Last week Amazon unveiled a new promotional tool for authors and publishers – Kindle Unlimited (KU). The service offers readers who pay $9.99/mo unlimited access to a catalog of 600,000 titles in the Kindle library. This isn’t the first time a subscription reading model has been tried online. Companies like Scribd and Oyster have had very similar offerings for some time now.
On the surface KU is an interesting option for avid readers–Pay $9.99/mo and read as much as you’d like. Browsing the initial offerings we found a small but growing selection of popular books by best-selling authors. For example, the entire Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series are included in the service. However, it seems that many large publishing companies haven’t yet jumped on board, which shouldn’t be surprising given the recent fight Amazon has had with larger publishers over revenue splits.
On the surface KU is an interesting option for avid readers tweet
This is good news and bad news for independent authors and publishers. The good news is that KU is another nice promotional tool that Amazon has given authors who otherwise might not the time or money to promote their works. The bad news is that KU is being offered as a subset of KDP Select, which means in order to get your book listed in the Unlimited catalog you’ll have to sell exclusively on Amazon.com.
The fact that larger publishers aren’t jumping on board, at least initially, isn’t a good sign either, because as the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all ships,” and without the added demand that books by best-selling authors would bring to the service, it’s unlikely that droves of people are going to flock to the service as Amazon hopes they will.
The lack of support from larger publishers and the exclusivity agreement make KU a tough sell right now tweet
So, should an independent author/publisher make the jump to KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited? Right now, we’d have to say no, even though we love free promo tools, and Amazon is the leader in offering such tools to authors. The lack of support from larger publishers and the exclusivity agreement make KU a tough sell right now. But if those larger publishers get on board and the service increases in popularity we’d definitely be interested in considering KU as a viable option for independent authors and publishers.