As anyone who uses Amazon to buy or sell will know, they have a new programme for borrowing books called KU. I don’t usually take much notice of their borrowing facility as I don’t like deadlines on my reading when I do so many other things and their old borrowing facility never seemed to generate revenue for me. Speaking as a reader, library books can be renewed and some review books have deadlines for finishing, but generally I don’t like to be pressured to read a specific book because it’s going to disappear on me. On the other hand, it’s nice that Amazon keeps looking for ways to make the KDP Select option of use to authors.
In this case, it didn’t take long for some inexperienced authors to find a way to abuse it. It seems that a group of them have formed who are breaking down their books into several parts and borrowing each others’ books on the KU programme, because those borrows will pay more than the normal royalty.
So, how many ways can this go wrong?
For starters, Amazon will certainly notice the activity and do something to thwart it. Secondly, the authors will build bad reputations for themselves in return for what is going to be a fairly small return from exchange borrows. Thirdly, since books priced at under $2.99 can only get a 35% royalty, they reduce their sales profits on normal sales.
I can only surmise that these are people who don’t get many normal sales and are desperate to generate any activity on the projects at all. All things considered, it’s a non-starter.
I’ve done just the opposite. The only book I have in KDP is a trilogy, so a borrow would only be of benefit to a fast reader because the price of the book is marginally less than the price of a month in the programme. Personally, I’m not in the programme as a reader because I don’t normally spend $10 a month on books. I do buy some new books, but between review reads I’m mainly reading books I already own with a view towards having less to move next time I move house. There’s no moving plan on the horizon, but after the last time I decided that boxes and boxes full of books sitting around waiting to be read was just silly, so if I don’t need them for reference or film props, or special re-reads, they are getting read and then either sold or given away. Over time this should lighten the load substantially.
Interestingly, there have been a few borrows on the trilogy. It will interesting to see if it leads to any genuine reviews. It would be nice to think that the Fantasy fans that the series is targeted at might be better able to find the series as a result of some of Amazon’s tools.
By this my blog readers should twig that yes, the series is finished. The individual books are released at all outlets and the combined trilogy is available in paperback at Lulu, and soon at Amazon as well. The ebook version is exclusive to Amazon with intent to keep it that way unless I decide it no longer serves a purpose. There will be a Countdown Deal in November, and more to follow. I can’t do one in the first 90 day period because I made the book free for one day so that I could download a copy myself. I didn’t advertise it anywhere, but there were a surprising number of downloads that could only have been from people who noticed it if they were perusing free Fantasy books. Let’s hope some or even most of those were the target Fantasy fans! Fantasy fans tend to love the Goblin books while non-Fantasy readers typically give it 3 stars. Experiments with review groups have been consistent.
So, what’s next on my slate? I’m on a real push to make progress on film editing at present, but I’m going to try to get the Ganesha book to the publisher who wants it by the end of the year. Other projects are getting a little attention, but with August slipping past too quickly and my self-imposed film deadline looming too close, I’m diverting energy in that direction for a couple of months.
Not to worry though, these things balance out. My writing projects won’t let me rest until I finish all of them! The project of re-editing existing projects has been completed so I can move forward much more quickly and expect to have a lot of output once I get past this film edit.