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Author Topic: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?  (Read 8456 times)  

Offline DonovanJeremiah

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #75 on: January 31, 2018, 04:56:00 AM »
I guess because we hope there's some infinitesimal chance a newbie will read through the dross and find useful, actionable advice.

We do. Please don't stop.

Offline Athena Grayson

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #76 on: January 31, 2018, 03:40:16 PM »
Has anyone considered the "3 months for 1.99" is a(n admittedly low) barrier to entry to try to control the clickfarm/bot accounts that use the "one free month" with a disposable email address in order to sell services falsely inflating page reads?

Has anyone considered that KU is not only a lending library you pay for, but also an infomercial channel you pay to use? Any time I go to an Amazon book description page, I see about 40% of its real estate devoted to Things That Are Not That Book--other books, sponsored books, product display books, three or four little ribbons with other departments, products, and streaming/digital content. All things to attract me from the page (one-click? Maybe not? Doesn't matter--I'm paying them for my eyeballs on the stuff they want me to want, AND I'm paying them to take my habitual information--how long I stay on the page, where I stop scrolling, the heat map of where I'm clicking versus where I'm not, etc).

But I'm also paying them so I can access nonfiction and indie publishing guides, many of which would cost me more than I currently make in book sales, so there's that. I'm getting a little, they're getting a little (more than I'd like to, but it is what it is).

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Offline Max 007

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #77 on: January 31, 2018, 03:50:27 PM »
This is where the biggest error is made. You assume Amazon WANTS to raise the price on KU. It's not that they can't. It's that it doesn't fit their plan for the time being. It's not about KU. It's about Prime. That's where the rate increase will come, not to KU. KU is such a small part of their budget it's practically non-existent. Prime is the focus. That's where you need to look for answers.

Hey Amanda.  I am Prime. I wished Prime was auto-KU too. But Prime has Prime books (saw one of yours there).  So if Prime is auto KU too ... I would stay with Prime for sure.  Prime does pay for itself alone on shipping and I do pick up some non-fiction Prime books.  Prime books are slow to show up with new ones.

KU as a part of Prime would be neat. Maybe they will go to that and still KU could be open to just people that want KU only.

Or it could be KU sign up price is really low if you are Prime. I have not checked.

Online Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #78 on: January 31, 2018, 03:55:57 PM »
Hey Amanda.  I am Prime. I wished Prime was auto-KU too. But Prime has Prime books (saw one of yours there).  So if Prime is auto KU too ... I would stay with Prime for sure.  Prime does pay for itself alone on shipping and I do pick up some non-fiction Prime books.  Prime books are slow to show up with new ones.

KU as a part of Prime would be neat. Maybe they will go to that and still KU could be open to just people that want KU only.

Or it could be KU sign up price is really low if you are Prime. I have not checked.
Im not talking about Prime Reading. Im talking about the program Amazon Prime.

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Offline A.R. Williams

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #79 on: January 31, 2018, 04:17:32 PM »
KU isn't a loss leader.

Amazon controls the cost through the pool. It doesn't matter if a hundred million people signed up, they can manipulate the pool however they choose. Change the numbers however they choose. Add or not add to the fund however they choose.

There is no loss (for them) in the equation. They can throw whatever they want at a wall and see what sticks. If those people stay as subscribers they win. If they don't, they lose nothing.

Offline Seneca42

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #80 on: January 31, 2018, 04:44:44 PM »
KU isn't a loss leader.

Amazon controls the cost through the pool. It doesn't matter if a hundred million people signed up, they can manipulate the pool however they choose. Change the numbers however they choose. Add or not add to the fund however they choose.

There is no loss (for them) in the equation. They can throw whatever they want at a wall and see what sticks. If those people stay as subscribers they win. If they don't, they lose nothing.

This is what people don't seem to understand for some reason (but as you state it quite obviously). KU is a rounding error on amazon's ledger. In fact, people buying direct from amazon actually puts more money in their pocket. But right now, that's not their focus (ie. making as much money as possible), rather it's putting the squeeze on the rest of the publishing industry by devaluing (ie. commodifying) books. They're trying to bankrupt their competition as it were by making their product worth almost nothing.

But at the core of this strategy is they need enough quality content to keep the subscribers around. And hence we come full circle as indies run to cut their own throats by enabling zon's commodification strategy, all the while thinking they are making out because there's money on the table today (telling themselves they'll just go "wide" if zon screws them too hard... not realizing there won't be a wide to go to).

