Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC): The new KDP Select & Kindle Unlimited

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Images from ShutterStock.

KINDLE EDITION NORMALIZED PAGE COUNT

As of July 1, KDP Select books will be paid for the number of pages read—rather than by the borrow—for Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime borrows.

Authors can now visit KDP to learn what the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) is for each of their KDP Select books.

  • Visit your KDP Bookshelf.
  • Click the Promote and Advertise button.
  • There you will find the KENPC for your book.

The KENPC tells you how much you will earn if a customer reads 100% of your book.

My ‘Detailed Guide’ self-publishing books weigh in at over 600 pages each with KENPC, which is quite amazing considering they have a little over 200 pages in print at 8″ x 10″.

My 4-book self-publishing boxed set has 2039 pages according to KENPC, while it has 628 printed 8.5″ x 11″ pages.

Fixed layout books, such as those made with the Kindle Textbook Creator or Kindle Kids’ Book Creator, have exactly the same KENPC as the actual page account (after accounting for the start reading location).

As the page counts seem fairly generous across the board with conventional Kindle e-books, it seems that fixed layout books may be somewhat disadvantaged by the KENPC.

Note that it’s called KENPC v 1.0. That version 1.0 suggests an intent to improve it with more versions over time.

Maybe one of the changes will help put illustrated children’s books on a more equal footing. At least, that’s one issue several children’s authors have raised regarding the change in Kindle Unlimited policy.

The sales reports will soon show how many pages have been read through Kindle Unlimited (rather than how many borrows have been read to 10%; that 10% mark no longer matters with the new Kindle Unlimited policy changes effective July 1, 2015).

This will be a cool new stat: the number of pages read. (But it would be meaningful if the reports also showed how many books were borrowed. Feel free to suggest that to Amazon.)

What is your KENPC?

NEW KDP REPORTING

The KDP Sales Dashboard now shows two separate charts: one shows sales and freebies, like before, while a new chart shows the KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) Read.

The Month-to-Date Unit Sales report shows the KENP Read per book.

This will make the stats more engaging. If you used to only see a couple of borrows per day, now you will see pages read changing throughout the day. The trick is to not fall into the trap of checking your reports more frequently.

Unfortunately, the reports no longer show how many books are borrowed, only how many pages are read. (If you would like this feature that could make your pages read stat more meaningful, send in a request to KDP. Visit KDP and look for the Contact Us button in the corner.)

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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15 Questions & Answers about the new Kindle Unlimited policy effective July 1

Images from ShutterStock.

Images from ShutterStock.

CHANGES TO KINDLE UNLIMITED POLICY

Kindle Unlimited is changing its policy effective July 1, 2015.

Books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited will now be paid by the number of pages read.

Following are 15 questions and answers about this policy change with Kindle Unlimited.

(Of course, this change only affects borrows through Kindle Unlimited. Ordinary sales are unaffected.)

1 How will this change affect Kindle Unlimited readers?

The change doesn’t directly impact readers, but there may be indirect effects.

  • Customers shouldn’t feel guilty about borrowing too many books. Especially, if you read short books or children’s books, it’s easy to feel guilty about reading one or more books a day. This is no longer an issue. Read as many books as you want. Amazon isn’t losing money if you read 30+ books a month on your $9.99 subscription, and all the authors will get paid based on how many pages you read.
  • The other possible impact depends on which books, if any, enter or exit the Kindle Unlimited library. Some authors of shorter books may pull their books out. Some authors of longer books may put theirs back in. There probably won’t be too much change in the first few months. Historically, books in KDP Select have had a 95% renewal rate, so if much more than 5% of the books drop out, that would be a big surprise. What’s more likely is that authors will wait a few months to see how the new program goes.

2 How will Amazon determine how many pages are read?

Amazon will use a KENPC (Kindle edition normalized page count), which will probably differ from the page count listed on the product page.

You won’t know what your book’s KENPC is until July 1. Then you can find it on the Promote and Advertise page from your Bookshelf.

Amazon will count pages read from your book’s start reading location. (Pages that are reread will only count the first time they are read.)

