A Few Things I Like about Kindle Unlimited (& the May, 2018 per-page Rate)

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POSITIVE INDICATORS

There are reasons to be positive about Kindle Unlimited:

  • The per-page rate is $0.00454 for May, 2018 for books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime, which is almost identical to what it was ($0.00456) in April, 2018.
  • The per-page rate has been quite stable this year, very close to $0.0045 each month since January, 2018.
  • The KDP Select Global Fund made a significant jump, climbing to $22.5 million for May, 2018 (compared to $21.2 million for April, 2018).
  • The KDP Select Global Fund has steadily risen for years: $22.5 million is a new high. (Many people argued with me when the per-page concept was introduced, saying it would quickly drop down way below $10 million.)
  • The Kindle Unlimited market is significant. Amazon is on pace to pay $250,000,000 in royalties for KDP Select eBooks borrowed through Kindle Unlimited (and also Amazon Prime, though Prime is far less significant). That’s in addition to All-Star bonuses and whatever Amazon pays the traditionally published books that participate in the program. That’s a significant share of the eBook market, and since many of the books are KDP Select eBooks, this is a fairly indie-friendly market.

TRY TO STAY POSITIVE

As a general rule, people who are upset about something are more likely to express their opinions (especially strong opinions).

(Beware also that some people who complain loudly have ulterior motives.)

This can make it a challenge to remain positive.

But if you want to remain motivated and improve your chances of reaching your long-term goals, you need to stay hopeful.

(And avoid getting sucked into black holes of complaining and despair.)

If you do get upset about something, channel your feelings and passion into something productive. Find a way to help it motivate yourself, as some successful authors have done by posting rejection letters on their walls.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT KINDLE UNLIMITED

It’s too easy to get negative.

For example, you could look at the total number of books in Kindle Unlimited, or just the massive number added in the last 30 days.

But every negative has a positive. Instead of thinking of the large number of books as competition, think of how beneficial this is to help attract readers and keep them in the program (which if Amazon can continue to pay $20M per month in royalties and steadily growing, this is obviously working well).

Just like the big mistake that the “foolish” author who bashes the competition makes, similar books really don’t compete against one another. They are really complementary books that can thrive together. Customers read one good book, then want to find similar books. If an author persuades customers not to read similar books, many customers won’t discover that author’s books through those other books.

So here are a few things that I like about Kindle Unlimited (as both an author and a reader):

  • It’s affordable. Many of the books that I read in Kindle Unlimited sell for $5 and up. If I read a mere two books per month, I actually save money. When I’m not super busy with editing my own books, I easily read more than two books per month.
  • Recently, my daughter dragged me into a physical bookstore. I spent more money buying one ordinary novel than it would have cost for my entire monthly subscription to Kindle Unlimited.
  • For the nonfiction and educational books that participate, Kindle Unlimited is a convenient digital library. I wish there was more nonfiction content in the program. My nonfiction books participate, and the amount of nonfiction and educational books in the program is growing. Just imagine if someday, it were more convenient to look something up in a book in Kindle Unlimited than to use a search engine. (With search engines, very often one of the top search results has a nag screen to subscribe to their site. I haven’t even used the site yet to see if it’s worth subscribing to. If it were convenient to look to Kindle Unlimited for the answer, I could bypass some of those nag screens and advertisements, and I would be far less worried about getting a virus or spyware while searching for the answer.) It’s great when Kindle Unlimited has the nonfiction information I’m looking for, and sometimes it does.
  • As an author, I appreciate that each Kindle Unlimited (and Amazon Prime) borrow helps with sales rank (just as much as an ordinary paid sale). Occasionally, a book where sales are starting to taper off sees much extended life through regular borrows. A book with several daily borrows can compete with a book that has several daily sales.
  • I love seeing the number of pages read in my KDP royalty reports. I love knowing that not only did people borrow the book, but they are actually reading much of it, too. With math workbooks, I sometimes worry that people will start solving problems, but then give up. With Kindle Unlimited, sometimes the page count is a pleasant surprise, and shows me that people really are using my workbooks.
  • Conversely, if you’re not getting many pages read, this provides valuable marketing insight. Either your content isn’t as engaging as it could be, or your cover, description, and marketing are attracting the wrong audience for your book. Try changing things up until you finally get more pages read.
  • As I mentioned earlier, Kindle Unlimited is a very large, fairly indie-friendly market. Of course, with a couple million books to choose from, your book might not be among the popular reads, but the potential is certainly there (and not being among the popular reads is problematic with ordinary sales, too: if you can learn to write engaging content and a few effective marketing strategies, Kindle Unlimited can be helpful).
  • Although I don’t believe that KDP Select books are shown any direct favoritism, there appear to be indirect benefits: sales rank (as I mentioned earlier), the Kindle Unlimited filter (so that Kindle Unlimited customers can quickly find participating books: to these customers, many other books don’t even exist), etc.
  • For authors who write longer books, the KENPC is sometimes generous compared to the actual paperback page count, such that if a single customer reads the entire book, the Kindle Unlimited royalty may be higher than the royalty for a paid sale. This is the case with my longer books. (For authors of shorter books, this might seem unfair. But again, I’m trying to find ways to look at the positive, not the negative. I’d rather not open that can of worms—again—right now.)

