Originally published at: Get 4 months of Kindle Unlimited free | Boing Boing
Originally published at: Get 4 months of Kindle Unlimited free | Boing Boing
hear me out: instead of paying $10 a month to Amazon to get essentially a library, maybe we should, I dunno, ask of Amazon to support public libraries more easily on their e-readers so you can support the book sharing infrastructure already widely accepted and full of quality reads?
Why would Amazon want to do that when they’ve got a workforce of tenant farmers convinced that toiling in their fields is freedom?
You don’t get referral link money for promoting libraries.
But from a purely corporate standpoint, there’s no reason why Amazon would want to enable libraries to lend electronic books with fewer limits. I’m pro library, but I also realize that libraries do compete with physical and ebook sales, so I expect that the fight for library rights will continue, using ebook contracts to override the right of first sale that allowed libraries and Video tape/DVD rentals to flourish, regardless of the wishes of the copyright holders.
Amazon also has a fair number of books available every month free to prime members without kindle unlimited. I just checked a series I’ve been reading (Dorothy
ParkerSayers Peter Wimsey mysteries) only a few more are available free through unlimited than from prime reading. And – since they are out of copyright – they are all available free to anyone, though not through Amazon.
Still, for anyone (a) whose favored books are available free on kindle unlimited, and (b) not boycotting prime day, this is a very good deal.
(ETA: Corrected name of author, as per @FGD135)
I’ve read a lot of books on KU - books my local library would never have stocked because many of them are esoteric genre fiction books like LitRPG, which vary widely in quality, from typo-filled pure misogynistic crap to rather good story telling I’m surprised is available by subscription…
I know I’m feeding a monster by paying for KY KU, but it has reduced my book purchases and let me read books I can’t get from my local library.
Now that would be an amazing read, and well worth paying premium.
I agree (and thanks for the correction). BTW, Hollywood insider George Baxt wrote a mystery, the Dorothy Parker Murder Case, which is full of language from Parker and Wollcott and is a very very fun read. Apparently not available for Kindle.
I’m not allowed to be a member of the local library any more because I’m terrible at bringing books back (pretty sure they’d put a hit out on me if they could). KU is less than the cost of the library fines and it’s fed my book addiction for years now. And there’s some surprisingly good stuff on there in amongst all the dross. I still buy books, but I read enough that the cost without KU would be as much as a small drug habit if I had to pay full whack for every book.
Somewhere out there may be an Amazon lobbyist actively fighting against Library Fine Amnesty programs…
I suspect you aren’t the only BBS member and corresponding library who would benefit from such a program to Amazon’s detriment.
Totally screws over indie authors. Royalties for book sales? 70%. Payment per page read of KU? A little less than half a cent, but it varies every month, and cannot be predicted by authors. “Pages” are defined by an algorithm which Amazon will neither explain or describe. It changes from book to book, even books the same size. Also, there’s no guarantee that people reading the books actually get their pages reported; the data describing failure of reportage are not provided by Amazon (if you read books off-line, it is not clear if those pages ever get reported as read).
Authors can opt out of KU, of course. And then the algorithm drops books in search results, so they do not show up on the first couple pages of searches.
So, yeah – you’re encouraging Amazon to screw over indie authors, which doesn’t seem like something on-brand for BoingBoing.
All that said is true, it’s still the highest paying for most indie authors I know. It’s not a good rate , but it never was going to be, algorithm or not. Most genre readers don’t care who the author is, they just care about the genre.
This is true. I publish in several genres, under multiple pseudonyms, and make a good side-income from it. But KU definitely cut my income severely. I’m enrolled in it, because Amazon is the only (for all practical terms – yes, there’s Nook and such, but they’re peanuts) game in town.
BTW, if an author opts in to KU, they cannot publish on any other market at all. Amazon gains exclusive rights to their works as long as they’re in KU. One more way they enforce their attempted monopoly.
All that said, this is a LOT better than the old system, where authors were paid a flat fee for each book, which resulted in 1000 word “books” being published. So I’m not all negative.
I just want people to know what they’re doing when they get a book through KU rather than buying it. And, of course, I am also enrolled in KU – of course I am. As a consumer, it’s a great deal. As an author, I’m getting mildly boned (which, now that I think of it, is also a lucrative genre on Amazon).
As an author there too under a few psuedonyms and some genres that my mother wouldn’t approve of, mildly boned does pay well… but weirdly boned pays very well
I do get what you mean though, there needs to be another game or two in town, but, it just is what it is, and probably wouldn’t have this opportunity at all without amazon. It’s a blessing and a curse.
I think we’re all writing in the “weirdly boned” genre of Amazon. Which is a whole other kettle of butt plugs, though at least, since the Great Pornocalypse, there hasn’t been as much Miss Grundy censorship. Knock on wood.
Amen to that. It’s making my wife some serious money, at a half a eurocent per page read. She writes romances. They’re completely formulaic. Not great literature, but she just churns them out, and the readers continue to gobble them up and want more, more, more.
If you want to solve Amazon’s monopoly problem, I understand where you’re coming from, but demanding that people not buy from them isn’t a very effective tactic. I get my money’s worth out of my KU subscription. I find it a good value for the money. And yes, I use our local library’s e-book lending center, but quite frankly, it sucks. It’s hard to use, the interface is gruesome, and it errors out depressingly often.
And much of what’s on KU would never exist in a library. Romances like my wife writes, interesting science fiction, erotica of every stripe, throwaway mystery novels, the list is endless.
I suck at predicting the future. If you’d told me ten years ago that someone could make a good living writing books that will never exist on paper, I’d have scoffed.
All good points. On my side, as a reader, I’d note that I wouldn’t have purchased 90-95% of the books that I’ve tried on KU because the authors, and sometimes the genres, were totally unknown to me. I would never have tried LitRPG, for example, because I’m not a gamer. But I’ve read some very well written LitRPG because it was available on KU. (And bailed out of a number of crappy ones, loosing exactly zero dollars by doing so.)
The subscription model means I’m not gambling my money with each book I try, so I’ll try just about anything. My discovery of and following of authors, as well as the number of books I read, increases because of the subscription model.
I wonder what the stats for authors are these days in terms of the total number of published authors? I have to think it is radically higher than some “golden era” of printed books due to the low barrier to entry of ebooks, and lack of risk of having to do a print run on spec. And the era of authors with a garage filled with unsalable vanity printed books is greatly reduced. But I don’t know know how my speculation of more books in print relates to collective total author income.
I appreciate that point, and I’m a huge stats nerd. So I’ve run the numbers. I’ve also conducted an experiment (whew, that one hurt) and what I discovered is that in general, it benefits me to stay in KU. But that doesn’t mean it’s a great thing, and I’d love it if Boing Boing would talk about some of the problems with it rather than shill it uncritically.
That said, I’ll concede that for many people it’s a great deal. Hell, as I said above, for me it’s a great deal.
For Amazon it’s an awesome deal, though, not just a great one.
For me, I think it is a reasonable deal. But boy, are there some crap KU books out there. Some books are so slap dash and utterly lacking as a “book” that I have to think they are just there as some money laundering scheme or other pure scam. I’m talking non-fiction that couldn’t even bother to steal from wikipedia, books that have the superficial form of a book, but zero substance, not even an elementary school kid level of effort at plagiarism. Just nothing. And baffling.
Oh yes, the George Baxt books are a treat. I think my favourite one is the one with Greta Garbo (I must confess though that I haven’t read all 12 yet, so thanks for reminding me).
For anyone not familiar with the name: