December Select Royalty Stays Near Half Cent

UPDATE:

A few hours after I posted the report below, the KDP Dashboard reported that the December report was “delayed”  and they pulled back the reports. The royalty is unchanged, but they raised the number of pages read for all of my books. It looks to me like they simply omitted a couple days at the end of the year in the initial report, so the fix added a couple hundred ollars to my earnings.

The select KENP royalty for December was 0.46 cents per page.

KENP December 2015

Last year the royalty actually increased from November to December, thanks to a large make-up payment from Amazon, while in earlier years, drops from November to December of twenty percent or more were the norm. The relatively steady royalty shows how Kindle Unlimited subscriptions have come to dominate the pages read count, which prior to KU, was driven by Prime members once-a-month borrows.

The UK royalty was a bit lower, at 0.44 cents (US, using todays exchange rates), Germany, at 0.42 cents, paid less than France and Italy at 0.47 cents for some reason, and the Canadian store was all the way down to 0.39 cents US. How much of the Canadian drop is due to their collapsing currency is unclear.

My US fiction books earned about twice as much through sales as through KU royalties in December, but I haven’t been tracking this over time. Maybe next month I’ll look at that data to see if any trends are developing.

Echo Now Reads Kindle Books Without Narration

Amazon Echo, aka, Alexa, now reads Kindle books from your account. You have to download the book to at least one Kindle compatible device before Alexa will read it, she won’t (yet) pull titles out of the Amazon store, though I assume that’s coming. (If you don’t see the video below, click through to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F0S3kyac2g)

A couple of interesting notes about this capability. You can manage it through the Echo app on  Kindle Fire, which means you can move between chapters or forward and back 30 seconds. And Amazon recognizes section breaks in texts converted from Word as chapters, even if you don’t include a TOC in the file you upload to KDP.

Echo screen shot

Before offering feedback on the cover, see the evolution at http://www.ifitbreaks.com/covers.htm

I’m not sure how motivated Amazon will be to improve Alexa’s reading ability since I’m sure they would much rather sell Audible eBooks. I do hope that one day they look at the business idea I sent the Alexa Fund, to team up with newspapers to provide reading services for the visually impaired. I know a number of older people with failing vision, and what they miss the most isn’t driving, but reading the local paper. But I’m afraid that the age demographic of people working in product development at the Amazons, Apples and Googles of world doesn’t understand the role of local newspapers, since they likely never subscribed to one.

KDP Royalties For International Amazon Stores

November was the first month for which Amazon began paying KDP publishers a different royalty rate per page for books borrowed from different stores through Prime memberships or the Kindle Unlimited program.

The US and UK stores paid the same royalty, 0.49 cents, after adjusting for the current dollar/pound exchange rate. Germany, the only Euro store I checked, paid 0.46 cents, a fairly minor difference that might have more to do with rapidly moving exchange rates than the actual royalty. Canada came in at 0.44 cents a page after adjusting for the Canadian dollar, which has also been plummeting recently. The outlier was India, which came in at 0.16 cents a page, or a roughly a third of the rate for Western countries. The graph below shows the US trend:

KENP Royalty NOvember 2015

The main reason for the different royalty rates is that Kindle Unlimited subscription costs aren’t uniform around the world. For example, the top tier KU membership in India is 199 Rupees, or about $3.00. The KU membership in Canada is $9.99 in Canadian dollars, which are now worth around 73 cents, US, the lowest I can recall in a long time.

Below I’ll give the KENP royalty in the native currency with current exchange rate equivalent:

US – 0.0049 or .49 cents

UK – .0033 pounds or $.0049 (same as US)

DE – .0043 EU or $.0046

CA – .0061 C$ or $.0044

IN – 0.11 INR or $.0016

The only thing I have to add is that I’m changing the name of the blog from Publishing 3.0 to Amazon Publishing 3.0 since I haven’t written about anything other than Amazon in quite a while. I still publish through other methods myself, including direct eBook sales and POD through Ingram’s Lightning Source, but I haven’t had anything new to say about it for a long time.

Select Royalty (KENP) Continues To Drop

The KDP Select payment per page read for October was $0.0048 or 0.48 cents per page. When the new pay-per-page model launched in July, that payment was $0.0058, or 0.58 cents per page. So in four months, the royalty has dropped by a tenth of a cent per page, which is getting close to twenty percent.

Select royalty trend

Note that this royalty is for the US. Using the current exchange rate, I got the same payment for the UK, Canada, India and Germany. Starting this month (November), Amazon announced they would use a different payment rate in different countries to account for the fact that the subscription cost of Kindle Unlimited isn’t uniform, among other issues. Don’t expect multiple graphs:-)

A Quiet Drop in Kindle Select Income and Kindle Ads Beta

I wasn’t going to bother writing about the Kindle Select payments anymore since they changed to the pay-per-page system. In fact, I didn’t even bother looking at the royalty per page in my last statement until just now. It turns out, the payment dropped from $0.0058 per page in July to $.0051 per page in August, or 12%.

My guess is that most of the drop could be accounted for by the addition of authors who had kept their (long) books out of the Select program because they considered the old payment scheme unfair, which it was.

I also found out last week that the source of the sponsored Kindle ads run by Kindle publishers I’ve been seeing all over the Amazon results the last month or so is a Beta program that I wasn’t invited to join. Assumedly, I missed the cut because I didn’t spend any money in the existing advertising program, which I did join when it was Beta. The sponsored ads can appear at the bottom of the search results, as this search on “science fiction”:

blog1

Or they can appear below the Also Bought list for books that aren’t part of a series (the following is from the product page for “The Martian” by Andy Weir:

blog2

I can’t speak to the effectiveness of the ads for the current users, of which there seem to be a limited number since I see the same titles all the time, but when the program comes out of Beta and everybody can join, market forces will take over and the variety will increase.

Most Accurate Amazon Estimate Ever:-)

In my last post, a month and a half ago, I predicted that the Amazon Select royalty per page (KENP or Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) would be .58 cents, or $0.0058. The actual result is (drumroll)

.58 cents, or $0.005779 (if you care about insignificant decimal places).

So what made the original estimate so accurate? I simply used the numbers that Amazon had provided for June, and it turns out that the number of pages read by Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited members in July was close enough to the same number, 1.9 billion pages, that the result was within a couple hundreths of a cent.

See that post for my conclusions about the change, which are, unchanged:-)

One-half Cent Per Page Is New Select Royalty Estimate

My first estimate for the Kindle Select royalty system that starts today is $0.0058, or 0.58 cents per page read. This is based on Amazon’s announcement that the global pool for July will be at least $11 million, and that last month, the number of pages read was almost 1.9 billion.

The math give us 11,000,000 / 1,900,000,000 = 0.0058 (unless I blew a decimal place:-)

The main caveat here is that you have to go to your KDP to check the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) for your books, because it’s not the same as the page count shown on the Amazon product page. For example, a novel of mine whose length is given as 180 pages on the Amazon product page is assigned a KENPC length of 249 pages. So I would expect to see 249 x .0058 = $1.44 per borrow, perhaps a little more if Amazon increases the pool more than pages read rises. And of course, you only get credit for all the pages in a book if a reader completes it.

On the other hand, a heavily illustrated (screenshots) book I published about getting library audio books onto your Kindle shows a page count of 54 pages on the Amazon product page, versus a KENPC of 45 pages, so I can expect a royalty of about a 25 cents on a book that sells for $2.99.

If you have books in Select, take a look at the “Promote and Advertise” page for each and see how your KENPC’s are running. If Amazon generates a KENPC of 500 pages for your novel, you can expect a royalty of well of $2.90 or more. But contrary to popular opinion, a picture under the new regime is not worth a thousand words. Maybe something like a hundred, depending on the size.

I suspect this may come as a shock to some of the people I’ve seen in public discussions who expected a royalty of ten cents based on Amazon’s “easy math” example. It also looks like the average length of books borrowed in June was running a bit under 60,000 words.

Free Kindle Science Fiction and Fantasy List and KU Earthquake

I’m doing the Sci Fi announcement first because every publishing blogger under the sun will be writing about the KU (Kindle Unlimited) earthquake.

