Kindle Unlimited Back Above Half a Penny Per Page

Image from ShutterStock.

Image from ShutterStock.

KINDLE UNLIMITED

I remember, many months ago, when the Kindle Unlimited per-page rate first dropped below half a penny per page. This was early after the switch to paying for pages read.

There were many prophecies that it would continue to plunge deeper and deeper and would soon be worthless.

Yet many months later, it has again exceeded half a penny per page (though barely). Not only that, the KENP read rate has held fairly steady for eight months.

All the while, the KDP Select Global Fund has climbed up to $16.2 million, though it had been several million lower when the transition to pages read was made.

Both are signs that Kindle Unlimited is thriving.

Update:  If you’re looking for the exact figure, it is $0.005189724 per KENP read.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

Kindle Unlimited vs. the Naysayers #PoweredByIndie

Images from ShutterStock

Images from ShutterStock

KINDLE UNLIMITED: CURRENT STATUS

Back in January, Kindle Unlimited had taken a little dip (which happens every holiday season), and the naysayer propaganda was in full force.

It’s now October. For the year 2016, Kindle Unlimited has beaten the propaganda.

  • Paying $0.00497 per KENP page read for September, Kindle Unlimited has been amazingly stable since February.  That’s 8 months strong.
  • Presently at a relative high of nearly half a penny per Kindle page read, the payout hasn’t suffered the continual drop that had been predicted. There have been some pleasant jumps, and not just with the September payout.
  • Here’s another cool fact: There are now 1.4 million books enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. There were 860,000 books enrolled in February, 2015.  That’s an increase of over half a million books in 1.5 years (a 60% increase). Remember all the stories about indie authors running for the hills? The data shows otherwise.
  • My favorite number is $15.9 million. That’s the KDP Select Global Fund for September, 2016, another of many record highs. Amazon continues to pay more and more money in Kindle Unlimited royalties. Amazon will pay close to $200,000,000 in royalties for Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime borrows for the year 2016 (that’s aside from the royalties for the sales of those books; we’re just talking borrows), and that’s in addition to what they pay for All-Star bonuses (that’s right, the All-Star bonus isn’t taken out of the Global Fund, it’s paid in addition to it; I asked KDP about this specific point).

$200 million in royalties for Kindle Unlimited pages read in one year: That’s a significant share of the e-book market, and a rather indie-friendly share, too.

The continued rise in the KDP Select Global Fund and a fairly stable payout of just under a half-penny per page (though it will probably take its usual dip in December and January, and then likely return next February) suggest that the Kindle Unlimited customer base continues to grow. A great sign.

With 1.4 million books to choose from, with nearly 50,000 added just in the last 30 days, there is also growing competition for this customer base. The way to deal with the increased competition is to keep writing, try to write better, and try to improve your marketing skills. Competition is a good sign. It helps to bring in more customers, and it shows that this market is worth competing for. Good writing and marketable ideas help to provide good long-term prospects.

Celebrate Great Indie Writing with the #PoweredByIndie Hashtag in October, 2016

You can find some great indie writing in Kindle Unlimited, for example.

Many of those 1.4 million books were self-published. There are 100,000 or so traditionally published books in the mix, too; it’s not exclusive to self-publishing. But indie authors have really helped to make Kindle Unlimited strong enough to attract and grow a significant customer base.

Kindle Unlimited, in a strong way, really is #PoweredByIndie. But we must also give credit to Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Amazon’s imprints, and other great titles, too, to help attract customers. It’s great writing that attracts customers, regardless of how it is published.

Strive for great writing and good things are bound to happen.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Kindle Unlimited Pages Read: March, 2016

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KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ: MARCH, 2016

The Kindle Unlimited per-page rate held steady at $0.00477885 for March, 2016. It’s nearly identical to the $0.00479 for February, 2016.

Both February and March are up considerably (about 17%) over January’s rate of $0.00411.

So it’s nice to see the per-page rate hold steady at about $0.0048 per page.

There is more good news: The KDP Select Global Fund increased to $14.9M for March, 2016, up 6% from February’s $14M.

This combination is a good sign. Ordinarily, the Global Fund increases when the per-page rate decreases, and the Global Fund decreases when the per-page rate increases. The per-page rate and Global Fund usually exhibit inverse behavior, as shown here.

This time, the per-page rate held steady while the Global Fund increased 6%. Amazon paid $900,000 more in March compared to February, and they paid it at the same per-page rate.

What does this mean? It means that more pages were read in March, and Amazon didn’t reduce the per-page rate to compensate. It’s probably a sign of more Kindle Unlimited subscriptions.

With KDP Select books earning $14.9M in royalties per month just from Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime borrows, it’s clear that Kindle Unlimited has become a huge market. Any book not enrolled in KDP Select is missing out on this $15M per month market share, and needs to make up the difference through other venues. Not an easy task, though sales and even borrows usually don’t come easily.

The Kindle Unlimited market itself is highly competitive, with 1.3M books vying for a share of the approximately $15M monthly Global Fund. (But vying against 1.3M books for a slice of $15M is better than vying against 4.4M e-books for sales. The market for sales is much tougher than the market for borrows. The borrows actually help with potential sales, as each borrow helps sales rank.)

This means the average KDP Select book earns about $11 per month from borrows ($15M divided by 1.3M books), though hardly any books actually draw in this exact average. The top books, the KDP Select All-Stars, see a million or more pages read in many cases.

If your book gets over 2300 pages read per month, it’s doing better than the average KDP Select book. (That’s how many pages read it takes to earn the average $11 per month.)

A few other countries:

  • United Kingdom: £0.00303 per page (British pounds). Almost identical to February.
  • Canada: $0.0047 per page (Canadian dollars).
  • India: ₹0.1 per page (Indian rupees).

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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What I Love about Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) via KDP

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AMAZON MARKETING SERVICES FOR KDP

My post will include both the benefits and challenges of using Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) to advertise Kindle e-books.

I don’t intend for my title to imply that it will give instant success to all books. It won’t.

I will begin with what I like about AMS—for which there is much—and then I will address some of the challenges and offer tips for attempting to use it effectively.

A few years before AMS was introduced to KDP, I had discovered the Amazon Media Group. Many big vendors for a wide variety of products have used and continue to use the Amazon Media Group’s advertising services.

I had a conversation with the Amazon Media Group about their advertising services several years ago about possibly running an advertising campaign for one or more of my books.

This was before indie authors had the opportunity to advertise directly on Amazon using AMS via KDP Select.

The problem was that the minimum campaign budget was $10,000. If I recall correctly, an ad would generate 10,000,000 impressions over the course of a month.

If you achieved a typical click-through rate (ctr) of 0.1%, you would net 10,000 visitors to your product page. If you achieved a better than average closing rate of 10%, you would net 1000 sales.

But then you would need to earn $10 per sale just to break even.

And if your ctr was below average, or if your closing rate was 1% to 5%, which isn’t uncommon for e-books, and if your royalty was around $2 to $3 per book, you could easily lose thousands of dollars on the deal.

I didn’t place an ad back then because it was very high risk. I’ve since heard stories of a few authors who shelled out the big bucks for a campaign back in those days who lost big.

That’s one reason I love the AMS option for Kindle e-books.

A minimum campaign budget of $100 is tiny compared to $10,000. AMS made advertising accessible to KDP authors. (It used to be just for KDP Select, but now it’s for all Kindle e-books.)

It’s much lower risk now. It basically wasn’t an option before, as most authors didn’t know about it and those who did generally couldn’t afford it (even if they had the funds, the risk was high).

And you don’t even have to spend the $100 budget. You can pause or terminate your campaign at any time, keeping any losses to a minimum. (Though there are reporting delays, so even after you end a campaign, for several days it can continue to accrue costs. By not bidding too high, you minimize this risk.)

Every author naturally wonders if advertising will help. Now by publishing an e-book with KDP, you can find out, and it doesn’t cost too much to see the results (provided that you don’t get impatient and bid too high). Then you won’t have to wonder if advertising is the answer you’ve been searching for: You’ll know firsthand.

Here’s another thing I love about AMS.

You can advertise your Kindle e-book right on Amazon itself.

That’s prime real estate.

People who see your ad are already at Amazon, shopping for products, with their wallets out, ready to make a purchase.