I try to be pragmatic:

  • Is my experience as a reader better with Kindle Unlimited or without it? In my case, it’s much better. It’s affordable, I have fewer books to search through (I use the Kindle Unlimited filter), and I use it avidly.
  • Do I think that the millions of customers who use Kindle Unlimited are better off because of it? For most of them, I do. It’s affordable, it encourages them to read regularly, and if they are wise in searching for books, there is plenty of engaging content to be found.
  • As an author, do I feel that my books are doing better because of Kindle Unlimited than they would be doing if Kindle Unlimited didn’t exist? Absolutely. My Kindle Unlimited royalties themselves aren’t all that significant: I sell more paperbacks, and actually earn more through Kindle sales than through Kindle Unlimited. Yet I’m convinced of several benefits to Kindle Unlimited, like remaining relevant in sales rank through borrows, the fairly indie-friendly readership, and the help that the Kindle Unlimited filter offers in search results.
  • If you can’t answer yes to the previous question, being pragmatic, the next thing to ask is: As an author, do you feel that your books are doing better in Kindle Unlimited than they would do outside of Kindle Unlimited? Looking at the large number of books already in the program (in most categories), and the large number added to the program each day, it appears that many authors answer yes to this question. (If not, they should pull their books out of the program and publish on other platforms in addition to Kindle. Some do, of course, but the number who don’t is overwhelming.)

A few years ago, many people said that the KDP Select Global Fund would only temporarily be in the $10 million range, and that it would quickly drop down to the $3 million mark. But instead it has steadily risen, and is now up to $22.5 million.

Every time the per-page rate has taken a dip, numerous people have predicted the end of the world, saying that the per-page rate would drop below $0.04 and never return. However, the per-page rate has never dropped below $0.04 in the United States. The couple of times that it has gotten close, it has rebounded. It has fluctuated both up and down several times, it has spent a little time over $0.05, and this year it has been quite stable near $0.045. (Just recently, I read an article about how we’re “lucky” if Kindle pays $0.03 per page read, but that’s a mistake: In the United States, it has never dipped below $0.04 per page.) I’m not saying that it won’t ever drop below $0.04, but several people have been “positive” in the past that it was going to, and that it would never return to its current level, but each time it rose back up instead of falling below this threshold, and we have a couple of years of data now.

Kindle Unlimited appears to be doing much better than some “experts” have claimed it would.

Sure, it would be great if the Global Fund were $30 million and if the page rate were $0.06. But could Amazon afford to pay that? Let’s remember, Amazon collects a small monthly fee, offers free trials, and lets customers read as much as they want. It’s easy to propose the subscription service of your dreams, but much harder for that service to continue long-term and not go out of business. Amazon has a fairly stable per-page rate, a growing Global Fund, a growing number of participating books, and a subscription service that has lasted for a few years. It appears to be a viable program. Viability is important to me.

Copyright 2018

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

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

KDP Select Global Fund and Per-page Rate for April, 2018

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WHAT DID KINDLE UNLIMITED PAY FOR PAGES READ IN APRIL, 2018?

The Kindle Unlimited per-page rate increased slightly to $0.00456 for April, 2018 (compared to $0.00449 for March, 2018).

KENP read has been fairly stable in 2018, varying between $0.00448 (January) and $0.00466 (February) per normalized page read.

