Amazon “Prime” and Royalties for Self-Published Authors

Amazon has formally launched a program that makes all its e-books, of which my compendium of articles falls into this category, available to subscribers to this program for a single fee of $9.95 per month.  This means unlimited downloads.  According to the many press releases I’ve read, publishers will be paid the full, normal royalty, but there has been no clear explanation of the way self-published authors will be remunerated.  And I’ve seen reports of anywhere between 500,000 and 600,000 titles that fall into this category.  Frankly, I thought the number might be many times higher.
The most obvious immediate impact will be felt by all of us who signed on for the 90-day exclusive Kindle Select Program.  I’m currently firmly ensconced under Amazon’s thick comforter in this regard, but it remains to be seen just how much warmth it ultimately provides.  One thing is certain, and it’s that the Amazon “perfect sleeper” might not be quite so comfy.  The rumor is that each self-published author will be paid from the “lending pool,” and this should provide about $2 per download, which is right in line with what most self-published e-books generate via Kindle Select.
The problem is that there’s no way to know how many dollars are in the lending pool at any given time or the number of people who will subscribe to the unlimited download program.  However, before getting out of sorts, it’s important to consider that the “lending program” initially caused the same sort of outcry as this new format.  But author discontent quickly abated when most realized they were making more money than ever before, as the lending pool provided royalties equal to the “buy” number, and since lending/borrowing was a free component of a broader service, there was more activity per title.  All any of us who are in KDP can do is wait and see what transpires once this latest Amazon wrinkle shakes out.

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