What zon failed to account for though, was the scammers, botters, and grey and black hat tactics indies would use. But no matter how broken KU gets, so long as it's driving down the price of books, it's serving its function of putting the squeeze on the TP's and zon's competitors.


Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 05:47:15 PM by Becca Mills »

Offline Atlantisatheart

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #81 on: January 31, 2018, 05:22:20 PM »


What zon failed to account for though, was the scammers, botters, and grey and black hat tactics indies would use. But no matter how broken KU gets, so long as it's driving down the price of books, it's serving its function of putting the squeeze on the TP's and zon's competitors.

Authors are also guilty of driving down book prices. Take PNR, when I started six years ago everyone priced at 0.99 to be seen, but because more and more authors came into the genre they kept the 0.99 price tag. 0.99 was fine back in the day because those books were novellas, now you have 50-60k novels for the low-low price of 0.99.

When amazon stole the 50% pages and introduced the page-flip scam I raised most of my prices to 2.99, guess what, they still sell. Amazon doesn't like permafree because it makes KU and free days less effective, but authors don't listen and still have permafree.

There are a lot of problems with amazon across the board, and I'm not a fan of their tactics. I'd like all of my pages counted and paid for, but I'd also like them to toss those permafree books out on their backside. They don't need to price match if they just get rid of those books.


Offline PamelaKelley

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #82 on: January 31, 2018, 05:41:56 PM »
This is what people don't seem to understand for some reason (but as you state it quite obviously). KU is a rounding error on amazon's ledger. In fact, people buying direct from amazon actually puts more money in their pocket. But right now, that's not their focus (ie. making as much money as possible), rather it's putting the squeeze on the rest of the publishing industry by devaluing (ie. commodifying) books. They're trying to bankrupt their competition as it were by making their product worth almost nothing.

But at the core of this strategy is they need enough quality content to keep the subscribers around. And hence we come full circle as indies run to cut their own throats by enabling zon's commodification strategy, all the while thinking they are making out because there's money on the table today (telling themselves they'll just go "wide" if zon screws them too hard... not realizing there won't be a wide to go to).

What zon failed to account for though, was the scammers, botters, and grey and black hat tactics indies would use. But no matter how broken KU gets, so long as it's driving down the price of books, it's serving its function of putting the squeeze on the TP's and zon's competitors.




KU is a giant funnel to get people to spend more time at Amazon and buy more stuff. It's pretty simple and it's working. It was a while ago that I read an interview that fascinated me because it said that they studied the buying patterns of KU subscribers, looking at 60 days before joining, and then 60 days after joining.....and purchase of other books alone were up by 25%.  It makes sense. If you're on the site more.....you're likely to buy more.



Edited quotation only. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 05:51:23 PM by Becca Mills »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #83 on: January 31, 2018, 05:54:30 PM »
I've edited and deleted a number of posts that ignored my earlier directive. Any additional pursuit of the "Are KU books good/bad?" issue will result in closure of the thread.

Seneca42, you're banned from further participation in this one.

Offline P.J. Post

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #84 on: January 31, 2018, 07:48:46 PM »
 :(

We need to figure out a way to discuss the realities of our industry without everyone taking personal offense to every comment made while discussing the "aggregate", because that's the only way to discuss what's going on. The aggregate isn't any one of us, it's all of us and none of us. Anecdotes are fun and super inspiring, but sometimes they're useless to a broader analysis. If I were to ask you to analyze the phenomenon that was Wool and give me a step by step process on how to recreate that success, you'd fail, woefully so. It's impossible, because, like many of these anecdotes, the enviroment for success is rarely explored in its entirety, partly because this is a forum and not a memoir, but mostly because the author has no clue what really happened or why. Causality is tricky to define.

