How Much Did Amazon Pay for Pages Read in July, 2015?

Image from ShutterStock.

Image from ShutterStock.


Amazon KDP is paying $0.005779 per page read for KDP Select books in July, 2015.

The payment for KENP is right on the money: almost exactly the expected $0.0058 per page read.

(The prediction came from the $11M KDP Select Global Fund divided by the 1.9B pages read in June, 2015.)

Here are a few examples of how to interpret the payout for KENP:

  • A book with a KENPC of 225 pages earns $1.30 when read to 100%. That’s what it takes to earn the same as in previous months. (But remember, a print book with 150 pages or so might have a KENPC of 225 pages. The way that a ‘page’ is defined is fairly generous, except for fixed-format books.)
  • A book with a KENPC of 100 pages earns $0.58 when read to 100%.
  • A book with a KENPC of 400 pages earns $2.31 when read to 100%.
  • A book with a KENPC of 700 pages earns $4.04 when read to 100%.
  • Just multiply your KENPC by 0.005779.

Of course, not all books are read to 100%.

The new payout appears to favor longer books, but only when you compare the new payout to the old payout.

If you forget how it used to be and ask yourself, “How long a book should I write?” it really doesn’t favor longer books. Whether you write 300 pages as a single book or 6 books, you get paid the same amount per page read.

The only difference between short and long books is reader engagement. In which case are you more likely to get more pages read?

Paying per page, the new system really favors reader engagement.

There were 1.9B pages read in June, 2015, which led to a prediction of $0.0058 per page, and now in July we find that the actual payout is almost identical to the prediction.

What does this mean?

  • Evidently, there wasn’t much abuse of the new system (or most of the attempts were caught red-handed). The old system suffered from ways to abuse the system, whereas the new system requires actually reading pages (and Amazon can surely catch attempts to fool the system). If there were significant abuse, the payout should have been significantly affected, but it wasn’t.
  • The coming months will tell, but I take this as a positive indicator. Authors now expect to earn approximately $0.0058 per page when they enroll their books in KDP Select. With this strong expectation now reinforced by the first payout, I don’t expect this to change significantly in the future. Amazon has long paid about $1.30 to $1.40 per borrow, which translates to $0.0058 per page with the new system. This seems to be a steady-state solution. If you feel otherwise, all you need to do is wait a few months and time will show whether or not this is right.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

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

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11 comments on “How Much Did Amazon Pay for Pages Read in July, 2015?

  1. Chris,

    Over on TPV today was a suggestion that FORMATTING can seriously affect your KENPC. 30% was the figure quoted (comments to Hugh Howey’s post re KU today.)

    I believe, after having dug through Kindleboards today, that the OP was crediting professional formatting for the increase – and there was some mystery about not telling people lest the new system be gamed.

    As always, actual data is highly anecdotal and incomplete – that’s the nature of the game.

    Books, even fiction, are not equivalent. One may be dialogue-heavy (leading to a lot of paragraphing and white space), while another, with the same word count, might have a few dense paragraphs. After each paragraph there will be a line break – but the amount of physical space in a print book will be different.

    If you’re planning to weigh in on this (for fiction), I’ll just wait. Otherwise, do you have any top-of-the-head thoughts on the matter?

    As always, formatting should be to make the reading experience easy for a Kindle user (ie, don’t get in the way of reflowing the text as folks change font size), but can you think of variations within that that you’d care to mention?



    • Well, I wasn’t planning a post dedicated to the impact of formatting on KENPC, since as you say that would teach some people how to game the system. Whatever can be learned by testing this out will probably be short-lived, for as soon as a swarm start the practice and Amazon notices what’s going on, it will be very easy to change how KENPC is calculated (and then all that work may backfire).

      Note that a few authors have reported republishing the same exact book and obtaining a significantly different KENPC. (If true, a possible explanation is that Amazon is changing the KENPC calculation periodically, and the change was made between file submissions.)

      I’m pleased with my KENPC’s and see no reason to try to change them (or risk seeing them go down).

      Things that effective increase the number of lines are likely to effect the KENPC. White space isn’t supposed to (and if it does, that’s easy to fix; there are a number of HTML interpreters that ignore white space, whether blank lines or space before/after). Images effectively increase the number of lines.

      I wouldn’t mess with the formatting to try to game KENPC. I want the design of the book that’s most likely to (A) generate sales from the Look Inside (B) make the reader want to continue reading and (C) make the reader want to recommend the book to others. In my opinion, these things have a stronger impact on success.

      That said, I believe in a few cases, for fiction, some formatting changes that would improve readability would also improve KENPC. For example, a lengthy paragraph on a cell phone intimidates some audiences (perhaps not the audience looking for huge books), so writing in shorter paragraphs may be better both ways (formatting and KENPC) for many audiences. Similarly, breaking dialog up across multiple lines rather than one huge paragraph. I wouldn’t go overboard. I’d focus on readability, and if that happens to help KENPC, that’s a sweet surprise; I’d ignore KENPC all together when formatting.