When you advertise your book anywhere else, your ad is basically asking people to stop whatever they are presently doing, leave the website they’re currently at, and visit Amazon to shop for a book.

For several years, indie authors have pleaded for a reasonably priced advertising option at Amazon.

Well, here it is.

What AMS is and what it isn’t.

Advertising with AMS via KDP is an opportunity. It’s a tool.

Like the opportunity to self-publish on Amazon itself, and like all other marketing tools, some authors and some books will utilize it more effectively than others.

It will work well for some books, okay for some books, and poorly for others.

What AMS isn’t:

  • It’s not a magic genie.
  • It won’t yield instant success for each and every book. (But for some books it will help.)
  • It probably isn’t the solution for a book that hasn’t been selling on its own. (But you sure can find out.)
  • It’s not guaranteed to provide a positive return on investment (ROI).

If AMS were guaranteed to yield 100% ROI, every author would use it, and then we might as well wrap up every customer in the world with wallpaper packed with Amazon ads.

Using AMS effectively comes with some challenges.

AMS won’t bring instant, automatic success to most books.

But for many books, there exists some beneficial way to use it effectively.

Here are the challenges:

  • Landing a decent impression rate when many other authors are also running ads for similar books.
  • Not bidding more than you can afford to bid.
  • Getting a strong conversion rate.
  • Earning a positive return on investment (ROI).

Too many authors don’t use AMS as effectively as they could:

  • Blindly using KDP’s recommended bid, which is fairly high.
  • Impatiently raising the bid.
  • Not running enough controlled experiments to learn how to optimize the variables.
  • Not using enough creativity with targeting methods.
  • Bidding more than they can afford to bid.
  • Not being content with a low impression rate, if that’s all you can afford and manage to get out of it.

I see many authors make one or more of these mistakes, and then terminate their campaigns.

But you don’t need to terminate your campaign. Your last resort is to greatly reduce your bid and accept whatever impression rate you can afford, even if it’s meager. It may not be what you want, but if it doesn’t yield a negative ROI, even rare impressions are better than nothing, and you only pay for clicks.

On top of this, your ad is competing against authors who have a distinct advantage:

  • Series authors have the potential to generate multiple sales from a single click. They can afford to bid higher, banking on those future sales.
  • Authors with several similar books also have the potential for multiple sales. They can also afford to bid higher.
  • Successful authors know they will have ample royalties from regular sales even if the ad performs poorly. They are playing with the house’s money, so to speak.
  • Some authors use advertising for other purposes besides immediate profits. They might bid higher, not minding a short-term loss, with their sights set on branding or building an initial fan base.

And then your ad also competes against newbie authors who don’t have an advertising advantage, but who bid much higher than they should.

Here are suggestions for how to optimize AMS advertisements.

My first tips are:

  • Be very, very patient.
  • Bid very low to begin with.
  • Always wait a few days before raising your bid to allow for possible reporting delays. Even better, wait a week.
  • Only raise your bid very slightly. I’m talking pennies.
  • Don’t be in a hurry. Waiting diminishes your risk, and makes it easier to assess what may or may not be working.
  • Run multiple campaigns for the same book.* With one campaign, use narrow targeting where customers are very likely to be interested in your book. In an experimental campaign, try to be a little more creative with your targeting, thinking of other kinds of books or non-book products which are likely to appeal to your target audience.**
  • Your bid isn’t the only factor, or necessarily the most important factor, in landing impressions. Amazon measures ad performance. Good targeting and product page appeal can improve your ad performance. If you get a strong initial click rate, your ad can generate more impressions at a lower bid. This is one reason that raising the bid often isn’t the solution. Instead, you should strive to improve your targeting and improve your product page to help improve on ad performance metrics.

* Don’t worry: Your campaigns won’t bid against one another. Any campaigns on your KDP account won’t bid against any other campaigns on your same KDP account.

** Beware though that if the targeting isn’t relevant enough, if you get fewer than about 1 click per 2000 impressions, your campaign is likely to be stopped by Amazon. This doesn’t mean you can’t explore though.

