The world of self-publishing is about to undergo a pretty big shift, set forth by the world’s biggest publisher: Amazon.
In a message posted on its website last week, the company announced plans to dramatically alter the way it rewards authors that are enrolled in its Kindle Unlimited program. As of July 1st will be compensated based solely on the number of pages of their book that have been read by the consumer.
“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,” the message said.
Previously the pay-out to the author was triggered when the reader had reached the 10% mark in the book, no matter what the overall length of the book was. Some ‘smart’ authors learned how to work the system by publishing a larger number of shorter books, thus earning them the same as if they would have published one lengthy book.
To further ensure that authors get paid an appropriate amount, Amazon is using a pretty complex calculation to work out future royalty payments. Amazon has developed the “Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count” which is basically an algorithm that standardizes elements of a book such as font size and line spaces. This creates even more checks and balances for the self-publisher.
Of course there has been an uproar in the indie publishing community. Hari Kunzru, the author of The Impressionist said the Amazon model “feels like the thin end of a wedge”.”Now Amazon want to pay writers only for pages read. Feel like I’d be best off retraining now, before the rush,” Kunzru said in a tweet.
What do you think? Is this a game changer for any of your self-published books?