The KDP Select Global Fund continues to rise, reaching $21.2 million for April, 2018.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Copyright © 2018

Chris McMullen

Kindle Unlimited Per Page Rate for March, 2018

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KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ FOR MARCH, 2018

In March, 2018 the Kindle Unlimited per-page rate was $0.00449.

That’s nearly identical to what it was for January, 2018 ($0.00448), but down a little compared to February, 2018 ($0.00466).

The per-page rate is showing relative stability at the beginning of 2018.

The KDP Select Global Fund reached a record high of $21 million for March, 2018, a nice rise from February, 2018 ($20 million), and slightly higher than January, 2018 ($20.9 million).

 

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Copyright © 2018

Chris McMullen

Kindle Unlimited per-page rate for January, 2018

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KINDLE UNLIMITED PER-PAGE RATE FOR JANUARY, 2018

In January, 2018 the Kindle Unlimited per-page rate was $0.00448.

It has dropped down a bit, after a steady climb for several months, which culminated in a brief appearance above half a penny per page ($0.00506) in December, 2017.

It isn’t unusual for the per-page rate to drop from December to January:

  • December, 2016 paid $0.00524, dropping to $0.00457 for January, 2017.
  • December, 2015 paid $0.00461, dropping to $0.00411 for January, 2016.
  • Prior to that, KDP Select didn’t use the per-page model, yet it was still common for January’s royalties to drop compared to December.

So you shouldn’t PANIC. This is normal.

Why does January typically pay less than December? Amazon sells a ton of Kindle devices for the holidays, and many customers try their free month of Kindle Unlimited. More customers are probably reading a high volume of pages at this time, too. Whatever the reason, the per-page rate is still looking good compared to six months ago, when it had dwindled down close to $0.004 per page. Amazon introduced KENPC 3.0 and the per-page rate recovered nicely. It’s still up 12% over that low point.

On a related note, the KDP Select Global Fund hit a record high, $20.9 million, the first time it has ever climbed over $20 million, and up a clear million from December.

So even though the per-page rate is down, Amazon still paid a million more dollars in royalties for Kindle Unlimited (and Amazon Prime) borrows of KDP Select books (and that’s on top of what they paid for sales, and also on top of the All-Star bonuses which are awarded separately).

Two years ago, January, 2016, the per-page rate had dropped down to what was at the time a record low (and it has since only returned to that point once). In comparison, January, 2018 is looking pretty good. While it has taken a typical drop from December, bear in mind that December was at a relative high, a rare appearance above $0.005. It’s more that December was unusually high than January is atypically low.

Write more books, write engaging content, learn effective long-term marketing strategies, and little fluctuations in per-page rates will hardly seem to matter.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Copyright © 2018

 

Chris McMullen

Wow: Kindle Unlimited Clears Half a Penny per Page (December, 2017)

KINDLE UNLIMITED UPDATE FOR DECEMBER, 2017

The Kindle Unlimited per-page rate finished 2017 with a Bang, paying over $0.005 per page read ($0.00506394 to be precise).

The per-page rate has climbed above half a penny per-page a few times in the past, but usually it is under $0.005.

Part of the explanation appears to be KENPC v3.0. Amazon KDP introduced the new KENPC calculation when the per-page rate had dropped to the low $0.004’s in July. The per-page rate has climbed steadily ever since.

Part of the explanation may also be that December is a very busy holiday sales month.

The KDP Select Global Fund also increased to $19.9 million. While the KDP Select Global Fund has consistently increased over the life of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, what’s different now is that for five months the per-page rate and global fund have both increased together. It’s a nice trend.

While it’s nice to see the per-page rate and global fund both rising, be prepared. The per-page rate is generally a bit of a roller coaster ride, and when it peaks above $0.005 per page, it may not last long. Be prepared in case it dips back below $0.005 per page, but be hopeful that it stays above $0.005.

The global fund tends to climb over time (with only an occasional exception), but history suggests that the per-page rate won’t continue to climb forever (though I’d love to see it prove me wrong).

Enjoy it while it lasts, hope it continues, and realize that it has been fairly stable in its oscillation between $0.004 and $0.005 ever since the per-page concept was introduced.

Really, neither the per-page rate nor the global fund are the points to worry about.