Following are some more tips:

  • Don’t use ellipsis (…) or hyphens (-), for example, in your advertising phrase as these might be considered grammatical errors (!), preventing your ad from displaying on Kindle devices.
  • Read your ad approval email carefully, just in case there are any notes about your ad not being displayed on certain devices.
  • Experiment by running additional ad campaigns. Explore your targeting options. Analyze your data. Try to find the magic combination that will help you learn how to advertise more effectively.
  • If you’re getting fewer than 1 click per 2000 impressions, it probably means that either your targeting isn’t a good fit for your book or you cover isn’t attracting your target audience. Challenge yourself to improve your click-through rate. Although you don’t pay for impressions, this is a sign that your ad could perform better.
  • If you’re getting fewer than 1 sale per 20 clicks, it probably means that either your product page doesn’t match customers’ expectations based on your cover or advertising phrase, or that your product page isn’t closing the deal as effectively as it could. Maybe it’s the blurb or the Look Inside, for example. Challenge yourself to make your product page more effective.
  • If your impression rate is very slow for a couple of weeks, it could be a sign of poor scoring on ad performance metrics. If your initial click rate is low, try pausing the ad and running a new one in its place. But it could also mean that you should try to improve your targeting relevance or improve your cover or product page appeal or keywords or categories. You have so many variables to play with, it can take a while to learn how to optimize them.
  • You could have a higher ROI than you realize. The ad report currently doesn’t show Kindle Unlimited borrows or paperback sales. Customers may also buy other of your books in the future. If you can just break even, approximately, it will probably be worth it in the long run.
  • You don’t have to spend the whole $100 minimum budget. You can pause or terminate your ad at any time. If you’re losing money with your ad, don’t be afraid to stop it. But realize that due to reporting delays, you may continue to accrue clicks for several days after stopping your ad. The lower your bid, the less your risk. (If you bid very high, you can blow your whole budget long before it shows in your ad report. Another reason to bid low and exercise patience.)
  • Note that you can now copy an ad to preserve your original targeting when placing a new ad.
  • Avoid pausing or terminating an ad that’s performing well. An ad that’s generating good results has a high score on ad performance, and it’s hard to rebuild that ad performance. If things are going well, don’t touch your ad with a ten-foot pole. Well, you should edit the end date as needed so that the ad doesn’t expire.
  • Note that product targeting doesn’t actually target the products that you select. Rather, it targets customers who have browsed for similar products in the past. So if you target sci-fi books, your ad could show up on a romance page. If so, it means that the customer has viewed both romance and sci-fi books (at least once) in the past. Still, by targeting sci-fi books, your ad is being shown to customers who have viewed other sci-fi books in the past.

What do I know about advertising through AMS?

How do I know? Fair question:

  • I have placed over 100 ads through AMS via KDP over the past 14 months.
  • It took me a few dozen tries to get it to really work, but overall my last 70 ads have done well on average.
  • One ad has generated over 6,000,000 impressions and 3,000 clicks at an average cost of $0.28 per click.
  • I have several ads (more than 25) which each have accumulated over 1,000,000 impressions.
  • Overall, AMS has worked very well for me.

This doesn’t mean that you will have instant success with advertising. I’ve tried to share tips that I’ve learned from my experience, but you will likely need some experience of your own.

There is something to gain no matter what.

Even if your ad loses money:

  • You get information about what percentage of visitors to your product page actually make a purchase. This is valuable information. 10% is well above average. Strive for that. At around 5% or below, you know firsthand that your product page has room for improvement. Knowing that the best covers, blurbs, and Look Insides can close 10% of the time gives you a lofty target.
  • You discover that advertising wasn’t the magic answer you had been hoping for. At least you learned it’s something else. Is it your cover? blurb? Look Inside? Maybe the idea just isn’t marketable.
  • If you change your cover, blurb, or Look Inside, by running a new ad, you could invest a little money to get valuable data: You can find out whether or not the changes you made improve your closing rate (sales divided by clicks).
  • Although you should terminate an ad that’s losing money, you did get your cover and name out there, and you did get visitors to your product page. This is branding. You at least have hope for a few future sales. And if your ad drew in short-term sales, maybe a few of those customers will buy more of your books in the future, or even recommend your book to others. You gained some hope, if nothing else.

