back to article Amazon's Spotify-for-books: THE TRUTH

Amazon has confirmed the launch of a monthly subscription service that will allow unlimited access to ebooks and audiobooks. The company said Kindle Unlimited will allow peeps to pay a $9.99 flat fee and have full access to a collection of 600,000 titles. The service covers printed and audio titles. To promote the …

Anonymous Coward

What about the authors?

I'm naturally interested in a service at that price, but I worry about sustainability - I rather pay an author a decent price for their book when I'm sure they get it than a middle man who has forced them to lower their price below a level where they can make a living, just in the hope of the volumes Amazon promises (the question is basically if they deliver for lesser known authors, or are they destroying them instead?).

Sure, I like to pay less, but I am also aware that too low exacts a payback - only delayed.

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Re: What about the authors?

Authors get paid at the usual Amazon rate if the book gets read past the 10% trial point.

So not actually a bad deal, so far as I can tell.

But of limited interest to most Kindle users. Only heavy readers are likely to spend more than $10/month on books. There are a few of those - romance readers are famously obsessive - but not as many as you might think.

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Re: What about the authors?

Only heavy readers are likely to spend more than $10/month on books.

Teenagers bust this easily - certainly would here in the UK where a teenage fiction book might go for £5 or more and last less than a week. Even with daily deals and public domain which I have urged my teenager to consider, for some parents, knowing that they can get the years reading for a fixed fee is a blessing.

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Re: Heavy readers

That was my first thought, but then I factored in the audio books, which I consume at a prodigious rate whilst commuting. That might swing it, for me.

GJC

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Re: What about the authors?

>Only heavy readers are likely to spend more than $10/month on books.

audible (owned by amazon) currently charge $15/month for one audio title per month.

Safari (O'reilly) had such a complex structure for their $15/month I cancelled.

$10/month for instant access to 10,000s of titles, even if I don't read more than 1/month is a bargain - assuming it doesn't only cover the latest blockbusters.

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Re: What about the authors?

This is from one of the Independent author loops I hang out in. To the best of my ability to assess, the update is factually correct:

<

This program requires that independent authors... remove their books from all sites other than Amazon (except for special privileges granted to a few bestsellers). That would mean abandoning hundreds of readers who use other platforms.

In addition, with other subscription-based services, such as Scribd and Oyster, the author is guaranteed his or her regular royalty rate. With Amazon Kindle Unlimited, the more people borrow books, the less money authors get (per copy), with no guaranteed minimum. Indie authors get a flat fee per book no matter the cover price or length. (They offer much better terms for publishers with clout, of course. Their books get full royalties—at least for now.)

>

I'd rather not, if I may be permitted the liberty, re-open the 'Indie/ Self Published Authors aren't 'Real Authors'' debate. But, at least in respect of some Authors, this may not be a Good Thing.

It is, of course, the Reader's right to choose as they see fit :-).

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Re: What about the authors?

"Only heavy readers are likely to spend more than $10/month on books. "

1) If that's true, then those heavy readers may be keeping the publishing industry, and thus writing, afloat. Allow them to pay $10 only and both may sink.

2) I spend about $100 a month on books, and don't consider myself a heavy reader. But I am a student.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about the authors?

This is from one of the Independent author loops I hang out in. To the best of my ability to assess, the update is factually correct:

This program requires that independent authors... remove their books from all sites other than Amazon (except for special privileges granted to a few bestsellers). That would mean abandoning hundreds of readers who use other platforms.

Ah, the old "you're with us or against us" blackmail conditions. As a wannabee author, that just about clinches it for me: it'll be a solid "no" to Amazon. Not because I have *any* expectation to get rich off a book (realistically, I cannot see that happen anyway), but because I dislike the sort of mindset that attempts this kind of blackmail. I like Amazon, but this is unacceptable.

Thanks for that update - where is a good place to pick up this sort of discussions (just in case Amazon has managed to get this "forgotten" on Google :) ).

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Re: What about the authors?

If I read them, they're an author. I can't recall the last time I read anything by an independent author but if those are the terms for them, no thanks Amazon. And that's despite a book a day habit.

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FAIL

I read

That there are only 2000 audio books, most disappointed. same price for unlimited audible would be more interesting.

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I am surprised they are not bundling it into prime and force the price of it up by a few $$$$

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Depends on the bundled options

When they recently hiked Prime to include film here in the UK, it provoked a "Let's Review at renewal" flag.

If Prime and Unlimited were bundled at a fraction over the Unlimited price then it becomes interesting again.

For example, there are books that I possess which would be nice to have on Kindle to reread for the commute - Unlimited would make that a simple process

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There already is something similar to that bundled into Prime, the 'Kindle lending library' ("Over 500,000 Kindle titles to borrow for free"). As they are trying to strong-arm the indies into agreeing terms to be included, we can assume that the new service does not cover their entire catalogue.

So, this is even more money for similar access to an unknown, but limited selection (sorry, that will be 'selected titles') that you can't query in advance?

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Childcatcher

List Available

I checked Amazon's site when I got home from work on Friday. It wasn't particularly hard to find the list of books available through this service, including listings by genre.

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printed ?

The service will cover printed books ?

Really ?

how ?

[insert joke about how something should have thought of this before, and call it something creative like library]

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Nothing new under the sun!

Makes me think of the old-fashioned subscription libraries, where you paid an annual fee and take out books: I think Boots the Chemist used to run one way back when. Now they've just updated it for the kids.

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Support your local library by using it

and not by tweeting complaints when they close it.

My library does real books, electronic magazine subscription and audiobooks... Physical video game, movie hire. All kinds of other stuff. The only problem is you have to park in the car park, and walk inside.

