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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

$2.99
Kindle Edition published 2013-08-14
Bestseller ranking: 713665

Product Description
Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?  (Read 11394 times)  

Offline Anna Drake

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2018, 06:40:47 AM »
I've seen enough from Amazon to be blowing in a paper bag waiting for the shoe to drop.

Me, too.


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Offline Evenstar

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2018, 06:45:33 AM »
My guess is that its for books over 9.99. It would make sense because it would encourage some people to increased their book prices which makes more money for everyone, especially Amazon.

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2018, 06:49:38 AM »
Just to add to the speculation, maybe 50% for those in KU who do not want to be exclusive. Thats a total wish-fulfillment guess, by the way.
I've been wishing for that for ages!


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Offline EllieDee

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2018, 06:57:10 AM »
I can't help but doubt that the 50% rate is for books priced above 9.99. 
A.  Why would Amazon give authors MORE money when for years every change they've made has resulted in paying authors LESS?  Case in point, KU payouts (which do vary month by month but the overall trend is down, down, down the toilet).
B.  Amazon incentivized the 2.99 to 9.99 rates through a 70% royalty in a very calculated move that I'm sure had a lot of thought and market data behind it.  If Amazon has decided to shift the 'sweet spot' in their pricing, maybe to reflect shifting ebook markets, then they'll simply shift that 70% royalty zone.  Maybe between 3.99 and 12.99 or something.

My bet is that the 50% is for certain markets that Amazon is trying to lure more authors into.  Possibly India?

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2018, 07:29:18 AM »
But they've expended such a huge amount of energy on their exclusivity policy that I can't see them abandoning it wholesale like that. Not that I don't live in hope.  :)
Offering a lower royalty to people who want to be in KU and wide isn't exactly abandoning exclusivity. There's still a considerable financial advantage to being exclusive, except for people who do really well on the other outlets.

I know I'm in a minority on this issue, but I've never really bought the argument that exclusivity helps strangle the other outlets. It means the other outlets rely more on trad pubbed books, but so what? Even when Amazon was at 60% (when I first started publishing) rather than 80%+, a much large percentage of its sales were indies than on the other outlets. For Amazon to dominate, it needs to get the vast bulk of total sales (including TP). Being dominant among indies in and of itself means little.

Exclusivity certainly isn't a boon to KU because it constricts the available books. Subscribers want as many options as possible to read, and not just garbage thrown up for the latest scam of the system. While it's true that Amazon has kept up the raw number of titles, a lot of successful authors have left KU, taking their books with them. In that respect, surely even Amazon realizes that books aren't just interchangeable. The newbies stumbling into KU without really knowing what the indie landscape is like aren't going to attract as many people to KU as just a few people with real fan bases would.

For whatever reason, Amazon wants to keep KU. As a loss leader, it may be very effective in doing what Amazon really wants: making Kindles look like an even better buy. Keeping KU involves keeping the good content flowing. I'm not sure how many authors would find a 50% for non-exclusive KU books appealing, though it's clear that at least a few would. The argument could be made that keeping 100% of wide sales, plus extra KU income, plus extra visibility leading to more sales on Amazon, might make up for the lost 20% of Amazon royalty rate--and it would definitely avoid the hassles involved in things like Amazon sending nastygrams over books that appear on pirate sites or pop up on some obscure Kobo downstream distributor who reactivated a long removed book for no reason.

I'm also going to assume that Jeff Bezos is smart enough to know that if Amazon ends up with 100% of the ebook market in the US, it becomes a prime antitrust target. At this point, Amazon actually has a paradoxical interest in keeping the other outlets alive. Anyway, Apple and Google wouldn't be that easy to drive out if they were making any money at all on selling ebooks, and Rakuten didn't buy Kobo for no reason. People forget that at one point Apple was in dire financial straights and was bailed out by...wait for it....Microsoft. Bill Gates actually wanted to keep a competing alternative to Windows PCs alive as a possible response to antitrust action.

Feel free to come back and laugh at me if I'm proved wrong. This is, of course, purely speculation, though I do think it makes sense.


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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2018, 07:54:51 AM »
Im not sure why Amazon would pay 50% for non exclusive KU books. Lets think about how that would play out.

* It changes the terms of everyone currently in KU.
* Authors in KU would probably like it.
* Most dont sell as much as is borrowed, so the wide sales could earn more.
* Anyone wide might be willing to add their books to KU and take 50%.
* But if Amazon equal 80% of their sales then its a 20% pay cut.
* It would assume their KU page reads will make up the gap, but would they?
* All the other platforms would be flooded with new books.
* They might not be ready or even want that, but theyd cope.
* Other platforms might consider lowering their royalties as well.
* The TPs might not like it. They might think theyre next.
* The KU reader would be happy to get access to more books.
* Amazon will get an extra 20% royalties on books over 2.99, but they lose exclusivity.
* The pot is supposed to match subscription money plus total page reads.
* More books and the same number of readers will spread the pot even thinner.
* It might disrupt the stranglehold the content mills have got on the top 100s.
* They wont be able to make enough margin for the marketing costs.

It works for authors in KU. It probably doesnt do much for the sale only authors. Itll be a minor adjustment for the other platforms. It might result in an industry wide drop to 50% for indies and small TPs. The high volume content mill churners might find their ROI starts to sour.

I suppose it comes down to how much Amazon value exclusivity. Is that really helping them control the market, or are they losing the variety in books and therefore KU subscribers as the content mills take over the top 100s?

Offline Nikolas TorVald

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #56 on: January 10, 2018, 07:59:18 AM »
Or maybe a software developer decided to f*ck around with people and is laughing at the s***storm as it happens. :D

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #57 on: January 10, 2018, 08:00:40 AM »
Or maybe a software developer decided to f*ck around with people and is laughing at the s***storm as it happens. :D

Lol. Ive already thought thats the most likely reason. Someone loaded the wrong module and the option has been there from the start.  :P

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #58 on: January 10, 2018, 08:13:45 AM »
My guess?

35% for books priced below 2.99.

50% for books 2.99 - 9.99 that aren't in Select.

70% for books 2.99 - 9.99 in Select.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 08:15:37 AM by SevenDays »

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #59 on: January 10, 2018, 08:22:33 AM »
My guess?

35% for books priced below 2.99.

50% for books 2.99 - 9.99 that aren't in Select.

70% for books 2.99 - 9.99 in Select.

If they offer 50% for books not in select then those authors will heavily promote the other platforms over Amazon. Why wouldnt they? The other platforms pay them 70%. It would result in a mass marketing campaign by every author who is wide to encourage their fans to buy from the other platforms. I know I would. It would be a risky move on Amazons part. Im not saying they wouldnt do it, but itll be a rocky ride as we all collectively hammer millions of marketing dollars to divert sales away from Amazon.

Come to think of it, that might be fun.  :P

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #60 on: January 10, 2018, 08:25:05 AM »
My guess?

35% for books priced below 2.99.

50% for books 2.99 - 9.99 that aren't in Select.

70% for books 2.99 - 9.99 in Select.
Since this is all conjecture at this point, I will say that I don't believe Amazon would risk that because they don't want the negative publicity associated with it. That's simply not something they want to deal with and I don't think exclusivity is important enough to them any longer to risk doing something like this. Amazon wants to be the premiere ebook seller but they don't really want to be the only one because that will cause issues. I simply cannot see them going this route because of the fallout.

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2018, 08:30:33 AM »
If they offer 50% for books not in select then those authors will heavily promote the other platforms over Amazon. Why wouldnt they? The other platforms pay them 70%. It would result in a mass marketing campaign by every author who is wide to encourage their fans to buy from the other platforms. I know I would. It would be a risky move on Amazons part. Im not saying they wouldnt do it, but itll be a rocky ride as we all collectively hammer millions of marketing dollars to divert sales away from Amazon.

Come to think of it, that might be fun.  :P

I'm not so sure. Amazon has the most market share. I think the giant sucking sound would go the other way and many formerly non-KU authors would leave the other platforms and sign up for Select to get that 70% from the platform with the highest concentration of readers. But hey, I could be wrong.

Maybe if Amazon were really ruthless they could offer 50% for non-KU authors and up the KU royalty to 75-80%.  :-X

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #62 on: January 10, 2018, 08:31:37 AM »
Since this is all conjecture at this point, I will say that I don't believe Amazon would risk that because they don't want the negative publicity associated with it. That's simply not something they want to deal with and I don't think exclusivity is important enough to them any longer to risk doing something like this. Amazon wants to be the premiere ebook seller but they don't really want to be the only one because that will cause issues. I simply cannot see them going this route because of the fallout.