I’ve taken my curated list of links to free Kindle Sci Fi and Fantasy out of Kindle Select so I could give it away freely and I’m hosting it on on my IFITBREAKS.COM domain. Around half of the books are from post-WWII authors whose stories appeared first in pulp magazines which went out of copyright, resulting in those works being digitized by Project Gutenberg volunteers and later published by Amazon’s public domain division. The rest were largely written before 1923, the boundary in US copyright law.

The bulk of the work in creating this list was the research into the historical development of science fiction. The designation of these works as science fiction is mine, I didn’t pay attention to the Amazon categories. Many of the authors will appear on Sci Fi lists drawn up by academics, others are simply futuristic or fantasy works that stuck with me, including “The Shaving of Shagpat” by George Meridith and a number of works from Frank Stockton,  who most American students know for “The Lady and the Tiger” or “The Bee Man of Orn.” I’m pasting in a clickable screenshot of the top of the list below.

 

scifi list

Another page on IFITBREAKS, which I thought was a cool name for a Sci Fi site, lists Kindle Science Fiction series where the first book is perma-free and has over a hundred reviews. All of these are books that I’ve downloaded and at least tried, in some cases, I finished Book One and bought the rest of the series. I’m not attempting to review the books, there are plenty of those to read on Amazon. It’s more of a note to myself to see if perma-free works for authors to promote a series. The answer, which I’ve given in the past, is – not that well. It’s extremely tough for a perma-free book to maintain visibility on Amazon when paid books get 100X the visibility in the algorithms for recommendations. If I was starting a series today, I would put book #1 in KDP Select and run a promotion every three months, back by paid promotion lists.

I’ve also included a list of memorable classics on the site (meaning science fiction books that I remember) which are not free, though some of the books are included in Kindle Ultimate. I can’t explain why the vast majority of Sci Fi writers whose works have stayed with me for thirty or forty years have last names from the first ten letters of the alphabet. And I plan on creating another list for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, though I haven’t worked out exactly what I want to put on it yet.

Now the KU earthquake. Amazon has announced what many of us have wanted all along. July 1st,  they’re going to start paying authors whose books are borrowed through Select based on the number of pages read, rather than simply paying a flat royalty if the reader read 10%. That amount was $1.35 in May, but I’m not going to bother graphing it anymore because the graph had gone flat at $1.3X – two thirds of the royalty an author would receive on a $2.99 book sale. And after this month, it won’t be relevant in any case.

This should effectively kill the move to short-story length book series written for Kindle Unlimited that are taking over the Amazon catalog. It may also help reduce the number of spammy low-page-count nonfiction titles for which Kindle Unlimited was the primary target.

Here’s the Amazon link explaining everything.

Kindle Select Royalty Stops On A Dime

The new range for Select royalties may as well be declared official at two-thirds of a $2.99 sale. For the last seven months, the royalty has been tightly range-bound between $1.33 and $1.43, in other words, one thin dime. For April it was $1.35.

 

kollsplitapr

The only question that remains for now is wether they will hold the royalty steady through the Christmas rush, as they did last year, or whether they will let it crash by 30% or more in December and January, as they did with KOLL royalties in every year before that.

Your guess is as good as mine. Now, back to writing I go.

March Select Royalty Ties Record Low

The KDP Select royalty for books borrowed through Prime or Unlimited in March came to $1.33.

kollsplitmar

By my math, $1.33 still beats the pants off the $0.35 I make on most of my books, which are priced at $0.99. However, it’s also not a living, so I’m going to have to experiment with raising my prices, trading readers for income.

I’m told the Kindle boards were all abuzz about a new site for authors to generate graphs and projections about their Kindle sales.

https://www.getbookreport.com

I don’t know anything about it and I’m not in a hurry to try, having finally weaned myself both from looking at KDP and checking sales ranks and reviews on Amazon (only took me 18 years) more than once a week. Hard to imagine I was the original Sales Rank king and addict, who once got calls from both the NYT and WSJ on the same day, seeking my input on some Amazon story.

Also hard to believe there was a time I blogged every day, putting hours into each post:-)