3 Will longer books have an advantage?

Longer books have more pages, so if a customer reads the whole book, it will pay a higher royalty than a short book.

However, it doesn’t really matter whether you write ten 50-page books or one 500-page book. Once a customer reads all of it, you get paid for the same 500 pages.

What Amazon has really done is remove the advantage that some short books used to have.

If authors of short books compare their new royalties to their old royalties, they are likely to see a significant drop.

However, that’s in the past. The current program treats both short and long books on a more equal footing, rather than giving short books a significant advantage.

4 Will illustrated children’s books and photography books have a disadvantage?

Images will count toward a book’s KENPC, so this should help books that have illustrations, photographs, and charts.

How many words one image will be worth is unknown at this point.

5 Which books will do best in the new Kindle Unlimited program?

What really matters most is content engagement.

That is, does the writing compel most readers to continue reading to the end, and then to want to read more of your books after that?

It doesn’t matter how long the book is. Whether you write four 50-page books or one 200-page book, you get paid the same so long as readers read all of the pages.

Rewarding content engagement is a good thing, surely.

6 How will Kindle Unlimited borrows be reported?

You’ll be able to see the number of pages read in your report.

That’s cool. That’s helpful data that we’ve never had before. Knowing how many pages your customers are reading can help you assess how engaging your content is.

A few authors who are on the fence about this policy change are staying in it initially just for this new data.

Will you be able to see both the number of books borrowed and the number of pages read? I hope so, but this is unknown at this point. (Feel free to place a request with KDP.)

7 What if the customer doesn’t finish your book in one month?

Evidently, you’ll get paid for the pages read each month (even if the customer temporarily stops reading your book and begins reading another, finishing your book later).

There is a neat effect here. Suppose you have a 300-page book. Starting in July, every month 100 customers begin reading your book, but read at a rate of 50 pages per month.

You’ll get paid for 5000 pages read in July, 10,000 pages read in August, 15,000 pages read in September, 20,000 pages read in October, 25,000 pages read in November, 30,000 pages read in December, and 30,000 pages read every month after that.

(Obviously, it’s not realistic that the same number of customers will borrow your book each month and all read at the same rate. It also assumes that every customer will read your complete book.)

But this shows the potential for growth that longer books have.

8 Is Amazon’s example of how the royalties will work realistic?

You can find the example here.

In the example, Amazon assumes a $10,000,000 payout and 100,000,000 pages read.

The payout may be closer to $11,000,000. That part seems reasonable, but was reduced to $10,000,000 to get round numbers.

The 100,000,000 pages read is probably not realistic. With that figure, Amazon would pay about 10 cents per page read.

Amazon probably chose these numbers so they could use nice round numbers in the example, not because it was realistic.

When KDP Select was first announced back in December, 2011, Amazon used a $5 royalty in their example, but in the first month KOLL paid less than $2. So it’s not uncommon for Amazon to overestimate in their example. (It probably has good marketing value for them, too.)

9 How will KDP Select All-Star bonuses be paid beginning July 1, 2015?

The top books and top authors will be awarded based on the total number of pages read through Kindle Unlimited, based on the KENPC (see Question 2).

10 Does the 10% mark matter any more?

Nope.

11 What about an omnibus or boxed set?

It used to make sense to not include the boxed set in KDP Select because you make more money when customers borrow them individually. (The boxed set must still be exclusive to Amazon if any of the individual volumes are in Select.)

Now it virtually doesn’t matter. If customers read the whole story, you get paid the same whether they borrow the boxed set or the individual volumes.

12 Will authors start padding their stories to make them longer?

Not if they’re smart!

Will people read pages just because they’re there? (And even if they do, will they want to read your next book?)

Pages are more likely to be read if they’re engaging.

If you can add engaging content, well, that’s not quite padding, is it?

13 Should you write short books or long books?

You should write (A) what’s most likely to sell, (B) what’s most likely to get read, and (C) what you’re a good fit to write.

If you write shorter books, you get paid less per book than if you write longer books, but through Kindle Unlimited, either way, it’s how many pages get read that really matters.

