PAGES READ FOR SALES?
Before you race to the comments field to say what a bad idea this is, please note the important word OPTIONAL. 🙂
If you still feel it’s a bad idea, then please do rush to leave a comment. 🙂
Here is what I’m proposing for Kindle sales (not to be confused with Kindle borrows):
- Authors set one list price for outright purchase, just as usual. No change to this.
- Authors also set an optional price per page. Emphasis on authors getting to choose this.
- List price = $2.99. Customers can buy the book for $2.99.
- Optional price per page = 3 cents per page. Customers can choose this option instead of buying the book. Remember, in my proposal, the author gets to choose this price.
Let’s say that the book in my example has 150 pages. Then the customer has two choices:
- Buy the book for $2.99. Customer can read as little or as much of the book as desired.
- Pay 3 cents per page (re-reads of pages already read are free). Just pay for how much you read. If you read the whole book in my example, this will cost you $4.50, but you could have just bought the book outright for $2.99.
In my proposal, the author receives the usual royalty rate, 35% or 70%, the same as for sales (though the delivery cost has to be factored in somehow for the 70% plan, maybe divide the delivery charge for the book by the number of pages and subtract this from the per page royalty).
So, in my example, the author earns more if (A) the customer chooses to pay by the page and (B) the customer eventually reads the whole book.
Amazon isn’t going to take a credit card payment for one page read: The fees would cost more than 3 cents. What Amazon would do is charge the customer, say, 99 cents up front, then bill the customer for every $9.99 spent, or some other increments, kind of like they do for AMS advertising. In the long run, Amazon might make more money with such a billing program than when they sell 10 books for 99-cents each and have 10 separate credit card fees. (They could do the billing up front if ‘credit’ is a concern.)
WHY DO THIS?
This might impact reference books and cookbooks, for example. These are books where customers sometimes only need to read part of the book now. Maybe they will want the rest later, maybe not.
Let’s say the customer doesn’t want to pay the list price for the whole book. If pages read isn’t an option, the customer will walk away. If so, it’s a lost sale for the author.
Would the author have been willing to set a per-page price so that the customer could read, say, just Chapter 4? Maybe if the author could set a high enough per-page price, the author would be okay with this. It’s better than nothing, right? And the transaction improves the book’s sales rank, a nice little perk.
It might impact fiction, too. With the option to pay for pages read, even though you might spend more when reading a whole book, it gives you some flexibility to try a book out that you’re strongly interested in, but don’t want to commit to for its list price.
Based on the Kindle Unlimited model, Amazon seems interested in tracking customer engagement. They are probably measuring pages read for sales, even though it presently only matters for borrows. It’s possible that in the future visibility on Amazon will be based in part on successful customer engagement (i.e. getting a higher percentage of pages read). That’s purely speculative. I have no reason to believe that’s in place now, nor have I heard that it’s coming. But it is possible, isn’t it? It wouldn’t be good for some types of books, like reference books and cookbooks. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Heck, they could change the payout for sales to a pages read scheme and not even make it optional. Amazon determines the rules, right?
Presently, pages read doesn’t impact paid sales in any way. It’s only for Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime borrows. I haven’t heard anything to suggest that it might change, so don’t panic.
I’m just curious. What you do you think about this idea? As an author, or as a reader.
To be honest, I’m not even sure if I’m in favor of it or against it. I am curious about it, though.
Write happy, be happy. 🙂
Copyright © 2015
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
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