Advertising with AMS is relatively low risk, especially if you bid low and keep a close eye on your reports, prepared to exit early if need be.

Good luck!

Write happy, be happy. :-)

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Countdown Deals and KDP Select Free Promos: What’s the Current Status?

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Image from ShutterStock.

COUNTDOWN DEALS & KDP SELECT FREE PROMOS

WHAT’S THE VALUE IN 2016?

The effectiveness of Kindle Countdown Deals and free promos for e-books enrolled in KDP Select has changed over time.

In the beginning, when KDP Select free promos were first introduced, they were highly effective, often being grabbed by the thousands without any effort on the part of the author. But the success of unadvertised free promos dwindled quickly, as more and more authors began giving away their e-books away for free and as the perceived value diminished from the customer’s perspective. For a couple of years, free promos seemed to have a bad rap.

When the Kindle Countdown Deal came along, many authors who had previously used the KDP Select free promos switched to Countdown Deals. This actually helped in a couple of ways:

  • There were fewer free e-books on the market, since you can’t run a free promo during the same 90-day enrollment period in which you run a Countdown Deal.
  • Many authors raised their prices, so there were also fewer e-books priced at 99 cents and $1.99. You need a higher price point in order to take advantage of a Countdown Deal.

One consequence is that the KDP Select free promo became somewhat more effective. Fewer authors were complaining about free e-books, with fewer freebies on the market, and fewer customers were stockpiling more freebies than they could possibly read.

The free promo has never returned to its original effectiveness. In most cases, it’s not even close. But it has rebounded somewhat, and can be used effectively.

Neither the KDP Select free promo nor the Kindle Countdown Deal are likely to provide desirable results if unadvertised:

  • It can help greatly to get external promotion from BookBub, E-reader News Today, or one of the top e-book promotion sites. (BookBub is the one site where paying a hefty fee has reasonable potential. For other sites, I recommend free or very low cost, and doing research off-site before any investing.)
  • It can also help to gain free exposure from bloggers, fellow authors, or websites that share an audience similar to yours. (Here, I recommend free and organic.)

But you can find more value than just immediate sales.

For example, here are a couple of things that you can learn from running a Countdown Deal:

  • Are you considering a lower price point? Run an unadvertised Countdown Deal to test the waters. If you don’t earn more royalties during the period of the promotional price than you normally would, then you know that lowering the price isn’t the solution to your sales woes.
  • Does an Amazon Giveaway (now available to e-books from US product pages) or does AMS advertising help with short-term sales during a Countdown Deal? If you have data for a Countdown Deal where you didn’t run a giveaway or advertisement, this gives you the basis for comparison.

Sometimes, a KDP Select free promo or Countdown Deal might be geared toward branding your image as author or helping to build an initial fan base to the extent that you may be okay with a short-term loss, with your sights set toward long-term gains. (But you want to minimize any short-term losses, and you want to have effective long-term marketing in place, such a content-rich website that can generate hundreds of visitors per day after about 12 months. Otherwise, you may never recover your loss.)

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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Kindle Unlimited KENP Read up 17%!

Kindle Unlimited up 17 percent

IMPROVEMENT IN KENP READ RATE

Here is some good news for KDP Select authors and for Kindle Unlimited subscribers (indirectly, since this good news for authors benefits the readers, too).

The KENP pages read rate rose up to $0.00479 per page in February, 2016 up from $0.00411 per page in January, 2016.

It’s not because there were 2 more days in January. (Being leap year, there were 29 days this February.) The ratio 29/31 would only account for less than half the difference.

We had two reasons to expect the KENP per-page rate to increase:

  • KENPC v2.0 began February 1, 2016, with a perceived decrease on average. A small reduction to the total number of KENP pages available to be read would result in a corresponding increase in the per-page rate.
  • January, 2016 appeared to reflect holiday traffic. It’s typical for some of that holiday traffic to taper somewhat. The per-page rate dipped a bit in the holidays with a high volume of pages read, and the per-page rate rose back up following the holidays.

Regardless of the reason, and regardless of how long this lasts, a 17% boost to the KENP per-page rate for Kindle Unlimited (and Amazon Prime) borrows is nice to see.

