Last week Amazon announced Kindle Unlimited, a new subscription-based service for US readers. Kindle Unlimited subscribers are able to read as many books as they want from a library of over 600,000 titles and 8,000 audiobooks while subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. And every Jake Hawking solo short-adventure and the Hawking mini-collection are available for rent through Kindle Unlimited! Meaning, for $9.99 you can read all my stuff and have access to about 600,000 titles more.
So think of it as Netflix for book lovers.
There’s definitely a lot of overlap. Prime doesn’t include audiobooks, but it does include free shipping and other perks. Unlimited is definitely geared more toward your digital reader. And at $9.99 a month, that’s about as cheap as a big pub paperback these days. So if you’re a voracious ebook reader, Unlimited is a good choice. If you’re a slower reader or not into ebooks, it probably isn’t right for you at the moment.
But, isn’t this what a library is for? Can’t I get books for free there?
Yes and no. Your tax dollars are already paying for the libraries, so it’s not all that free (perhaps free-er) and I’m not sure how many libraries have eBooks you can take out. Libraries also have TV shows and movies, but people still subscribe to Netflix because it has wider options, much like Kindle Unlimited. Also, not sure how many libraries have access to 600,000 books and an additional 5,000 audiobooks. And knowing Amazon, that number is just going to climb higher in the coming years.
Related: libraries don’t pay authors very well. Via a library I make a one-time $0.34 per copy on Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters. Through Kindle Unlimited, that number will probably be closer to $2 per copy (guestimation based on Prime rentals), per every time someone reads 10% of my book or more. What other authors make via libraries varies depends on their publisher’s deal with said libraries, but they don’t make money per rental in the US, just per books purchased by the library.
Example: If my titles are rented 50x in a public library (let’s say they own just one copy) and just five times on Kindle Unlimited, I’ll make just $0.35 via the library for 50 rentals but $10 for just five rentals via Kindle Unlimited. It’s a bit nicer for the author to make money per rental . I’m unsure if other countries operate this way, though. So yep, I’m a bit biased toward Unlimited.
So sure, you can ask your local library to snag you a copy of my stuff in paperback and rent it via them, but you’re doing authors — especially us indie and self-pub authors — a bigger favor by renting via Amazon. And I know a lot of people hate Amazon because they’re big and scary and are “ruining the world of publishing” but they treat and pay authors better than any traditional pub that I know of, so until someone else comes along, Amazon is the best choice for most of us.
Don’t I need a Kindle?
Nope. You can use the Amazon Cloud Reader to read right on your computer.
So here’s an idea…
Sign up for Kindle Unlimited, and give it a shot. If you read at least 10% of my book, I’ll get paid a royalty. If it’s not for you, you can just cancel the free trial before the 30 days are up and you won’t have spent a dime.
Of course, purchasing a copy is always a good thing, so don’t be afraid to do that straight up.