If you write a long book, but little of it gets read, those extra pages don’t help.

If you write a short book that gets fully read quite often, the pages will add up.

What length is more likely to sell and then more likely to engage the customer varies widely depending on the genre, category, and specific target audience.

There is no single size that optimizes success across the board. (Some lengths are also much harder to write well than others.)

14 How much will books make in Kindle Unlimited?

That’s the ten million dollar question! Nobody knows.

Amazon paid $10,800,000 in May, 2015, which led to a KOLL payment of $1.35 per book.

When a Kindle Unlimited customer borrows a book, how many pages does that customer read on average?

That’s the real question. If most of your Kindle Unlimited customers read more pages than that, you’ll probably see an improved per-book royalty. If most of your Kindle Unlimited customers read fewer pages than that, you’ll probably see a diminished per-book royalty.

And if your book is 5 pages long, you’re probably not going to be a happy camper no matter what.

15 Should you drop out of KDP Select?

Amazon will pay out more than $100 million dollars in royalties for KDP Select borrows (both Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited combined) in 2015.

That’s a huge share of the 2015 e-book market. If you walk out of KDP Select, your book is missing out on this market.

But if you stay in KDP Select, your book is missing out on the Nook, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords, etc. market.

Which market is better for your book? Good question! It varies from one book to another.

Some authors try out KDP Select for 90 days. If unhappy, they opt out. Occasionally that pays off; sometimes it ends up being worse; sometimes it doesn’t make much difference.

The only way to know is to try.

But if you opt out of KDP Select, your sales rank at Amazon may slide (as some authors have experienced) because those KDP Select borrows will no longer help. (Presently, you have more help than you realize, since you get a bump in rank when customers borrow your book but don’t reach the 10% mark.)

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

* Kindle Unlimited is on FIRE *

Images from ShutterStock.

Images from ShutterStock.

KINDLE UNLIMITED IMPROVEMENTS

Kindle Unlimited has me excited:

  • Amazon is implementing major improvements (depending on your perspective) to how the program works for authors.
  • The KDP Select Global Fund continues to grow. The current amount and Amazon’s projections for the next two months are looking nice.
  • Amazon released some favorable news about how Kindle Unlimited is doing so far in 2015.

CHANGES TO HOW KINDLE UNLIMITED PAYS AUTHORS

Amazon is changing how authors are paid for Kindle Unlimited borrows.

The new policy goes into effect July 1, 2015. June, which is already underway, won’t be affected by these changes.

How is Kindle Unlimited policy changing?

  • Authors will now be paid based on the total number of pages read through Kindle Unlimited (evidently, Amazon Prime, too).
  • Authors will not be paid based on the total number of borrows.
  • The magic 10% mark will become irrelevant.
  • Beginning July 1, every book will have a Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC), which may differ from the estimated page count that you see on your Amazon product page.
  • The KENPC will be used to count how many pages a Kindle Unlimited customer reads. It will count from the start reading location when the customer opens the book.
  • The KDP Select Global Fund for the month will be divided by the total number pages read through the Kindle Unlimited program.
  • Every book enrolled in Kindle Unlimited will be paid based on this ratio.
  • You can see an example here, worked out by Amazon. (The numbers are probably not quite realistic.)
  • All-Star books and KDP Select authors will be awarded based on the total number of pages read through Kindle Unlimited.

Of course, this has no bearing on ordinary sales, only books borrows through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime.

What does this mean?

  • If one customer reads a 10-page short story and another customer reads a 500-page novel completely, they no longer pay equal royalties through Kindle Unlimited. In my example, the 500-page novel will receive 50 times as much royalty as the 10-page story.
  • If a customer only reads 5 pages of your book, you get paid based on 5 pages, not based on the total length of your book.
  • You no longer have to worry about customers reaching the magic 10% mark. Well, you do have to worry about how many pages they read.
  • List price doesn’t factor into it. It doesn’t matter whether your list price is 99 cents or $9.99; it only matters how much the customer reads when borrowing through Kindle Unlimited.
  • Short books no longer have an advantage by getting customers to reach the 10% mark sooner (since the 10% mark no longer matters).
  • Authors of short books are likely to see a huge drop in their Kindle Unlimited royalties.
  • Authors of very long books for which customers tend to read most of the book are likely to see a huge improvement in their Kindle Unlimited royalties.
  • A page is a page is a page. Quality only factors into it insofar as it entices the customer to keep reading more pages. All pages (as determined through KENPC) pay the same in Kindle Unlimited.

