Amazon to Pay Kindle Authors Only for Pages Read

Online retail giant Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos
Credit: Telegraph.co.uk

Amazon announced today that starting July 1, self-published authors will be paid in royalties based on the amount of pages a Kindle reads, instead of the amount of times the books has been downloaded. This means if a reader abandons the book halfway through, the writer will only receive a quarter amount of royalties compared to the full amount they would receive if the reader decide to finish reading the book. As reported by the Telegraph:

The new system, which begins on July 1, initially applies to those authors who self-publish their book via the Kindle Direct Publishing Select programme, which makes books available to “borrow” from the Kindle library and to Amazon Prime customers.

Amazon claims its method is a fair way of rewarding authors who write lengthy books but have previously picked up the same royalties as someone who churns out 100 pages.

“We’re making this switch in response to great feedback we received from authors who asked us to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read,” the company said.

“Under the new payment method, you’ll be paid for each page individual customers read of your book, the first time they read it.”

To prevent authors beating the system by enlarging the type and spreading out their work over a larger number of pages, Amazon has developed a “Kindle Edition Normalised Page Count” (KENPC) which standardises font, line height and line spacing.”

Of course, this announcement met with some criticism, particularly from authors,

However, Hari Kunzru, award-winning author of The Impressionist, said the system “feels like the thin end of a wedge”.

He tweeted: “Now Amazon want to pay writers only for pages read. Feel like I’d be best off retraining now, before the rush.”

Peter Maass, the writer and editor, said: “Amazon to pay writers based on pages read on Kindle. I’d like same in restaurants – pay for how much of a burger I eat.”

Kerry Wilkinson, whose Jessica Daniel crime series propelled him to the top of the Amazon best-seller list before he was picked up by a publisher, believes the system is fair.

“If readers give up on a title after half a dozen pages, why should the writer be paid in full?” he said.

“If authors don’t like it, they don’t have to use KDP Select. It’s opt in, not opt out.” “

In my opinion, this a start of a slippery slope. Spotify may pay music artists based on how many times one of their song is played but get the full value when their song is legally downloaded. The profit from films are based on how many tickets were sold, not on how many people actually stayed throughout the entire movie. Sales of printed books, again, based on the purchase not the readership. Paying the full royalty to an author based how far a reader gets along, especially in an e-book because it so easy to track, starts a dangerous trend. This might deter writers from not only using Amazon’s platform to publish their work but to self-publish altogether. The author may feel like they won’t make enough revenue due a reader’s attention span not lasting longer than an hour, being penalized for their creativity.

On a side note, is any one comfortable that now they can track your reading habits through e-books? Talk about Big Brother.

Thoughts? Opinions? Please post them below.

If you woul like to read the original article, you can find it here.

7 thoughts on “Amazon to Pay Kindle Authors Only for Pages Read

  1. What I don’t get is, how would they know? If I download a book I turn my wifi off after so it doesn’t waste the battery … So how would they know how much I read? And would the author then not be paid because I turn my wifi off? It’s a weird system in my opinion.

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  2. I’d like to see if there are figures to back this up – i.e. a strong showing that there are people who are reading over 100 pages into a 500 page novel and therefore the guy that puts out a 50 pager is somehow getting an unfair advantage.

    If I rent a movie and then get distracted, decide I don’t like it, or for whatever reason, don’t finish it, I’m not charged for just the minutes I watched.

    I don’t know. I’m eternally grateful to Amazon for providing authors with the ability to self-publish, but it does sort of seem like a trend to get lots of authors to put their stuff out and then slowly chip away at the moola.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was a report released by Kobo measuring the how far people read certain books, here is the article: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/10/kobo-survey-books-readers-finish-donna-tartt
      I feel that this is a sense of the times. People’s attention span is getting shorter and an author is being penalized for deciding to write a longer novel. I agree with you, I do think some authors will take advantage of this and decide to only write novellas because they feel they’ll make more of a profit. I think a lot of authors will switch to another self-publishing platform.

      Liked by 1 person

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