Readers and writers alike seem to be very pleased with Amazon’s two most recent initiatives, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and the Kindle Digital Publishing platform's Selects program. The online retailer launched their lending library back in November, which met with some industry resistance as authors and publishers were concerned about the program’s scope. However, since the integration of their new Kindle Digital Publishing platform's lending capabilities, which took place in early December, the program's positives appear to outweigh the negatives.
The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) is open to any Amazon Prime member that also has a Kindle; it gives that customer the ability to rent one participating e-book per month, with no “due date”. Shortly after rolling out the new easy-to-use Kindle Digital Publishing platform, the Internet giant Amazon announced that if KDP’s indie authors or publishers opt to sell their digital books as Kindle-exclusive for approximately three months, they would be rewarded. These authors and publishers would be able to get a cut of Amazon’s dedicated $6 million dollars set aside for the KDP Select program.
During the month of December, authors and indie publishers that participated in KDP Select were eligible to earn a share of $500,000 dollars that had been set aside for them. The money is portioned out according to how many times people borrowed a particular book in comparison to the total number of books borrowed that month. KDP Select authors were also given the option to offer their titles for free for up to five days per three-month period, which often results in that book climbing Amazon’s e-book bestselling list and gaining reader recognition.
On the day of KDP Select’s launch, there were only 129 e-books enrolled in the program from such authors as J.A. Konrath and C.J. Lyons. However, during the month of December, both KOLL and KDP Select saw a lot of action. According to an Amazon press release, the KOLL’s library grew to massive proportions with the addition of the KPD Select titles. It’s now 75,000 books strong with readers “borrowing” 295,000 KDP Select e-books during December.
The result? Although naysayers bemoaned the KDP Select exclusivity cause that restricts authors from selling their offered e-book at another retailer, so far this has not seemed to affect authors' profits. Most authors in the program made at least $1.70 for every one of their books borrowed, and the top ten KDP Select authors earned more than $70,000 combined.
But the good news doesn’t end there; Amazon is reporting that it’s become apparent that e-books which are part of KDP Select have also seen a jump in paid sales. The company quoted the figure of 26% in incremental sales growth. Thus the total amount that the top ten KDP authors saw their royalties increase between the end of November and the end of December by a staggering 449%.
This month Amazon is sweetening the pot even more for KDP Select authors, raising available funds for authors to $700,000. So authors can hopefully expect to keep making more money and KOLL readers can expect to see more books in their digital lending library!
Have you tried the Kindle Owners Lending Library? You can learn more about the program here. If you've taken part in KOLL by borrowing a KDP Select e-book, share your experiences in the comments below. And for more Publishing Industry News click here.
BLOG POST UPDATE 1/17/2012: Shortly after posting this article we received information revealing that not all KDP Select authors are experiencing a financial windfall with KOLL. And so it seems as with most self-publishing endeavors, while there are standouts and there is money to be made, not everyone is hitting it big. Another potential detraction of the program is that readers can only access these titles via Kindle, and as we're all aware, there are a number of other e-readers on the market.