THE KDP SELECT GLOBAL FUND

KOLL borrows paid $1.35 for May, 2015, which is right on target for how KOLL has paid in 2015.

However, moving forward, this really doesn’t matter. Starting in July 2015, KOLL will pay by the number of pages read through Kindle Unlimited, and so the payout will change dramatically.

But there is good news!

  • While the KOLL borrow didn’t change much, the KDP Select Global Fund continues to grow.
  • Amazon added a whopping $7.8 million to the $3 KDP Select Global Fund, bringing the payout to $10.8 million for May, 2015.
  • Amazon projects a KDP Select Global Fund in excess of $11 million for both July and August (when the new program terms take effect).
  • That huge $11,000,000 payout for July and August will be divided up based on page count, not the number of books borrowed.

MORE GOOD NEWS ABOUT KINDLE UNLIMITED

And that’s not all!

  • Guess how much KDP Select authors are making just from their Kindle Unlimited borrows for the first half of 2015? $60,000,000! That’s huge. KDP Select is a very significant share of the e-book market. (If you read any reports of how e-book sales are down, look closely to see if they are ignoring Kindle Unlimited. They shouldn’t be, but some companies like to do just that.)
  • Total royalties of KDP Select authors are approximately double compared to last year. Kindle Unlimited continues to grow.
  • Each month, at least 95% of the KDP Select books enrolled in Kindle Unlimited renew their enrollment. (I can confirm this independently, as I’ve checked on it myself.)

Kindle Unlimited isn’t for every book, and it requires giving up exclusivity, but it’s looking better and better. All of my books are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. I’m a Kindle Unlimited subscriber myself and read several full-length novels per month.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

How to Borrow Amazon Prime Books without Using Kindle Unlimited

Prime Reads

Borrowing with Amazon Prime

Amazon used to advertise on the book’s product page that the book could be read for free if the book was in KDP Select.

With the introduction of Kindle Unlimited, product pages no longer advertise Amazon Prime’s monthly free borrow.

Instead, they advertise Kindle Unlimited, which makes sense. Customers interested in reading free e-books are more apt to appreciate Kindle Unlimited than Amazon Prime (since they can only borrow one book per month through Prime).

However, Amazon Prime customers can still borrow one KDP Select book per month, as in previous months.

But many Prime members are confused about this.

They don’t see mention of Prime on product pages like they have in the past. So many customers are wondering if they can no longer borrow books through Prime.

The trick is to log into the Kindle device, rather than browse for books on Amazon’s website.

Here are Amazon’s instructions for how to borrow one eligible book per month through Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200757120.

Amazon Prime is still great for free two-day shipping and for video streaming. Amazon is still advertising Amazon Prime for quick shipping of print books and other physical products.

But Kindle Unlimited is the better alternative for reading ‘free’ books. Well, they aren’t free, but once you pay the $9.99 monthly fee for Kindle Unlimited, you can read as many KDP Select books (and 100,000 others) as you’d like.

Some customers are switching from Prime to Kindle Unlimited, but some customers have both, and yet others have never had Prime but are signing up for Kindle Unlimited.

Those who are keeping Prime only: Yes, you can still borrow one book per month from KDP Select. Be sure to browse for books from your device, rather than searching on Amazon’s website.

UK and other European customers are eligible for Amazon Prime, but presently Kindle Unlimited is only available for U.S. customers.

Kindle Unlimited customers have access to 600,000 titles, whereas Prime customers have access to 500,000, so there are a few books that Kindle Unlimited customers can download, which Prime customers can’t.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing