Sometimes we’re asked why our books are not in Kindle Unlimited. Usually we mention two reasons. One, KU is an exclusive kind of game. Once you’re in KU, you can’t sell your titles anywhere else, unless you are a BNA (Big Name Author) like Hugh Howey, for example. We want our books to be widely available.
Two, you’re paid a tiny amount. A 400 page book on Amazon priced at $5.99 would net $4.19 cents to its creator. The same book in KU would earn $1.60. At first glance, this might look like an excellent opportunity to promote your work. People can try it for free. But KU isn’t a good promotional vehicle either. It’s a subscription service that lets its users borrow and read all the books they want for $9.99. A lot of people who use it are on a limited income. They are retirees, college students, and people on tight budgets. They don’t typically buy books. In fact, half of KU customers have never bought a book from Amazon, which is one of the reasons Amazon created Prime Reading.
But there is a third reason, which we usually don’t talk about, because it’s an author problem rather than reader problem. I wasn’t going to mention it, but I saw Grace Draven’s post and I agree with her reasoning that readers have the right to know.
KU system is riddled with scam artists.
There is a lovely article on this by David Gaughran, who lays this our much better than I could, available here.
Amazon claims to be taking the problem seriously, but it isn’t even acting on reports of these assholes breaking in to the very top of the US Kindle Store, so that claim is hard to swallow.
Scammers Break the Kindle Store
I hope you read it. To this I would add only that if you want to avoid such scammy tactics, look at the sales rank of the book. If the book has been out for a bit and shot up 2 million points in rank in KU and it has abysmal reviews, it’s probably the product of some dirty finagling. This post isn’t meant to discourage you from using KU in any way. We subscribe to KU. We just want you to know when you’re being swindled as a reader because someone is gaming the system.