August, 2014: $1.54
  • September, 2014: $1.52
  • October, 2014: $1.33
  • November, 2014: $1.39
  • December, 2014: $1.43
  • January, 2015: $1.38
KOLL Chart

KOLL payments from July, 2014 thru January, 2015


Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
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9 comments on “Kindle Unlimited—Amazon Just Paid out $8,500,000 for January, 2015

  1. So clear and useful, Chris – very kind of you to interpret all this for us. I wonder how many sales translate to a ‘KDP Select allstar’ tag…?

    • It looks like it would take about 100 sales plus borrows per day (rough estimate) to get into the All-Stars. There are separate awards for top ranking books and top ranking authors; in the latter case, having multiple books out helps. Good luck.🙂

      • That’s very interesting, Chris… and thanks again for your time. I much appreciate your encouragement too, though I would need a good bit of luck to hit the All-stars list! I think a lot has to be ‘in place’ to be consistently hitting over that number of sales per day. Here’s hoping…

  2. Pingback: Is Kindle Unlimited Bad for Authors? | Anita Lovett & Associates

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