The KDP Select Global Fund dropped 6.7%, down to $14M in February, 2016 from $15M in January, 2016. This is probably due to a decrease in the overall volume of Kindle Unlimited pages read following the holiday season.

In other countries:

  • United Kingdom: £0.00305 per page (British pounds). Up 16% from December’s £0.00262.
  • France: €0.00474 per page (Euro).
  • Spain: €0.00474 per page (Euro).
  • Canada: $0.00499 per page (Canadian dollars).
  • India: ₹0.104 per page (Indian rupees).

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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

Image from ShutterStock.

Image from ShutterStock.

KENP: PAYMENT FOR PAGES READ

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

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Ideas for Children’s Books in Kindle Unlimited

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Image from ShutterStock.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS IN KINDLE UNLIMITED

Now that Kindle Unlimited is paying KDP Select books based on the number of Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) read, children’s books—especially illustrated kids’ books—appear to be among those most affected.

Illustrated children’s authors with books enrolled in KDP Select basically have three options:

  • Opt your illustrated children’s books out of KDP Select. (Uncheck the automatic renewal box. Wait until the 90-day period has expired. Now you can publish elsewhere. But beware that not all other e-book platforms are equally picture-friendly. You might want to do some research and formatting before you decide to make the switch.)
  • Leave your books enrolled in KDP Select, and either complain about the change or feel frustrated without complaining—or try your best to ignore it—or hope that your book will be engaging enough to help get more pages read. (You probably don’t want to complain publicly in such a way that it may hurt your brand among your potential audience. Sending a polite suggestion to Amazon KDP or organizing a petition are private ways to express your opinion and try to instigate a little change.)
  • Leave your books enrolled in KDP Select, and find ways to make the most of the new program.

For those who choose option three, I have a few ideas that may help. Maybe my suggestions will inspire yet another idea of your own.

HOW TO GET MORE USE OUT OF YOUR PICTURES

This is something I saw in some books before Kindle Unlimited changed, but the idea has even greater value now.

A couple of Kindle Unlimited books that I borrowed for my daughter found a creative way to get more mileage out of the pictures.

It has marketing potential, and also helps with the new KENP read policy.

The idea is simple: Show how the pictures were made.

It’s easy to do: When you create your images—or when your illustrator makes your images—take pictures of those images to show the stages in which they are made.

Here’s what you do with them: Add them to the end of your book, showing one step at a time how to draw the pictures. You can add a little text, too, describing the process.

It’s a win-win-win situation:

  • Kids to get read a book and learn how to draw pictures.
  • Parents get added value in that their kids practice reading and learn drawing skills.
  • Authors benefit by adding several extra pages to their Kindle e-books.

It’s not just stuffing pages at the end of the book. These pages offer valuable content—showing how to draw pictures—which potentially adds to reader engagement.

More pages read means a greater royalty earned through Kindle Unlimited.

HOW TO ADD ENGAGING CONTENT TO YOUR CHILDREN’S BOOK

Here is another way to add engaging content to your children’s book.

How do parents know if their children paid attention or understood the story?

A few multiple choice questions following each story could help parents assess reading comprehension. They can check their answers if you use a footnote or endnote for the answer key.

You can also add a vocabulary key after the story to review important terms, or test if kids can figure out the meaning from the context.

There are all kinds of ways that you can add questions or exercises to add educational value to your entertaining stories. This might help differentiate your KDP self-published book from similar traditionally published books that only have stories.

BUNDLING CHILDREN’S BOOKS TOGETHER

Bundling doesn’t help by simply adding pages. Those extra pages are more work, and only pay if the pages are read.

Furthermore, whether you write one 200-page book or eight 25-page books, either way you write 200 pages—and if a customer reads all 200 pages, you get paid the same whether they are bundled or not.

But where bundling can help is with (A) convenience and (B) perceived value.

It’s more convenient to read another story when it’s already in the same book. It’s inconvenient to have to return to the Kindle Store to buy the author’s next book.

If your stories are engaging, you’re more likely to get your next story read if the customer doesn’t have to find your other book.

Kindle Unlimited customers also see more value in downloading a collection than borrowing one short story.

The bundle may even help with sales, if there is a discount compared to buying the individual titles.

