Amazon is the big giant in the book world, and ever since the digital craziness began they have truly become the company that everyone loves to hate … Well, everyone except readers, for the most part.
When they announced a month ago that they would be letting people with Amazon Prime memberships borrow certain books on their Kindle for free, there was at first shock and then an outcry from (some) publishers and authors. One of the main sticking points concerning the new Kindle Owners’ Lending Library was that Amazon had not received express permission to do this from many of those it initially included.
For some it didn’t matter, because on the author and publisher’s end Amazon was registering it as a sale every time someone borrowed; nevertheless, there was the concern that readers will start to become accustomed to the idea that they can access content for free and should not have to pay for it, especially since this new feature was bundled into Amazon Prime with no extra cost or subscription increase.
On December 8, Amazon announced their new KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select program, and I’m interested to see what the reaction will be and how many authors and publishers will go for it. What is it? Basically put: if an author or publisher makes an eBook a Kindle exclusive for a minimum of 90 days, then they are eligible to be part of the Kindle Lending Library.
Yes, they’ll be eligible to have their book read for free by readers. So how will they be reimbursed? There is a KDP fund—estimates are minimum $6 million for 2012—and the author/publisher will be paid a percentage from it each month; the percentage will mirror whatever their percentage was of that month’s checkouts (ex: an author’s book made up for 0.5% of that month’s checkouts, they will receive 0.5% of that month’s KDP fund).
I’m curious to hear what other readers’ take is on the situation. Do many of you have Kindles? Are you also Amazon Prime members and have used the Kindle Lending Library? If so, has it changed how you think of eBooks and your access to them? How do you think this might impact authors?