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.
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.