Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Thing About Kindle Unlimited #publishing #KU

On the 15th of July, my three short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply, Reboot and Hallow's Eve) will come out of Kindle Unlimited for good. Now, it's not because of the new payment system. No. I'd originally gone for KU in the hope of generating sales for my other non-KU stories. Because the KU payments were small, I wasn't tempted to put in longer works, but it was enough to tempt me to risk my three shorts. Since Amazon only pays 35% royalties on works under $2.99 (and no way am I charging that for something 10K in length or under), KU gave me a better payout and the hope that sales of my other works might follow.

They didn't. There was no boost to my other titles, and though I got paid more per borrow than per sale, I got fewer borrows than I had done sales, so it pretty much balanced out payment wise. Therefore it wasn't benefiting me in the way I'd hoped, and the exclusivity thing always makes me irritable. Unfortunately I forgot to untick the box to leave KU after 90 days, and so sentenced myself to a further 90.

The recent announcement of the uber-confusing changes to KU therefore didn't really bother me (confusing in that while I understand the theory of payment by page, the exact maths given to calculate that and the constantly fluctuating fund we get paid from means the amount per page remains unknown). I'd already decided to go, and the changes mean I have even less incentive to ever go back. I also don't plan to put in any future/longer titles since I'm selling on other platforms and I don't believe even the pay per page scheme with its incomprehensible maths and the uncertain value of the KU fund each month will be the better ROI (Return On Investment). I prefer to know for sure what I'm getting paid. It did, however, raise another aggravation I have with Amazon.

Returns. Now, although I've personally never returned a book, I know the 1-click thing makes it too easy to buy a book, and perhaps buy a book you didn't want. Or one you got charged more for than the advertised price. Or maybe someone read a bit past the sample they'd checked out on Amazon and decided the book wasn't for them after all. But there are certain people who buy a book on Amazon, read the whole thing and then return it, like Amazon is some kind of free library (and Amazon is fully aware of this). They get to read a book for free, without even paying a subscription. Sorry, but I think that's unfair.

So if Amazon can monitor how many pages of a Kindle book someone reads in KU, then why the heck can't they do the same for returns? If someone reads the entire book and Amazon can see that, then I feel it's simple enough for them to refuse to refund the book, or at least charge the reader something - perhaps the equivalent of the pay per page rate, as if the reader has used the KU system.

I totally get that sometimes someone will read part of a book and decide it's not for them after all. But if the book has been read in its entirety and then returned, I find it hard to believe there isn't something questionable about it. If I don't like a book, I certainly don't bother to keep reading to the end (life is too short to waste on a book I'm not enjoying, and there's plenty more books to choose from). I have no doubt that either way there will be unhappy authors or unhappy readers (no system is perfect) but I'd like to see more to discourage the trend of reading and returning rather than Amazon saying they do monitor for serial returners and penalize them.

In the meantime, you have just two more weeks to borrow my three short stories from KU before they come out forever (I believe there's no time limit on when you read them, just on how long they're available for you to click Borrow). My longer works are available at Scribd (where I know exactly what I'll get paid for each borrow), and my reclaimed short stories will be going up there once KU ends. Now that Draft2Digital has struck a deal with Oyster, I've put my titles into that too (I currently don't do this via Smashwords). With Oyster you can borrow or buy the book.

Will I ever use KU again? Unlikely. Even with the new pay scheme ensuring fairer pay on longer works, the uncertainty of the monthly fund and exactly what I might get per page read (and the system for assessing that isn't 100% accurate) and the fact it contributed nothing to my sales of other titles previously don't make it an attractive offer to me. The price of exclusivity does not give me a fair return on investment at this time.

Have you used KU as an author and/or a reader? What's your experience been?

Status Update

Keir's Fall, book two of Redemption, is still with my editor, with a possible November release date. I've been revising the side story (releasing early 2016) and a second Venus Ascendant story to follow Terms & Conditions Apply (as yet not scheduled for edits, but I hope to have that out in 2016 as well). I'm also working on three short stories for July Camp NaNoWriMo (starting tomorrow, eep!) for anthology calls all due for publication this year. O.O I still have two other SciFi romance shorts to complete as well, before I start revising book three of the Redemption series. I hope to have the Redemption series completed by the end of 2017, although books four and five aren't even whole drafts at this time. I do, however, know how they end...


It's week five of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe, and it's our Supernova serving - hotter than hot SciFi romance and erotica. Go HERE. Then there will be just one more week with another round of Space Opera before the Cafe closes for this year.

Since I only had two comments on my post for the Summer Cafe last week, I've decided to be generous and gift books to both visitors (see what you miss if you don't comment? Lol). Congrats to Riley and Carol, who receive the digital formats of their choice from my titles.

Today is the last day to enter the Goodreads giveaway for Keir. It's also the last day to pick it up from NetGalley to read and review (and to vote on the cover) HERE.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Keir by Pippa Jay


 by Pippa Jay

 Giveaway ends June 30, 2015.
 See the giveaway details at  Goodreads.
Enter to Win

My review of Liza O'Connor's first book in a new SciFi series goes live HERE tomorrow. If you're a fan of Douglas Adams you should check it out! Liza will be guest blogging about The Gods of Probabilities at Spacefreighters Lounge in two weeks time.

And in just under three weeks my monsters will break up for the seven week summer holiday, and I plan to take the whole of August off to read and spend time with my not so little ones. For anyone who was interested in my conversion of a Monster High doll into my hero Keir, a weekly post will be going up at my Tumblr blog HERE during the holidays, starting Wednesday 22nd July, and there will be an exclusive reveal of my second doll conversion too. I'll also be posting more reviews at Critique de Book as and when I can. Funny to think that this time last year I had two releases upcoming for July and August - my first with the now sadly closed Breathless Press. How things can change in a year!



  1. I've also withdrawn from KU. In fact, when Amazon changed the rules, it also allowed people to opt out of KU before the 90 days were up. I wrote to them, asking to withdraw the story and they did that.

    I agree with you about the returns policy. Two weeks is far too long. In fact, they allowed somebody to return books 2 YEARS after purchase. They were my books, but the returns were against a small publisher I'd been with. Her protests were met with the usual standard responses.

    I think returns are fine within a couple of days - we all make mistakes. But using the Zon as a lending library is just a rip off.

    1. I'm okay with letting it run to the end of the 90 days - it makes very little difference taking all the numbers into consideration. And it gives me time to set them up on the retailers they weren't on previously.
      The returns suck. When I can see it's done within a day or so, I think fair enough. After that not so much (though goodness knows I have books on my Kindle from over a year ago! But those are generally free ones). Again, if Amazon can see they're unread, or mostly unread, fair enough, but if it's been read over 90%, it shouldn't get a full refund at the very least.


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