The trick is to get more people to read more of your books. 🙂

Copyright © 2018

Chris McMullen

Kindle Unlimited Per-Page Rate Continues to Rise (November, 2017)

KINDLE UNLIMITED PER-PAGE RATE, NOVEMBER, 2017

Through July, 2017, the Kindle Unlimited per-page rate had been spiraling downward.

But Amazon introduced KENPC v3.0 before it could drop below $0.004 per page.

The per-page rate has steadily climbed since.

  • November: $0.00463 per page
  • October: $0.00456 per page
  • September: $0.00443 per page
  • August: $0.00419 per page
  • July: $0.00403 per page

The KDP Select Global Fund also hit a new record high.

  • November: $19.8 million
  • October: $19.7 million
  • September: $19.5 million
  • August: $19.4 million
  • July: $19.0 million
  • June: $18.0 million

It’s nice to see the per-page rate rising alongside the KDP Select Global Fund.

However, at some point the per-page rate will reach a plateau, whereas the KDP Select Global Fund has risen steadily for years.

I remember the days when the KDP Select Global Fund was below $10M. I remember the people who claimed that $10M would just be the gravy to entice authors into KDP Select, and that it would surely drop once it got settled. But it’s since doubled, continuing to rise.

I also remember every time the Kindle Unlimited rate dropped to near $0.004 per page several people crying the end of the world, that it would drop below $o.004 and never return. But yet again it has bounced back.

The Kindle Unlimited per-page rate is a bit of a roller coaster ride with peaks and valleys. After it peaks and drops a bit, try not to panic. 🙂

Overall, the KDP Select per-page rate has experienced relative stability between $0.004 and $0.005 (occasionally rising slightly over $0.005).

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

Kindle Unlimited: October, 2017 Marks Steady Improvement

KINDLE UNLIMITED PER-PAGE RATE, OCTOBER, 2017

The Kindle Unlimited per-page has continued to increase ever since the inception of KENPC v3.0.

  • October: $0.00456 per page
  • September: $0.00443 per page
  • August: $0.00419 per page
  • July: $0.00403 per page

The KDP Select Global Fund has increased steadily over a much longer period (just a couple of years back, it was half as much).

  • October: $19.7 million
  • September: $19.5 million
  • August: $19.4 million
  • July: $19.0 million
  • June: $18.0 million

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

Kindle Unlimited: Movin’ on up (September 2017)

KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ, SEPTEMBER, 2017

The Kindle Unlimited per-page rate increased for the second month in a row.

The September, 2017 rate of $0.00443 is a healthy boost over the August rate of $0.00419 and the July rate of $0.00403 per page.

Both of these increases followed the introduction of KENPC v3.0.

The KDP Select Global Fund for September, 2017 is $19.5 million.

Overall, Amazon is paying out more money per month than ever for Kindle Unlimited: The global fund has climbed over 20% over the past year.

That comes to over $200M per year, and that doesn’t even include royalties for ordinary sales—that’s just for pages read through Kindle Unlimited (and to a much lesser extent, Amazon Prime).

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

Kindle Unlimited Per-page Rate Back Up for August, 2017

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KENP RATE FOR AUGUST, 2017

Good news: The per-page rate for Kindle Unlimited bounced back up to $0.00419 per page for August, 2017.

It had dropped down to $0.004034 for July, 2017, which was right on the cusp of dipping below $0.004 for the first time ever.

So it’s nice to see it rise back up a bit. It nearly returned to the rate for June, 2017, which was $0.004223.

Of course, it’s all relative. The per-page rate was very close to $0.005 back in February and steadily declined from March thru July.

So it’s also nice to see August at least temporarily break the trend of declining per-page rates.

Also, remember that Amazon KDP introduced KENPC v3.0 just recently.

The KDP Select Global Fund also hit a record high, $19.4 million for August, 2017.

The global fund has steadily risen over a period of years, which shows a strong and growing Kindle Unlimited program.

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

Kindle Unlimited KENP Pages Read for April, 2017

APRIL, 2017 KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ RATE

The KENP per-page rate for Kindle Unlimited held steady in April, 2017.

The KENP per page rate for April, 2017 is $0.00457, which is nearly identical to the rate for March, 2017, which was $0.00460 per page.

The KDP Select Global Fund also held steady in April, 2017.

The Global Fund is $17.8M for April, 2017, which is slightly up from March, 2017, for which the Global Fund was $17.7M.

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen