Kindle Unlimited: What was the KENP rate for July, 2019?

KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ FOR JULY, 2019

The KENP rate for pages read in Kindle Unlimited in July, 2019 was $0.00439.

It’s a small drop (roughly 5%) compared to June’s rate of $0.00464.

However, Amazon actually paid out more royalties overall in July than in June.

That’s because the KDP Select Global Fund rose from $24.9 million to a record $25.6 million.

Perhaps Amazon Prime Day had a small impact. If, for example, Amazon sold many Kindle ereaders, there may be new customers using their free month of Kindle Unlimited.

Whatever the reason, the per-page rate does tend to vary a bit, although it has been relatively stable for much of 2019.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Amazon Coupons (even on one of my books)

 

SAVE $1.00 WITH COUPON AT AMAZON (LIMITED TIME)

Have you seen those green (or orange) coupons at Amazon, where you can save a little money by clipping the coupon?

In search results, I sometimes see it in green highlighting, like Save $1.00.

On the product page, below where it says In Stock, I sometimes see Coupon with orange highlighting and a box to check next to green writing.

Be sure to click the box to apply the coupon.

I’ve seen these on a number of household items that I buy regularly, including Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh.

It’s nice to save a little money, and the coupon sometimes affects my decision on which product to buy (usually, when it wasn’t an easy decision to begin with).

Yesterday, for the first time, I happened to see one of these coupon offers for one of my books (the paperback edition).

I haven’t seen it for any of my other books yet, and this might not last long for the book it does show on. But it was a nice surprise.

Maybe Amazon is testing this out on a small number of books to see how it goes.

Discounts at Amazon have changed considerably throughout the years.

  • When I published my first book back in 2008 (wow, that was over ten years ago), there used to be 4-for-3 offers on many books (including mine, back then). I often bought 4 books at a time in those days. But then the 4-for-3 program disappeared. That was a pretty big discount, so it’s no surprise if it wasn’t sustainable.
  • Shortly thereafter, many books went on sale sporadically. There were times when many of my books were on sale, and times (like the holidays) where almost none of my books were on sale.
  • The new thing seems to be coupons to clip. (I like this idea better than, say, the Countdown Deal idea.)

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

How much did Amazon pay for Kindle Unlimited pages read in June, 2019?

KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ FOR JUNE, 2019

The rate was $0.00464 per page for pages read through Kindle Unlimited in June, 2019.

The per-page rate has been very stable from March thru June. For example, it was $0.00466 in May.

The KDP Select Global Fund rose to $24.9 million for June. It continues to climb. The Global Fund was $24.6 million in May.

Happy Amazon Prime Days (July 15 thru July 16, 2019)!

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Amazon Prime Day, 2019: July 15-16

JULY 15-16, 2019: AMAZON PRIME DAY

Every July, Amazon has a special day of deals just for Prime members.

This year (2019), the event will actually span two days: Monday, July 15, to Tuesday, July 16.

It’s like a Black Friday in the summer just for Amazon Prime customers.

The event attracts much attention.

There are millions of customers who have Amazon Prime.

If you have that membership, naturally you want to make the most of it.

And thus you are enticed to check out Amazon on Prime Day, to see if there might be a good deal on something that you’d like to buy.

Occasionally, Prime Day, Black Friday, or even Cyber Monday can be very big even for Amazon.

Not only does Amazon often achieve record sales of some sort (like Kindle devices), but sometimes there is so much traffic early on that customers have to wait patiently for little delays relating to internet usage. Amazon surely works hard to resolve and prevent such issues, since these are huge sales days for Amazon. But even Amazon can occasionally be surprised by a huge surge in customer activity.

Many customers associate Amazon with books and ebooks, but Amazon has a huge inventory of all kinds of products.

More customers are regularly shopping on Amazon for birthday presents, holiday gifts, household items (with Subscribe & Save benefits), groceries (if you live in a metropolitan area where Amazon Fresh is available), and much more. You can even buy services from Amazon, like getting a ceiling fan installed.

It reminds me of Robert A. Heinlein’s hard-to-find short story, “We Also Walk Dogs” (one of my favorite stories).

Amazon’s big sale days, such as Amazon Prime Day, encourage more customers to explore Amazon’s other products (that is, way beyond just books).

Though you can usually find some books on sale, too.

Unfortunately, Amazon really hasn’t tapped into its KDP author base on the big holidays.

Even if an author’s KDP published print books are periodically on sale at Amazon (with Amazon paying the full royalty even when it’s on sale), they have seldom been on sale on the big sale days.

Kindle authors can run a Countdown Deal (if in KDP Select) or a temporary price reduction (though in this case it isn’t obvious that the book is on sale), but it may actually be better to schedule the promotional price at another time. Many customers are too busy chasing the main deals of the day. At another time, your book might be more likely to get noticed, or your own marketing might be more effective.

I keep waiting. One of these years, Amazon will announce to KDP authors when Prime Day is coming, along with plans to include some KDP books, encouraging KDP authors to help spread the word. Or at least include more of the KDP paperbacks on sale. I can list dozens of amazing ways that Amazon has improved KDP over the past ten years, including things many people said would never happen (like the ability to make a preorder, advertise KDP books, or add x-ray features to Kindle ebooks). So maybe including KDP authors with Prime Day will be one of those things someday. With over a million authors, there sure is potential to help market millions of books along with the big day.

Well, a couple of times over the years, CreateSpace or KDP has preordered one (or more) of my books for Amazon Prime Day. Like Amazon does for the holidays, stocking up on its better selling books helps Amazon meet its logistical challenges. I appreciate that the preorders help keep better selling books available during peak sales days. That’s a great start.

In the meantime, as a Prime customer, I will check out the event and see if any of the deals interest me this year.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Kindle Unlimited Pages Read Rate for May, 2019

MAY, 2019 KINDLE UNLIMITED PER PAGE RATE

For May, 2019, the KENP per-page rate for pages read through Kindle Unlimited was $0.00466.

This is nearly identical to what it was in April, and is a small improvement over March.

In May, the KDP Select Global fund climbed up to $24.6 million.

The Global fund was $24.1 in April and $24.0 million in March.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

How Do You Search for Books?

 

INTRODUCTION

It isn’t easy to find the “perfect” book to read, and once you read that book, you need to find another.

This question is important from two different perspectives:

  • Customers want to learn about the best ways to find the books they are likely to enjoy the most.
  • Authors and publishers want to know the different ways that customers might search for their books to aid in their marketing strategies.

I will start out by listing common methods that customers use to search for books.

Then I will share a couple of creative strategies for finding a good book to read.

I hope some of my readers will add helpful comments. Don’t be shy.

HOW CUSTOMERS SEARCH FOR BOOKS

Following are a variety of book-buying habits.

  1. Browse bestseller lists. This is highly popular. The idea is that there should be some good books on these lists. Fortunately, for authors who aren’t yet this popular, this is just one of many methods that customers use. If you write an amazing book and succeed in marketing, then you might benefit from this method. Until then, focus on the other methods.
  2. Browse subcategories. This is also common. I’ve scrolled several pages through subcategories, so you don’t always need to land at the top to get noticed. But if your book is way back even in a very narrow category, there is still hope. How? Because some customers will combine methods, like first choosing a subcategory and then searching for specific keywords.
  3. Enter keywords. This is handy when you’re looking for a certain type of book that isn’t easy to find just by browsing a subcategory. If you want to find a calculus workbook with answers, you could type that phrase into the search instead of browsing through all calculus books (which will start out mainly with textbooks). If you want to find a mystery set in a certain era or location, you could use a search instead of browsing all mystery books. Authors and publishers need to choose their keywords wisely; spend much time brainstorming before finalizing these.
  4. Look for new releases. This doesn’t just help bestselling new releases. Many new releases get noticed when customers search for books some other way (like using keywords) and then click Last 30 Days or Last 90 Days on Amazon to help filter the results. It’s surprisingly common how many books sell fairly well for three months and then see a significant decline in sales, often because the Last 90 Days filter suddenly stops helping. You want to find effective marketing strategies before the three months are up to help the book succeed long-term.
  5. Book reviews. Not just those on Amazon product pages. If you find someone who regularly reviews books in your favorite genre who proves to be fairly reliable in their criticism, you suddenly hit the jackpot. It’s not uncommon for publishers to seek out bloggers with large followings who regularly review books, offering advance review copies. I know that some of my followers either review books on their blogs or have had their books reviewed on various blogs. If you’re reading this, you’re invited to leave a comment.
  6. Word of mouth. If you read a great book, do your friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, and coworkers a favor: Tell them about the book. Great stories are meant to be shared. I love it when book titles come up in conversations.
  7. Book marketing. This isn’t so much about the customer looking for the book, as the authors striving to help customers discover their books. Customers discover books through marketing, so it can work. Often, it’s in the form of branding. A customer might see a book cover a few times over the course of months, then one day the customer is browsing for a book to read, remembers seeing that cover, and finally checks it out.
  8. Stores. While Amazon is amazingly popular and convenient, there are still bookstores and customers do browse through the shelves. If you have a paperback book, put together a press release kit and see if local bookstores (and other stores that sometimes carry books) may be interested in purchasing author copies directly from you at a discounted price. A customer who discovers your book in a store might wind up buying more of your books online in the future.
  9. Advertisements. Amazon does this very well. Over the past few years, many ads have been sprinkled onto product pages and search results, but these are fairly inobtrusive. For example, in search results the ads practically blend in with the other books on the list. Many customers do click on ads that interest them. The trick for authors and publishers is not to overspend for their ads, and to use ads just as one of several forms of effective marketing. It also takes a great cover, product page, and Look Inside to get the most out of the ad space.
  10. Indie books. I’ve self-published several books, as have over a million other authors. Like most authors, I’m also an avid reader. When I read, I often search for books by other indie authors. I like to support the idea of self-publishing and the companies (like Amazon and Smashwords) that have been instrumental in making this possible. Many other indie authors (and their friends and family) also search for indie books.
  11. Subscriptions and promotions. For example, many readers subscribe to BookBub, which provides a few recommendations for discounted books every day.
  12. Series, sets, anthologies, similar books. It can take a long time to find a really good book to read. If you can find a set of books to read, or a really long book to read, you are rewarded as a reader for your effort to find that book; you get more material to enjoy reading.
  13. What other methods can you think of?

A COUPLE OF CREATIVE WAYS TO FIND A GOOD BOOK

I have a couple of creative suggestions. These may not be popular yet, but perhaps one will be worth considering. Especially if you’ve spent hours using common methods, but weren’t satisfied with the results.

  1. Suppose that you find a thorough customer review on Amazon, the review really resonates with you, and after reading the book you feel that the comments were spot-on. Well, duh! You need to go back to that review, click on that customer’s name, and see what other reviews that customer has written.
  2. Interact with a variety of authors, see their personalities and their character, and see how well they write informal posts on social media. It’s surprisingly easy to interact with authors in this digital age. Sometimes, once you’ve “met” an author before reading a book, you read the book differently than you otherwise would have. A positive outlook can actually help you enjoy a book more. I’ve read some books this way, and it has often worked well for me.
  3. If you can think of any creative strategies to search for books, I’d like to hear them.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

More Changes to AMS Advertising—Up and Down Bidding

 

AMS ADVERTISING BIDDING DYNAMICS

The amount of your bid may now change.

This includes ad campaigns that were running prior to April 22, 2019.

There are now three campaign bidding strategies:

  1. Dynamic bids—down only. Your bid is automatically lowered when Amazon predicts that your ad would be less likely to convert to a sale.
  2. Dynamic bids—up and down. Your bid is automatically raised as much as 100% when Amazon predicts that your ad would be more likely to convert to a sale, and lowers your bid when it would be less likely to convert to a sale.
  3. Fixed bids. Your bid is fixed, unless you check one of two boxes that allow Amazon to adjust your bid.

In addition to the bidding strategies, there are now two bid adjust options (which replace the old Bid+):

  1. You may choose to increase your bid by up to 900% to land your ad at the top of search results (first page).
  2. You may choose to increase your bid by up to 900% to land your ad on a product page.

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR OLD AD CAMPAIGN?

If you launched an ad campaign with AMS prior to April 22, 2019, the bidding strategy was automatically changed to Dynamic bids—down only.

If your ad previously had Bid+ set to on, it now includes a 50% bid adjust for top of search (first page).

MAKING SENSE OF THESE CHANGES

The main idea behind AMS advertising is relevance. When the most relevant ads show to customers, this benefits customers, it benefits Amazon, and it benefits the product being advertised.

AMS has always benefited authors and companies whose advertisements rate high in terms of relevance.

In fact, by rating high in terms of relevance, an ad campaign can actually generate more impressions at a more modest bid.

If an ad creates 2000 impressions and has no sales, from Amazon’s perspective the ad doesn’t seem very relevant to the customers seeing the ad.

If an results in a sale once on average for every 500 impressions, this ad is far more relevant than an ad that creates one sale for every 2000 impressions.

What I’ve said so far has been true for years.

The recent change of introducing bidding dynamics helps to reflect relevance in the amount of the bid itself.

In circumstances where an ad has a history of seeming less relevant, a dynamic bid would lower the bid for less relevant ads.

In circumstances where an ad has a history of seeming more relevant, a dynamic up-and-down bid would raise the bid for more relevant ads.

DON’T GO OVERBOARD

Amazon makes it easy for authors to bid too high.

It’s very common for authors to bid more than they can afford to bid.

If you bid too high, your ad is more likely to result in a short-term loss, and you’re more likely to think that AMS isn’t for you.

First of all, it helps to realize that AMS isn’t just for books. There are many businesses using AMS to advertise many other products.

When you’re selling a product that retails for $100 or more, and where your profit is $10 or more, you can afford to bid $1 or more and you can afford to include a large bid adjust option.

When you’re an author selling a book for $5 with a royalty of $3, you can’t afford to bid $1 or close to it (there may be exceptional circumstances, but very rarely).

If you mostly sell Kindle eBooks, and if your average royalty is close to 70% (if your books include many pictures, your effective royalty is probably much less due to the delivery fee), then you want your ACOS (average cost of sale) to be 70% or less so that you’re not losing money on your ad.

If you mostly sell paperback books, and if your average royalty is close to 30%, then you want your ACOS to be less than 30%. The list price should be higher for a paperback, which helps to offset this lower percentage.

Figure out what your average royalty is, then keep a close eye on your ACOS and strive to keep it below your royalty percentage.

For comparison, my ads (some for books under pen names) generate millions of impressions (combined) in a single month with an ACOS usually around 25%. So it is possible to generate many impressions at a modest ACOS.

My ad campaigns use dynamic bidding—down only. I don’t currently raise my bids. The main reason is that this happened automatically on April 22. But after about a month of data, I don’t yet see a convincing reason to change to up-and-down bidding. I might try it with a future ad and see how it does, but the big downside is that ads will cost more.

I didn’t use Bid+, so I don’t bid extra for placement in search results or on product pages. For a nonfiction book, I would prefer to show high in search results than on a product page. But I also prefer not to pay extra for this.

It’s tempting to bid higher and bid extra. But it costs more. If you can get successful ads at a lower cost, you can run your ads for a much longer period.

The main key to success is relevance. You can actually generate good impressions at a modest bid if your targeting results in high relevance.

Part of relevance is a compelling cover, effective description, helpful Look Inside, amazing content that leads to good reviews, etc. This helps you sell more books for each 1000 impressions, which helps to rate high in terms of relevance.

Part of relevance is effective targeting. I have a knack for researching keywords and keyphrases. I spend time on Amazon typing in keywords and seeing what it suggests (yes, I know this isn’t perfect, but as it turns out, it really helps with brainstorming). I jot down keyword ideas whenever they occur to me. Use your brainstorming techniques. Now I don’t use every keyword (or better, group of related keywords) that comes to mind, but I do have a very long and varied list to begin with.

I suggest trying to bid below a half-dollar, maybe in the 30 to 40 cents range. This may not be enough with a popular broad keyword like “mystery” or with a product page for a popular book. But if you are clever enough to find combinations of keywords that do get searched several times per day, but which aren’t insanely popular, or similar popularity for product page targeting, you can get lower bids to be effective.

But you really want the targeting to be relevant for your book. That’s the most important thing. If the wrong audience is looking at your ad, you will rate poorly in terms of relevance.

If your ad isn’t performing well and it’s been a couple of weeks, you can pause or terminate your ad and start a new one. Try different targeting.

Raising the bid isn’t likely the solution to an ad that isn’t performing well because it doesn’t rate well in terms of relevance. But new targeting may help you land more impressions at a modest bid. If you can rate better in terms of relevance, you can land many more impressions.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

April 2019’s KENP per-page-read rate for Kindle Unlimited

KINDLE UNLIMITED: APRIL 2019’S PER-PAGE RATE

$0.004665 was the per-page rate for pages read through Kindle Unlimited in April of 2019.

This is an improvement over March’s rate of $0.00451.

$24.1 million was the KDP Select Global fund for April of 2019.

This was nearly identical to March’s figure of $24 million.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

How Much Did Kindle Unlimited Pay per Page for March, 2019?

WHAT WAS THE KINDLE UNLIMITED PER-PAGE RATE FOR MARCH, 2019?

In March, 2019, the Kindle Unlimited per-page rate dropped to $0.00451, which is in between the values of $0.00478 for February and $0.00442 for January.

The KDP Select Global Fund for March, 2019, was $24 million, which is also in between the values of $23.5 million for February and $24.7 million for January.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides