The publishing industry’s “primary disruptor” will start paying authors based on pages read, not e-books purchased.
Instead of paying royalties to authors based on how many e-books have been sold, Amazon will start paying authors based on how many pages of their books consumers have read.
For now, the program applies just to self-published authors who are on Amazon’s KDP Select Program — but you can bet that if the experiment plays out well, it’ll likely expand.
Currently, Amazon remunerates its native authors on a monthly bases based on the number of times their e-books are accessed through two Kindle service programs:
- Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s monthly $9.99 subscription service
- Kindle Owners Lending Library, part of Amazon Prime membership benefits
The new change will shift away from paying authors based on each book accessed, and instead pay based on each page that readers access (and that remains on the screen long enough to be parsed).
Who will be the winners and losers in this new approach to compensation? Certainly, some people have criticized the current payment scheme for benefiting authors of smaller books more than those who write longer tomes. The change may improve matters for the latter because of the additional pages that make up their e-books.
But is that really the case? Many large volumes are reference-oriented book or fall into other non-fiction categories, such that a reader may be interested in accessing only a few pages within the books in any case.
But on the fiction side, authors may find themselves attracted to writing the kind of “cliffhanger” story lines that keep readers turning the pages.
However it shakes out, one thing seems destined to change. The old saw that “it doesn’t matter how many people read a book — only how many purchase it” may well be on the way out.
What are your thoughts about Amazon’s new remuneration policy? On balance, is it good for authors — or for the world of books in general? Feel free to share your comments with other readers.