I would sell both the individual titles and the bundle. It gives you more exposure. The individual titles are more likely to be discovered in searches on Amazon, as you can customize 2 categories and 7 keywords for each individual title. Once they click on your author name, customers can then discover your bundle.

You can also mention your bundle after the story in your individual books. If they liked the story, maybe they will try your bundle.

But note this:

  • If your bundle is in KDP Select, your individual titles must be exclusive to Amazon.
  • If your individual titles are in KDP Select, the bundle must also be exclusive to Amazon.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

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

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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How many books were borrowed through Kindle Unlimited?

Image from Shutterstock.

Image from Shutterstock.

KINDLE UNLIMITED BORROWS

Amazon KDP now shows the number of pages read (KENP read, or Kindle Edition Normalized Pages read).

The KDP reports no longer show the number of books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.

Although it’s nice to see the number of pages read, this data would be more meaningful if we knew how many books were borrowed.

That way, if you saw 200 KENP read in your report, you would know if 1 person read 200 pages or if 4 people each read 50 pages.

There is a way to get more information, though not quite as much as you might like:

  • Visit your Sales Dashboard at KDP by clicking Reports.
  • (Note the blue circle with the question mark at the top right. It doesn’t work presently, but it may be a sign of more information to come.)
  • Scroll down to the very bottom and click the Generate Report button.
  • Open the spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel (for example).
  • Scroll down to the very bottom of the spreadsheet.
  • Note that there are three tabs: (1) Royalty Report (2) Orders Report (3) KU-KOLL Unit Report.
  • Click on the middle tab, Orders Report.
  • This shows the breakdown of KENP read per book per country per day. (It also breaks down your sales.)

Unfortunately, the third tab (KU-KOLL Unit Report) stops after June 30. It sounds like what you want, but it’s not for July.

The middle tab (Orders Report) provides a helpful breakdown. But it’s inconvenient to get there, and it still doesn’t show you quite what you want.

Maybe this will improve. I’ve heard from hundreds of authors who would like to see the number of borrows in the reports.

But it doesn’t help to tell me. Visit Amazon KDP and click on the Contact Us button in the corner. It took a long time and a large number of requests, but reporting has changed in the past and we have pre-orders—authors have requested these features for years and they finally came. If you want something, ask for it. Otherwise, how will they know what you want?

Why doesn’t the report show the number of borrows?

There are a few theories for why the reports don’t show the number of Kindle Unlimited (or Amazon Prime) borrows.

Perhaps they just forgot or didn’t realize its importance. That seems doubtful. But perhaps.

Maybe most customers don’t start reading the book after they download it, and Amazon doesn’t want authors to freak out when they see several borrows, but zero pages read.

But that has an easy fix: Don’t show all borrows; just show borrows where the book has actually been opened.

However, what if many customers only read a few pages and discard the book. It could happen, since there really is no incentive for Kindle Unlimited customers to check out the Look Inside. Since they can read for free, they might just download it and skip the middle man.

It might not be a sign that the book is bad. It might just be a matter of taste. Oh, I didn’t realize this was a mystery. Oops! A mere 3 pages read.

Knowledge is power, though. If we see that most customers are only getting partway through our books, wouldn’t we feel inclined to try to make our books more engaging?

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

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

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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New Kindle Unlimited Survey for Authors (Got a Minute?)

Image from ShutterStock.

Image from ShutterStock.

KINDLE UNLIMITED 2.0: BETTER OR WORSE?

Here a few quick questions about the new Kindle Unlimited policy.

If you’re an author, please complete this brief survey. You can view the results after you vote.

(If you’re not an author, you can still view the results without voting. Just click where it says, “View results.”)

Kindle Unlimited now pays royalties to KDP Select books based on pages read (KENP read) instead of a flat rate per borrow.

Do you like the new Kindle Unlimited policy or the old policy better?

Which of the following options best describes your reaction to the new Kindle Unlimited pages read policy?

The best way to track whether or not the total number of KDP Select books is increasing or decreasing is to periodically check the enrollment numbers at Amazon. (This way you can also check on specific categories.)

This survey will remain available. Feel free to return and check the results after more authors have taken it.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

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

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Comments

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