Unlimited Program monthly numbers for Kindle Prime members continue to baffle.
If correct (from November 2015), Amazon put up $6.5 million for the author pool in its Unlimited Program for “borrowed” books. This sounds terrific until factoring the month’s 4.8 million “borrows” into this. The result is $1.35 per “use,” or about one-third less from the $2 that an author would receive from a $2.99 retail for an e-book. Or around 45 percent of the approximate $3 net royalty a writer would earn for an average print-copy retail sale.
I continue to bring up the Amazon royalty structure because almost every book on the planet is massaged via Amazon. As I wrote previously, Amazon’s response to the “borrow” shortcomings was for authors to release their books in two segments. Great idea if your name is Stephen King or Amanda Hocking or Hugh Howey. But not so wonderful if it’s not.
[As of this article’s revision in October of 2016, the author pool for the Unlimited Program has increased. However, so have the number of titles. To compound the issue regarding royalties, which Amazon calls “bonuses,” an algorithm is now determining page counts for borrowed titles.]