Pay-per-page revolution in Kindle

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Authors will earn every time someone turns the virtual page

This July, Amazon is changing the payment models in Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Instead of paying royalties based on the number of titles people download, the e-retailer will pay authors for pages that are actually read from their book.

“We’re making this switch in response to great feedback we received from authors who asked us to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read. Under the new payment method, you’ll be paid for each page individual customers read of your book, the first time they read it.” explains Amazon on their website.

To determine a book’s page count in a way that works across genres and devices, Amazon has developed the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) which calculates KENPC based on standard settings (e.g. font, line height, line spacing, etc.). The KENPC will measure the number of pages customers read a book, starting with the Start Reading Location (SRL) to the end of it.The company is planning to typically set SRL at chapter 1 so readers can start reading the core content of your book as soon as they open it.

The company provides all the details of the new payout in a statement on its website:

Here are some examples of how it would work if the fund was $10M and 100,000,000 total pages were read in the month:

  • The author of a 100 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
  • The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million multiplied by 20,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
  • The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).

This switch in the payment modes has triggered some criticism among authors. Kirsten Reach, the editor at Melville House, points out that if subscribers are taking out books without getting around to reading them, Amazon will pocket the subscription rate, and KU authors will not even receive a penny. This view is also supported by C.E. Kilgore, a self-published author of Science Fiction, who says on her blog:

“In short, these new terms from Kindle Select are going to piss off the short-novel writers, give a ‘meh’ feeling to the mainstream writers, and make those that game the system find ways to ‘fluff’ their page counts. Think about that for a moment – how many pages could you add to your book and what ways could you use to keep the reader clicking that ‘next page’ button to earn you more per-page earnings?”

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Pay-per-page revolution in Kindle