RECENT CHANGES TO KENPC
(Please also take the survey at the bottom of this post, regarding how your KENPC has changed. You can view the results after you take the survey.)
As of February 1, 2016, Amazon changed the way that they calculate KENPC for pages read for KDP Select books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime.
To check your KENPC v2.0, go to your KDP Bookshelf and click the Promote & Advertise button.
According to Amazon, on average the change is within ± 5%, but some books are outside of 5% (I’ve heard a couple upwards of 30%).
Many authors are reporting the changes in their KENPC on Kindle Boards, the KDP community forum, and all over the internet.
I have several books, and most of mine are virtually unchanged.
But while I’ve heard from others whose KENPC remained the same, only a few authors are reporting an increase, while several authors are reporting a drop of 5% or more (like 10% to 15%) or occasionally much more (like 20% to 30%).
Perhaps authors who see a large drop are more likely to show up to a community forum and provide feedback, or are more likely to blog about it.
It’s a general rule that people are more likely to take time to express a complaint than to take time to offer praise.
If we believe Amazon’s report that on average the change to KENPC is less than ±5%, then a drop of 10% or less shouldn’t happen to the majority of books.
If your KENPC remained the same, if anything it seems like KENPC v2.0 should help you out a little.
If your KENPC increased, you should jump for joy.
IF YOUR KENPC DROPPED, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
You should look for a proactive solution to your situation. I will offer a couple of suggestions.
If complaining relieves a little stress, well I suppose there is a little good in that. But just complaining, that’s probably not going to solve your problem. (Discussing the problem with others and thinking about the issue critically, however, might lead to a helpful solution.)
If your KENPC v2.0 is exactly 1 page, but used to be multiple digits, it may be a mistake. At least two authors have reported that their novels’ KENPC were reduced to 1 page. That’s most likely just a glitch in the system. If that happened to you, contact KDP support and cross your fingers. (This is a good reason to check your KENPC. Make sure it didn’t happen to you.)
First, you should project what impact this change might make on your royalties.
- Find the percentage change: (new KENPC – old KENPC) divided by (old KENPC) times 100%. Example: (380–400)÷400×100%=–5%. (The minus sign means it dropped. If your KENPC increased, then your percentage will be +, in which case you should be happy.)
- How many pages were read in December for that book?
- Multiply the percentage change by the number of pages read by that book in December and divide by 100%. Formula: (% change) × (# pages read) ÷ 100%. Example: –5%×8,000÷100%=–400.
- Multiply by $0.0046 (based on the recent per-page rate in the US). Example: –400×$0.0046=–$1.84.
How significant is this number to you? (Suggestion: Compare it to your overall royalties.)
Realize that this projection is based on previous per-page rates. If the KENPC has dropped for most books, on average (that’s a big IF), it’s possible that the per-page rate will go up a bit. But it’s probably not realistic to expect the per-page rate for February to go up by more than 5% (unless other factors contribute to the change), since on average the KENPC hasn’t changed by more than 5%. But you can’t bank on the per-page to increase. It might not.
The main thing you can control is whether or not to uncheck the auto-renewal box for KDP Select (and then you must still wait for the enrollment period to end before you publish your e-book elsewhere). If you’re losing money because either (A) your KENPC has dropped significantly or (B) the per-page rates have dropped significantly (but remember, we don’t “know” what the per-page rates might look like following this change), then the big question to ask is…
Could you make more money by publishing with Nook, Kobo, Smashwords (or Draft2Digital), Apple, etc. than you are bringing from borrows through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime?
That’s a tough question to answer, and varies from book to book. I know authors who have opted out and quickly returned, but I also know a few authors who found success outside of KDP Select. It helps if you have a marketing plan to reach customers who read books on Nook, Kobo, etc. (but it’s not easy to do).
A few other things to consider:
- Every borrow through Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime helps your sales rank.
- Most Kindle Unlimited customers probably won’t find and buy your book if it’s not in Kindle Unlimited.
- The KDP Select Global Fund is currently $12M for February, and the pot has steadily increased every month. Kindle Unlimited does have a large reader base.
- Kindle Unlimited customers are, in general, supportive to indie authors.
- But there are also now 1.2M books in Kindle Unlimited, with nearly 50,000 added in the last month. It’s also getting more competitive. But there were also 96,000 books added to the Kindle Store last month, so sales are even more competitive.
- About half the books added to the Kindle Store are exclusive to Amazon, so there may be reduced competition at Nook, Kobo, etc. (It may also be harder to break into some markets at those venues.)
- Each audience is different. What you really want to know is whether you can successfully reach your audience beyond just Kindle.
I’m afraid the only surefire way to “know” how your book would do outside of Kindle is to try it out. It might work out, it might not.
But there probably is a magic number, where if your royalties for borrows drops too much, you’ll be willing to try it out.
If you had an extreme drop in KENPC, like 20% or more, and you really want out of KDP Select, you might consider contacting KDP support. Amazon usually provides an opt-out clause when there are significant changes to the terms. While most books are seeing smaller changes, if you experienced a steep change, you might be able to persuade support that you weren’t prepared for such a drastic change, and ask if you could please opt out immediately. Well, it can’t hurt to ask, if that’s what you want.
One other thing you might do is see if you can learn why your KENPC dropped. It may not be easy. You’ll need data from other authors. Besides just comparing KENPC’s, you’ll need to find out about the nature of the book. For example, are there many quotations or short paragraphs in books that saw a significant drop in KENPC (I’m not suggesting this is the case; I’m saying you would need to think of possible explanations and test them out; this is just one you would want to test). One trick is you also want data from authors’ whose KENPC increased, to see if the same theory will explain all of the data.
But even if you succeed in learning why the KENPC changed the way it did, it may not be possible to use this knowledge to increase your KENPC. There probably isn’t a simple solution, if KENPC v2.0 successfully prevents people from gaming the system. But if there happened to be some factor that penalizes books for some particular feature and you happened to learn what that was, well you could benefit from that.
Many books tend to see a drop in both sales and borrows once they reach a certain age on the market, and the solution is usually to keep writing and publishing, and learn effective marketing strategies. Whether or not you remain in KDP Select, writing and publishing more books as well as marketing are the keys to long-term success.
(My KENPC’s are almost identical to what they had been, so I feel fortunate. As I said, not everyone’s KENPC has dropped, and I’ve even heard of a few increases.)
DID AMAZON INCREASE ITS PROFITS BY REDUCING THE KENPC?
The KDP Select Global Fund for February is $12M.
No matter how Amazon calculates KENPC, determines KENP pages read, or how much Amazon pays per page in February, Amazon is still paying out at least $12M in royalties for books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime.
So this does not appear to impact profits for February.
The KDP Select Global Fund has steadily increased from $11.5M to $13.5M from July thru December of 2015.
The KDP Select Global Fund has committed $12M for February, which makes sense, as December and January are likely to benefit more from holiday Kindle sales.
But there are some things that we don’t know:
- We don’t know what the KDP Select Global Fund will do starting in March. It’s possible that the KDP Select Global Fund will start diminishing. But then again, that’s always been possible.
- We don’t know how many customers subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. If Amazon is selling more subscriptions at a faster rate than the KDP Select Global Fund is increasing, then Amazon is increasing its profits. But they could have been doing that all along. How are we to know?
- It’s possible that the KENPC has dropped a few % overall so that Amazon could prevent the per-page rate from dropping further (or maybe even increase it a little). But the number that affects Amazon’s profits is the KDP Select Global Fund. Whether they increase or decrease the KENPC, they are still paying $12M overall in February. Changing the KENPC just affects the per-page rate and how the $12M is distributed; it doesn’t impact Amazon’s share at all.
Here’s my own personal opinion: KENPC v2.0 was introduced to help prevent authors from gaming the system, and it unfortunately affects everyone’s books in different ways.
(It’s also possible that Amazon is losing money on Kindle Unlimited, at least directly. This program might be a loss leader. Once customers get in the habit of coming Amazon, they start buying other products at Amazon, too.
That’s an important consideration. The main thing Amazon probably wants to do with Kindle Unlimited is keep both readers and authors engaged. Amazon may make much more profits by getting both readers and authors in the habit of visiting Amazon regularly than it could make by adjusting KENPC or per-page rates.)
PLEASE TAKE THIS QUICK KENPC SURVEY
Have multiple books? You can take the survey once for each book.
Write happy, be happy. 🙂
Copyright © 2016
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
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Reblogged this on The GUNDERSTONE review and commented:
This is a great breakdown of the service changes; #MustRead
Thank you for the reblog (and love the hashtag you added). 🙂
Great post. Very informative and timely.
