The fact that the ALA shared this link is so gloriously bitter and angry and I love it.
Is there a portmanteau for that? Angritter? Bangry?
My library card already gets me multiple “real” books, e-books, audiobooks, magazines and movies per month. For free.
Kindle Unlimited offers nothing from big presses, and no guarantee the authors will get paid fairly for their work. Libraries buy the book up front for a higher price (and a better binding). Kindle Unlimited offers the authors a variable percentage of a as-yet-undetermined-and-unannounced amount of money.
While Amazon touts Kindle Unlimited at “Netflix For Books!” the reality is Netflix signed contracts with everyone whose work they offer so that actors, screen writers, best boys, and the rest of those people get paid for the shows and movies you watch. Amazon does not.
That means your favorite author isn’t being compensated for their time or work. If you love a book series and want to see the next one get published: buy the book or hit the library. Starving authors quit writing because they like eating.
Most libraries offer these services for free already - even ebooks and audio books. The fact that Amazon isn’t paying it’s authors is super shady though :/
Okay let’s all just calm down here. I’m going to step in as an actual career self-published author and explain a few things.
I’m going to start with, “Huffpo, Buzzfeed etc. are unreliable news sources and please let’s not all support their click-bait culture. Huffpo especially is in bed with major media companies who hate Amazon and slam them at every opportunity—witness the Amazon/Hachette media shitstorm and the response from self-published authors of, ‘What are you talking about?’”
I’m going to continue by explaining a few things about Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s new “Netflix for Books” where you pay ten bucks a month for unlimited book borrowing, “like a library.”
Authors definitely get paid when you do this. The payment structure is, as far as I know, TBA. But it’s going to work like Amazon Prime members “Borrowing” feature. Prime members can “borrow” one book a month for their Kindles. Every month, Amazon lets authors know how much they earn from each borrow. Typically it’s around $2.00. (Please note that you earn $2.00 per borrow no matter what—even if someone borrows your $0.99 book, which used to happen to me all the time). Authors can then opt in or out of Kindle Unlimited as it suits them.
Oh, yeah, so that’s the next thing. Kindle Unlimited is a voluntary thing for authors. We don’t have to participate. Amazon can’t just give away my books without explicit agreement from me above and beyond the ToS I’ve already accepted as a self-published authors. Authors can turn on Kindle Unlimited. Then they can turn it off again. And then on again.
A final note. Kindle Unlimited is only available to authors who have published their book through “KDP Select.” There’s a lot to know about this Amazon program, but the main feature is exclusivity. You agree to publish your book with Amazon and no one else. Then after 90 days, you can cancel the program (and publish elsewhere) or let it renew for another 90 days. And this is on a book-by-book basis, not an all-or-nothing thing for authors. I can publish a book in KDP Select and another book without it.
So only KDP Select authors can participate in Kindle Unlimited. Now, most career self-published authors don’t participate in KDP Select. I don’t, because I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. But at the beginning of my career, KDP Select was invaluable.
See, there have always been other marketing tools, before Kindle Unlimited existed. KDP Select lets you run temporary free promotions on your book once a month. It lets Prime members borrow your books. These are tremendous tools for the just-starting-out self-published author. With my first novels, free promo days moved thousands of books into readers’ Kindles. It let me build an audience that still reads and supports me today.
Then I graduated. I came off KDP Select and published with Nook, iBooks and Kobo. With Kobo, I found a new and even BIGGER audience than I found on Amazon (and mostly in the UK—you guys rock). So now I’d never go back to KDP Select. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a smart choice for a new author.
If a new author publishes a debut novel with Unlimited, and someone borrows it, that author gets a small payment (let’s say a buck or two). If that person recommends it to friends who recommend it in turn, or publish it on book blogs or vlogs, the author gets paid every time someone “borrows” it from the “library.” What if thousands of people borrow it? That author’s career is ON, man. That’s better for the author than a physical library, who pay for the book ONCE and never pay the author again. That’s better than Netflix, who pay a production company ONCE and don’t pay anyone again (until the contract expires).
I’m not saying physical libraries are bad. Just different. In this case, Amazon is charging you $10.00 a month for their “library” because they’re funneling that money to the authors whose books you borrow.
Borrow books or don’t. But you’re not supporting indie authors by refusing to read them, I’ll tell you that right now.
Interesting follow up to the Kindle Unlimited program. I still think there needs to be more awareness about the library’s availability of the Overdrive account/app, but hopefully this is the best outcome of Kindle’s latest program.
Though in response to this person’s comments, I don’t think anyone was suggesting not supporting Indy authors by being wary of Kindle Unlimited. If anything, it seemed like this had more potential to be screwing them over, which I think a lot of us would be concerned about and I truly hope that is not the case after all. I’ll be very curious to see what the TBA agreement is regardless.