      • Thanks, Chris. I knew I was dumping the question in the right person’s lap.

        The question was more of the ‘is there anything stupid I shouldn’t do with formatting’ rather than ‘how do I artificially inflate my KENPC’ variety.

        For example, I have just recently learned (from Jaye Manus) that the Look Inside you see is NOT justified – but the downloaded sample WILL be (if the formatter doesn’t mess things up). Apparently, Kindle justifies by default – but if you justify it yourself, you may disable that feature accidentally.

        For a while there, I thought the ragged right margins of the Look Inside feature were due to writers not knowing they should justify their text. So I learned.

        Jaye thinks there may be a way to have both the book (and sample) and the Look Inside be justifed. I’m waiting for that information. Meanwhile, I will supply jagged – and let Kindle justify – for the ebook.

        For a POD, I will justify – but Createspace works with pdfs, so you know exactly how the layout will look when you send it to them. There is where I will go for whatever beauty I think I can add. On the ebook, for example, Jaye strongly recommends against changing the default fonts – because it may disable the ability to choose and size fonts for the reader.

        So much to learn, so many little pieces to put together!

    • There are three schools of thought on Kindle body text alignment.

      1. Force justified (full). Depending on the program(s) used, this is fairly easy to manage, and results in a justified Look Inside. This is my preference, as I feel the Look Inside is a valuable sales tool.
      2. Don’t specify body text alignment at all in the HTML (or in a program like Word, set the style for Normal and other body text paragraph styles to left alignment, but don’t highlight those paragraphs and apply left alignment directly, and this will give the same effect). This will show as ragged right in the Look Inside, but automatically justify on the device or app, while also giving customers the freedom to read the book ragged right for those few customers who know how to get around the Kindle defaults. Some formatters like this with the latter in mind, but I can’t believe percentage-wise enough customers would benefit from that to offset the ragged right Look Inside.
      3. Force left alignment. This can be done easily in the HTML, but is trickier otherwise. Some typographers don’t like Kindle’s justification, and like some of the design benefits from ragged right. For example, you can be somewhat freer with the non-breaking space and non-breaking hyphen in this case. I’ve come to agree that Kindle e-books can look better in ragged right, but I almost always force justified (full) in my Kindle e-books because my personal feeling is that it will have a better impact on sales. Many customers expect the justified look from their experience with most traditionally published print books.

      I agree with leaving the font size and style in their default settings for body text when using a program like Word (though you need a larger font for headings). The best way, if you get into the HTML, is to remove all information about specific fonts, and set all the font sizes in em’s.

      • Definitely work in ems, not numbers, and the font size in % from the base default.

        But possibly you should note (for those who don’t know your work) that you are just starting to write fiction, and that most of your books so far are non-fiction, with a great number of them fixed-format non-fiction.

        My bent is, of course, fiction – and it makes a huge difference what you’re making these formatting decisions for.

        Other than that, no quibbles.

    • Fiction is formatted differently from nonfiction, though the bulk of both are generally justified, and almost all follow one of these 3 schools of thought. Novels are usually much simpler. You usually wouldn’t have to worry about bullet points, images, equations, and all the fun stuff. But when you get specific, i.e. a subgenre or subcategory, you can find a branch with significant exceptions to the rule, so the best thing (which I’m sure you’ve already done) is to sample similar books.

      I believe most of my books are reflowable. I strongly prefer that, and with all my new books, I now design them intending to create a reflowable Kindle edition in addition to print. My problem is years of work that was typeset without e-books in mind; often, it doesn’t make much sense to invest too much time adapting those complex layouts to Kindle, and so the KTC has looked very convenient. With my new books, it’s easy to format them with both options in mind, so that reflowable is very little work. I’d have saved myself a lot of formatting had I opted to write novels several years ago.😉

      • “I’d have saved myself a lot of formatting had I opted to write novels several years ago.”

        I can’t wait to see what kind of fiction your heart has decided to start with.

        I never had a choice. If I’m going to put that much effort into something, it’s going to be stories – like the stories that kept me from going crazy growing up odd.

        Other people don’t have my compulsion to read – ask my family. I was legendary.

  2. I was reading a thread in regards to KENP on formatting, and I’ve recently discovered a problem. I have two books of near-equal length. The longer one (by about 1000 words), however, actually has a smaller KENP than the shorter book. I emailed to ask why and they merely confirmed the KENP was right and they couldn’t divulge any secrets – incredibly unhelpful and not what I was asking. I’m one of those authors who has been fine with the new system because I thought it would reward longer word counts (I took off my comic, for example, because it amounted to nothing). But if word count is disregarded, I feel that there is in other choice than to change formatting so as to magically make the longer book actually longer in terms if KENP. Does that make sense, or would you advise otherwise? Several frustrating customer “service” replies later, I am as baffled as ever.

    • It’s not strictly based on word count, and most formatting won’t make a difference. It’s more like the number of lines. A lot of short paragraphs, as common with dialog, creates more lines, for example. I have dozens of books and find that it’s fairly consistent for me.

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