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Re: Support your local library by using it

if copyright were sane, local libraries should legally be allowed to lend an electronic book where they have a physical copy. I believe that may be true over here...

The problem is we are all living in a post-scarcity era - now the business model being clung to is artificial scarcity. I have sympathy for those who write the books, but gauging consumers is never the answer.

Surely with the netflix model working quite well (although their catalogue is hilariously incomplete) once price for access to everything.

P.

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Re: Support your local library by using it

@phil dude:

"The problem is we are all living in a post-scarcity era"

Last time I checked, the number of actual authors able to make a bloody living from writing was still relatively low. All that's happened is that the 'scarcity' has shifted to the content creators, rather than the content itself.

Authors aren't "gouging" anyone. Hell, Amazon actually offer a very good deal for authors who publish directly through them, or one of their in-house imprints.

Not only that, but they make it astonishingly easy to do. Compared to some of their rivals, publishing through Amazon directly is an absolute dream. They really do *grok* good design in the same way Apple do. And they don't limit the process solely to their customer-facing components either. Authors get the same attention to detail, and get published *within hours*, whereas a Big Publisher will sit on a manuscript for anywhere up to 18 *months* before publishing it.

I can do my own PR and marketing—Big Publishing only do a big splash if you're already a big name; I can hire a freelance editor myself; I don't need a massive advance that may, or may not, actually be paid...

... and I don't need to decipher some of the world's most creative accounting to work out why my "#1 New York Times Bestseller" has apparently not turned a penny in profit for me, while netting my publisher hundreds of thousands. Amazon, Apple and their peers pay *much* better than any of the traditional publishers. And they won't try and fleece you through onerous contracts that effectively assign your copyright to them for life.

It's Big Publishing who are screwing up on a massive scale. Simon & Shyster, Hatchet, and their ilk, can get stuffed. All of them. They dropped the ball many years ago and they're just flailing about in desperation now.

As for Amazon's dominance: it would *really* help if people stopped treating design like the unwanted ginger stepchild of software development. Anyone who's ever fought their way through Kobo's system will welcome Amazon's far easier system with open arms. Kobo's site is truly, truly awful. I'm sure they mean well, but it's easy to see why they've struggled to make any kind of impact.

It's a shame Steve Jobs' 'smoking gun' email caused Apple so much damage as they're Amazon's only real competition here. And for the same reason: they go out of their way to make extracting cash from customers as simple, easy and painless as possible. Their rivals seem to be hell-bent on making it as hard as possible for anyone to buy their products, or sell products through their marketplaces.

Amazon and Apple got where they are today by offering people what they wanted. Their rivals have had their clear, obvious lessons right in front of their faces for well over a decade now, so they have only themselves to blame for their own failure to learn from them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Support your local library by using it

As an Author with half a dozen ebooks on Amazon, I know how little money a lot of authors can get from Amazon.

I got less than £10.00 a year until I had my 6th book published. Sine then (Dec 2013) I have received a little over £30.00 in royalties. Well, I do price my work at £1.49/$1.99 a pop so I can't be too surprised.

There is no way I could afford to have a traditional publisher to produce dead tree versions of my books, let alone have them stocked by a Public Library. For one thing, the genre I write in is one that won't interest them in the slightest.

I'd love to see my books in print and the Amazon Print on Demand service seems to be the only way this will happen but even that has some costs to me.

I read books on my Kindle but I won't be subscribing to this service as I feel it won't pay the authors the same rate as that for a purchase,

Just my take on it.

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Re: Support your local library by using it @Sean

"Anyone who's ever fought their way through Kobo's system will welcome Amazon's far easier system with open arms. Kobo's site is truly, truly awful."

I'm not sure whether you mean consumer or author side there, but, as a happy owner of a Kobo Touch for a couple of years who has recently started buying from Kobo's site (I had a lot of books on my computer to catch up with), I don't find it particularly awful. It might not be quite as slick as Amazon - which is, to me, the pinnacle of ease - but it is far from the car-crash you make it out to be.

Kobo does have problems, such as the risk of them completely changing the functionality of the reader with each f/w update, but the website isn't that bad.

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Netflix for books

I keep hearing this compared to Netflix but there a few issues:

1) A book tends to last me a few weeks normally, whereas I can watch several films or tv shows in a month. Therefore a lot of people don't really need an all you can eat service. I probably would have loved it when I was a teenager and had a lot more time to read though!

2) It appears a lot of major publishers either aren't taking part or will severely restrict the titles available. This makes it sound like Netflix in the UK where a lot of popular films are absent, even those released a few years ago!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/amazon-launches-kindle-unlimited-all-you-can-read-service-1.2710936

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Stephen King's "Under the dome" and "11/22/63" are absent.

George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm" are also notable missings.

I'd like to say it is ironic that I purchased the CDs from Amazon, but I didn't. So much for being an online supermarket...

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I like the idea, as commuting means I get through a few books and could possibly make this pay...

What I don't like is that it'll just be another £9.99 a month (no chance they'll convert from monopoly dollars to GBP at a fair rate) that bleeds out every month. Also, what happens to the books you've downloaded when you cancel the subscription?

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> what happens to the books you've downloaded when you cancel the subscription?

A question completely missed out in their video presentation. Technically they could have their reader hardware and software purge/lock the titles if the device doesn't have an up to day "subscription has been paid" ticket. This might be very frustrating on vacation, with your book getting locked because you don't hook up to WiFi frequently when travelling.

Also, what happens with the highlighting and comments? I'd hope they are retained so if you turn off the subscription for a couple of months and come back, your "notes in the book" are still there.

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