By Mark Coker
Last Friday in a bit of news that was missed by most indie authors, Amazon quietly announced that because they’re pricing their Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription service at $3.00 per month in India, authors will now earn less.
I’m sorry to say I predicted such a devaluation back in March in an interview with the International Publishers Association titled, Not all Subscription Services are Created Equal. In that interview I warned there was nothing stopping Amazon from waking up one day and deciding that their $9.99 subscription service should be priced at $3.00 instead. So now it’s happening in India. Amazon hints it will happen in other countries too.
Was I prophetic? Not really. None of this should come as a surprise, yet thousands of authors will be surprised once they realize the slippery slope that is KDP Select. It’s an inevitable outcome when authors surrender full pricing and compensation control (via their KDP Select enrollment) to a company whose entire business model is predicated upon commoditizing and devaluing products by stripping suppliers of pricing control. Amazon does this in the name of offering customers the lowest possible prices.
Is Amazon Working to Kill Single Copy Ebook Sales?
There’s another potentially more insidious form of devaluation taking place, and sadly the indie author community (which supplies the bulk of KU titles) is Amazon’s unwitting accomplice.
Kindle Unlimited is training readers to think that single-copy ebook purchases are too expensive.
In my Oyster and the KDP Select Party Train post, I shared screen shots of how Kindle Unlimited makes even 99 cent single-copy purchases look expensive when the same book can be read for free under Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.
Six days following my Party Train post, bestselling indie fantasy author Randoph Lalonde reported that he has received hate mail from Kindle Unlimited subscribers who refuse to purchase his books unless he makes them available for free as part of their Kindle Unlimited subscription. Wow.
Like many indie authors, Randoph Lalonde prices his full-length series starters at free and prices the rest of his books at $2.99 and $3.99. He writes great books and earns great reviews, but suddenly now for a small but apparently growing subset of readers spoiled by Kindle Unlimited, his books are too expensive. Crazy.
Kindle Unlimited is crucifying single copy sales upon the altar of greed and gluttony.
Enjoy your single copy sales while they last.
As I’ve written previously, indie authors have the power to prevent this bleak future. All they need to do is stop enrolling their books in KDP Select before it’s too late. Spread the word.