I tend to agree. "Amazon slashes payments to authors" does not sound good whichever way you slice it.

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2018, 08:40:13 AM »
I'm not so sure. Amazon has the most market share. I think the giant sucking sound would go the other way and many formerly non-KU authors would leave the other platforms and sign up for Select to get that 70% from the platform with the highest concentration of readers. But hey, I could be wrong.

Maybe if Amazon were really ruthless they could offer 50% for non-KU authors and up the KU royalty to 75-80%.  :-X

You may well be right, but some of us have worked hard to gain traction on the other platforms, or are midlfight through doing so. Others left KU because they didnt like the uncertainty. Some left because they couldnt compete with the content mills hogging the top 100s. It also assumes adding a shedload of books to KU would increase subscribers and therefore the pot and page reads. If it didnt then that pot just gets spread even thinner.

I dont have an answer and Im not sure spotting a 50% option means much, especially since its gone again now. There are just too many reasons why it might have been there that arent Machiavellian. I think were just amusing ourselves with a dose of what if. Bit of a writers curse really.  ;)

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2018, 08:49:51 AM »
Honestly, I'm betting that the biggest complaint from their customers is that KU doesn't have "good" books, and the biggest complaint from their wide authors is not being able to take advantage of KU while still wide. Offering something that meets both needs would make a lot of sense. So: if you want to be all-in on KU, you could get 70%. If you want to be wide and not in KU, you could get 70%. If you wanted both, 50%.

Offline TromboneAl

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #65 on: January 10, 2018, 08:54:04 AM »
Old Chinese curse: "May you self-publish in interesting times."

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #66 on: January 10, 2018, 09:05:50 AM »
If Amazon do not fix Page Flip, and something like this forces me back into KU, I will be redoing all my books to have a graphic over the chapter title, which asks the reader to not use the pop up screen to read by, because in KU, the author isn't paid. That will be 60 to 80 very low quality graphics in each book, all with the same message.

When I tried this, I got books yanked. They claimed it made for a poor customer experience. So, good luck with that.


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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2018, 09:06:34 AM »
I see it, too. Where it gives the breakdown of royalty rates, delivery charges, and royalties, on books $2.99 and over (I don't have anything over $9.99, so can't speak for that). On mine, it says 50% n/a.

I find myself unable to be optimistic.

I'm not in Select/KU; maybe it's going to be an option for those who are. You can choose 50% instead of 35%. Or, the doomsayer in me wonders if they're going to make it so you have to be in Select to get 70% anywhere and those of us who refuse to get with the program are going to get dropped to 50%.
Perhaps they're going to give us 50% for books over 9.99 instead of the 35% they let us have now. Or is that wishful thinking?


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Offline IoneKeeling

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #68 on: January 10, 2018, 09:09:57 AM »
If they do this (50 not in KU or 50 in KU but not exclusive), then consider putting up a paperback on Amazon (can you do that without an ebook?) for say 90 days while having it live everywhere else as an ebook [ETA look inside have your website address "for a list of where you can find this book in all its formats visit URL]. You gain some visibility on Amazon for that title and maybe help prevent some scammer from uploading your ebook as yours. After 90 days, you've probably earned a good 50% of what you will earn on that book at other platforms for its life (unless it's an early title in a series). Then you put the ebook on Amazon.

BUT, whatever is going to happen, keep working [ETA KEEP WORKING NOW! before the next bombshell change] to build your visibility off the stores. Build your list, build your FB presence, twitter, patreon, whatever. We can't control other people's actions and behavior, only our own. Bezos already (on a balance sheet at least) richest man in the world, doesn't mean he won't keep squeezing us. A lot of the KU scammers could retire on what they've bilked the program out of--they won't.

Off I go to try to make a little more hay while there's still a sliver of sunshine in the sky.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 09:12:20 AM by IoneKeeling »

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #69 on: January 10, 2018, 09:13:53 AM »
Im not sure why Amazon would pay 50% for non exclusive KU books. Lets think about how that would play out.

