Authors are up in arms over Amazon’s most recent launch of the Kindle Unlimited service.
I guess I see things a bit differently.
Fact: Reading for fun is on the decline (source: The Decline of the American Book Lover & The Number of Teens Reading for Fun Keeps Declining).
Fact: Subscription services encourage “binge consumption” (Source: COME BINGE WITH ME).
Fact: The Kindle device makes Amazon next to nothing as a product in and of itself (source: Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite sales make Amazon no profit) which implies (and seems obvious) that Amazon must increase book sales in order to increase profits (which is good news for us).
Fact: Subscription services are hard as hell to sell (source: 20 Amazing Netflix Statistics and Facts – Specifically the fact that it has taken Netflix 15 years to reach 35 million households in the US out of 117 million in a country that watches 5 hours of TV per day – source: Average American watches 5 hours of TV per day).
My impressions/complete guesses are as follows:
$9.99/month to read books isn’t a great deal for a lot of people (since MOST people don’t even read 1 book per month). To expect this service to radically change the frequency/behavior that the majority of the market consumes books seems a little pre-mature and ignorant of the fact that people are reading less.
What can be assumed is that those individuals who will be a part of the $9.99/month subscription are going to be “binge consumers” anyways for whom the $9.99/month makes sense. Read: Potential Super Fans.
I see it this way:
Right now I give thousands of books away for free each and every day to a broad group of “readers”. Some may be targeted through FB ads, some might just be “list shoppers”. Buy through rates can be all across the board with this type of targeting.
But now, Amazon has segmented the market into a group of “binge readers” by offering this service. I would predict (based off absolutely no insider info, no testing, no facts, just guesses) that the kind of reader behavior we might find from the subscription readers will be what we might consider as authors to be “ideal”.
They should: Read each book in the series. Read other books in your backlist. Read one offs. More likely to try new authors. More likely to share reads with friends. Etc.
As a writer trying to make a living in a world that wants to read less, any model that increases consumption is a model that I would vote for.
I will not be moving all of my books to Select, but I will be creating “Select Only” stories. “Samplers” if you will. They will be appropriate length to my genre (don’t forget… you need happy readers to make a living no matter what Amazon is doing) and they will be “Sales magnets” much like my perma-frees are – only they may be entire series long.
I will continue to work on my own subscription offerings, higher ticket offerings etc. The idea of making a living $2.00 at a time has never set well with me and the rest of the entertainment industry doesn’t do it that way either.
For me and my business, Kindle Unlimited is an awesome opportunity to funnel in more of the “ideal readers” into my own sales funnel/business.
When I first heard the rumblings about this last week I got to work on a Kindle Unlimited exclusive series. I for one am excited at what this means for readers, which makes me excited as an author.