For example, it's easy to understand success for anyone that's been getting Bookbubs routinely for the last few years. But, obviously, you have to be doing something right to get the Bookbubs in the first place - and this is what I'm talking about. We shouldn't have to attach caveat disclaimers to every observation lest we inadvertently offend someone. I think it's common knowledge, and if it's not, it should be, that if someone is getting Bookbubs all the time, they're probably doing a whole bunch of things really well - they're almost certainly earning it. But then again, one feeds the other, so it's hard to know which thing initially got the ball rolling. <insert caveat>

Anyway, I don't believe for a second that Seneca was saying that ALL Indies suck, or even really disparaging them, just that, when we discuss this aspect of KU, again, in the aggregate, KU books are of significantly lower quality (across the board - on average - generally speaking) than TP because they simply lack the editorial talent. If you think for a second that you wouldn't be publishing better books with the assistance of someone like Max Perkins, then...I just can't...whatever. (If you don't know who that is, google is your friend.) The disaprity in quality is a demonstrable fact, however, it does not mean that ALL Indies suck. Reductio ad absurdum is equally unhelpful to the discussion.

And I firmly believe that the future of KU is significantly dependent upon the quality of KU books, which is itself significantly dependent upon the stability of royalty expectations. It's hard to run a business when you have no idea what your selling price is until after the market has closed.

Also...this does not mean 'we', the collective 'we', which also includes the singular 'me', don't want to hear about the success stories and everything little everything, (from celebrity and Prawny McPrawnypants alike), that these writers tried along the way, both tactically and spiritually. We do. A lot. So many of us are doing this because someone else showed us that - it was possible. So, thank you!

But maybe, if we all tried to understand where the other person was coming from, and, I don't know, show a little, if not respect, then common courtesy - both ways - and like maybe ask before letting the snark fly, not only would we have more beneficial discussions, but we might also get some of our friends back.

/rant

Sorry Becca, didn't mean to close the thread, if I did, I was just...ugh.   :(

Offline ireaderreview

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #85 on: January 31, 2018, 08:31:08 PM »
Ok, this is very interesting:

Quote
This is what people don't seem to understand for some reason (but as you state it quite obviously). KU is a rounding error on amazon's ledger. In fact, people buying direct from amazon actually puts more money in their pocket. But right now, that's not their focus (ie. making as much money as possible), rather it's putting the squeeze on the rest of the publishing industry by devaluing (ie. commodifying) books. They're trying to bankrupt their competition as it were by making their product worth almost nothing.

But at the core of this strategy is they need enough quality content to keep the subscribers around. And hence we come full circle as indies run to cut their own throats by enabling zon's commodification strategy, all the while thinking they are making out because there's money on the table today (telling themselves they'll just go "wide" if zon screws them too hard... not realizing there won't be a wide to go to).

What zon failed to account for though, was the scammers, botters, and grey and black hat tactics indies would use. But no matter how broken KU gets, so long as it's driving down the price of books, it's serving its function of putting the squeeze on the TP's and zon's competitors.


I had not thought of this at all. However, this makes perfect sense

Consider the following


FIRST: Books as a product

SECOND: Pages Read as the count of usage of that product

THIRD: Authors supplying books as the product supply line

FOURTH: A Move to turn this supply into an unmatchable advantage

What would that move be?

It can't be higher prices. Because then anyone can come in and compete

On the other hand - a combination of lowering prices and making the suppliers more dependent on existing market leader -> that's a very strong commoditization strategy


In general?

What does a market leader that has achieved efficiencies of scale do? to drive out/kill competition

Answer: Drive down prices, to the point that they are unsustainable for any new entrant

***********************

Seneca might be spot on.

If books are being viewed as a 'supply' and authors as 'suppliers'
then a commoditization strategy and driving prices down non-stop achieves dual roles

a) Makes suppliers more dependent on the subscription model
b) Makes it very hard for new entrants to compete

*****************************

I think it's very important to break it into two parts

A) Authors who are benefiting from KU

B) Authors who are going to keep benefiting from KU for a long long time

If you're in B then - great.
If you're in A, it's important to figure out if you're in B or not. If not, then have some backup plan

************

Amazon is profitable when including Amazon Web Services - around $247 million a quarter
Without AWS it's not profitable

KU prices being lowered massively - it could mean anything

* It could mean it's driving lots of sales of other products
* It could mean there's a certain minimum number of subscribers required and Amazon is scrambling to achieve that
* It could mean KU is dying
* It could mean KU is doing super well and Amazon wants to grow even more

***********************

However, the one thing that makes no sense is

- Why are all of WalMart/Kobo, Apple, Nook all suddenly re-entering books. Literally all in the same week

It seems someone somewhere leaked some information in Nov or Dec and everyone is jumping in

Is that information

- people buying books are also buying lots of other things?
- there is a weakness in Amazon's position?
- something else?