* It changes the terms of everyone currently in KU.
* Authors in KU would probably like it.
* Most dont sell as much as is borrowed, so the wide sales could earn more.
* Anyone wide might be willing to add their books to KU and take 50%.
* But if Amazon equal 80% of their sales then its a 20% pay cut.
* It would assume their KU page reads will make up the gap, but would they?
* All the other platforms would be flooded with new books.
* They might not be ready or even want that, but theyd cope.
* Other platforms might consider lowering their royalties as well.
* The TPs might not like it. They might think theyre next.
* The KU reader would be happy to get access to more books.
* Amazon will get an extra 20% royalties on books over 2.99, but they lose exclusivity.
* The pot is supposed to match subscription money plus total page reads.
* More books and the same number of readers will spread the pot even thinner.
* It might disrupt the stranglehold the content mills have got on the top 100s.
* They wont be able to make enough margin for the marketing costs.

It works for authors in KU. It probably doesnt do much for the sale only authors. Itll be a minor adjustment for the other platforms. It might result in an industry wide drop to 50% for indies and small TPs. The high volume content mill churners might find their ROI starts to sour.

I suppose it comes down to how much Amazon value exclusivity. Is that really helping them control the market, or are they losing the variety in books and therefore KU subscribers as the content mills take over the top 100s?
That was very thorough!

Are we really sure about how the KU pot is calculated? I've seen people use the same math that you're using, which seems to presuppose that Amazon makes nothing on KU itself. Is that an assumption, or is there evidence? Assuming you're correct, I would also assume that the greater variety (and quality) of books might increase the number of subscribers. That would be particularly true if the content mills would have a harder time retaining their current position. The current situation isn't good for us, for Amazon, or for KU subscribers.

It's true that it's hard to predict what people will do. If I were wide and really didn't like KU at all (as many people don't), then I'd stay out of it, especially if I were doing well with Amazon sales. If I were in KU and also selling enough to make me happy, I might not risk the royalty cut to try wide unless the vast bulk of my income was KU. It's possible that Amazon might try something like this, and it would make very little difference.


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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #70 on: January 10, 2018, 09:19:57 AM »
Just to add to the speculation, maybe 50% for those in KU who do not want to be exclusive. Thats a total wish-fulfillment guess, by the way.

If that's the case, then I release on iTunes, B&N, and Kobo first, then follow up with 'Zon when sales on those channels have begun to plateau.

If Amazon decides to force non-exclusive authors to a smaller 50% share, then we go where the better return is. This could be a market share coup for Apple's iBookstore---if they play their hand right.
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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #71 on: January 10, 2018, 09:24:13 AM »
If that's the case, then I release on iTunes, B&N, and Kobo first, then follow up with 'Zon when sales on those channels have begun to plateau.

If Amazon decides to force non-exclusive authors to a smaller 50% share, then we go where the better return is. This could be a market share coup for Apple's iBookstore---if they play their hand right.
I honestly think the opposite would be true. People would be more likely to release at 70 percent in KU to start and then move to the 50 percent when sales have died down and they can juice money on other retailers and get BookBubs.

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #72 on: January 10, 2018, 09:33:32 AM »
It should be pointed out that even if we are cut to 50% for being non-exclusive, we'll still make more money per copy sold than if we had a traditional publishing contract.
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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #73 on: January 10, 2018, 09:37:16 AM »
My guess is that its for books over 9.99. It would make sense because it would encourage some people to increased their book prices which makes more money for everyone, especially Amazon.

It would also make sense for big boxed sets.

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Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« Reply #74 on: January 10, 2018, 09:43:33 AM »
I honestly think the opposite would be true. People would be more likely to release at 70 percent in KU to start and then move to the 50 percent when sales have died down and they can juice money on other retailers and get BookBubs.

But that forces us to accept exclusivity with Amazon at the outset, and that is something I have strongly resisted from the beginning.

The only way to punish a business that has hurt you financially is to take your business elsewhere. So, releasing on the other platforms first before Amazon does exactly the opposite of what they wanted with KU. The problem is, non-exclusive independent authors would have to do this in significant enough numbers that Amazon cannot ignore them.

By checking Amazon's payouts and page-read counts each month, I found that if I went with KU I would only be making 50% of what I am making now in sales. By forcing non-exclusive independents to accept a lower payout, Amazon reduces their costs by forcing them to accept the same pay they would get if they were in KU.

Instead of punishing non-exclusive independents for not taking part in KU, they should be incentivizing KU to lure us in.
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