Thank you. 🙂
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
Please take the survey at the bottom of this post on Chris’ blog 😀
Chris, the counts of my books are both up and down. Since the page count for the highest-seller remains the same and the lowest seller (a bundle) raised, I wonder if the new page count also considers rank or number sold. Two of my books with similar actual pages have different counts. Overall I think my royalties will be down. Thanks for this post!
Thank you for sharing how your KENPC changed, Carol. That’s an interesting idea with number sold, though I think it would have to update periodically to properly reflect that. It’s nice to see a book where the KENPC raised.
All my books went down in page count By 13 to 15%. They have all been professionally formatted, but my style does use quite short paragraphs & dialogue exchanges. I write thrillers.
My monthly page reads is just over the million mark, so this will be a drop of around $700 to $800 if the per page payout stays the same. That’s not small change. I have 2 novels, 1 novelette, 3 short story collections (about 150 pages) & a couple of shorts.
However I doubt Amazon made this move lightly. Quite possibly there has been some gaming of the system and this is their response. I figure if the 15% less page count was what I got in the beginning, I’d still be happy. So I’m going to just pretend that was what it was. I don’t think worrying or complaining about it will do anything.
I had just better get that next book finished and that will get me another 500 pages available to be read to make up for it. Stocking your store is the only way to meet these type of challenges.
Great post again, Chris.
Thank you for sharing how KENPC changed for your books. You have a great way of looking at this. And working towards the next book is the best way to move forward.
Thanks, Chris. I always think about writing as a mind game. Either a mind game with your writing and fighting off doubts or the up and down of sales or no sales until it all starts to happen.
You must learn what you can affect and what you can’t. I can’t change Amazon’s decisions. I can’t base anything I do on what they might do or might not do in the future. It doesn’t even help to get annoyed with them. All I know is if it weren’t for Amazon I would be with a publisher by now, and I would no doubt be frustrated and annoyed and have little control. I wouldn’t be worrying about losing a few hundred dollars a month. If the statistics are correct, (and I believe they are because I know a lot of authors with Big Five publishers and my best friend works for Harper Collins Australia), then I would be probably worrying about how to MAKE that $800 a month as an income.
Thanks to Amazon I smile on the 29th of every month and treat my family to dinner and special treats, then I bank the rest for a rainy day or reinvest in Audibles (which is what I’m doing at the moment).
It’s very easy to lose sight of the fact writers have never had it so good and that is thanks squarely to Amazon.
One thing I notice in many successful authors is that they often see positives where it’s easy for many to be negative. It probably makes it easier to stay focused on writing goals, too. 🙂
I think you will notice in any successful person a positive attitude. Instead of complaining most successful entrepreneurs instead focus on how they can move foreword and overcome. I know I have always done this, and it is a habit.
Not to say I don’t have my moments, but I recognise these are just moments, never days, and I have a quick pity party and get cracking. This is a business and it will have its ups and down. However, what kind of business can you start where there are no staff, little set up cost, no stock (or not much), you can run it from anywhere in the world, and every time you add a new product, all your other products sell more?
I’ve built and run a big retail business before and this is a breeze. All it requires is persistence and patience. I’ve been writing seriously for six years and its only the past twelve months that things have started to really take off. Not really a long time, because I had figured it would take ten years. So I’m one happy-go-lucky, but very hard working author. 🙂 Love your blog. Really do!
I actually ran a small bookselling business about 16 years ago. I couldn’t afford my own shop at the time, but I rented out space in local antique stores, and sold other books through Amazon’s Seller Central, Half.com, and eBay. It was a lot of work with not so much profit (but it was nice to help match used books with people who would appreciate them). Inventory management, packaging, shipping, customer service, returns and exchanges. It was a lot.
When I published my first book in 2008, it was a huge change. All of the work was done at a keyboard. Amazon and CreateSpace handle the inventory and retail side of things (unless I feel like approaching bookstores). It’s so much easier than selling books, and after just six months it was far more profitable. Like a double bonus.
Thank you for your comments, and good luck with your books. 🙂
My KENPCstayed the same because I don’t get any borrows. Not the sort of books people want to borrow, I suspect.
I’m sometimes surprised which of my books get borrowed more. It doesn’t seem easy to predict (except for certain kinds of books).
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Reblogged this on Kim's Author Support Blog.
Thank you for the reblog. 🙂
My pleasure, Chris.
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
Thank you. 🙂
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