Oct 2017 is also when rank yanking started (and other stuff that authors don't know about but is tangentially related)

So something has happened in Oct and Nov and Dec 2017 which

- Has made Amazon move much more rashly in their moves (when it comes to ebooks)
- Has woken up WalMart, Apple, Nook to ebooks again

**********************
Wish we had access to the data these 4 companies have

my money would be on either

a) ebooks are working super well as loss leaders and leading to a lot of retention and stickiness of customers
OR
b) there was a structural flaw found in Amazon's ebook strategy and Amazon is planning a major change (not sure what) and everyone else sees it as an opportunity to attack

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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #86 on: January 31, 2018, 08:43:31 PM »
:(

We need to figure out a way to discuss the realities of our industry without everyone taking personal offense to every comment made while discussing the "aggregate", because that's the only way to discuss what's going on. The aggregate isn't any one of us, it's all of us and none of us. Anecdotes are fun and super inspiring, but sometimes they're useless to a broader analysis. If I were to ask you to analyze the phenomenon that was Wool and give me a step by step process on how to recreate that success, you'd fail, woefully so. It's impossible, because, like many of these anecdotes, the enviroment for success is rarely explored in its entirety, partly because this is a forum and not a memoir, but mostly because the author has no clue what really happened or why. Causality is tricky to define.

For example, it's easy to understand success for anyone that's been getting Bookbubs routinely for the last few years. But, obviously, you have to be doing something right to get the Bookbubs in the first place - and this is what I'm talking about. We shouldn't have to attach caveat disclaimers to every observation lest we inadvertently offend someone. I think it's common knowledge, and if it's not, it should be, that if someone is getting Bookbubs all the time, they're probably doing a whole bunch of things really well - they're almost certainly earning it. But then again, one feeds the other, so it's hard to know which thing initially got the ball rolling. <insert caveat>

Anyway, I don't believe for a second that Seneca was saying that ALL Indies suck, or even really disparaging them, just that, when we discuss this aspect of KU, again, in the aggregate, KU books are of significantly lower quality (across the board - on average - generally speaking) than TP because they simply lack the editorial talent. If you think for a second that you wouldn't be publishing better books with the assistance of someone like Max Perkins, then...I just can't...whatever. (If you don't know who that is, google is your friend.) The disaprity in quality is a demonstrable fact, however, it does not mean that ALL Indies suck. Reductio ad absurdum is equally unhelpful to the discussion.

And I firmly believe that the future of KU is significantly dependent upon the quality of KU books, which is itself significantly dependent upon the stability of royalty expectations. It's hard to run a business when you have no idea what your selling price is until after the market has closed.

Also...this does not mean 'we', the collective 'we', which also includes the singular 'me', don't want to hear about the success stories and everything little everything, (from celebrity and Prawny McPrawnypants alike), that these writers tried along the way, both tactically and spiritually. We do. A lot. So many of us are doing this because someone else showed us that - it was possible. So, thank you!

But maybe, if we all tried to understand where the other person was coming from, and, I don't know, show a little, if not respect, then common courtesy - both ways - and like maybe ask before letting the snark fly, not only would we have more beneficial discussions, but we might also get some of our friends back.

/rant

Sorry Becca, didn't mean to close the thread, if I did, I was just...ugh.   :(

I do think some aspects of the topic are worth discussing, P.J. But there is, on the one hand, thoughtful, nuanced discussion of what aesthetic quality means and what the KU readership seems to want and how those two elements may or may not interact, and on the other hand, there's, you know ... remarks that don't seem so thoughtful and nuanced, or that seem to target particular people. Those who can't (or choose not to) manage their tone well enough to avoid giving offense are going to have difficulty discussing topics that have the potential to inflame. Demanding others not get offended is ineffective, IMO. One has to find a way to convey one's ideas without giving offense, even when dealing with touchy subject matter. If one can't do that, then there's no chance of winning over other people, and if one's not in the conversation to win others over to one's view, why is one even talking?

There's quite a bit here that's still open for discussion, including the OP's question as to whether KU's in financial dire straits.

Offline kw3000

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #87 on: January 31, 2018, 10:24:13 PM »
Just grabbed a quick look on wikipedia which describes a loss leader as the following:

"a pricing strategy where a product is sold at a price below its market cost to stimulate other sales of more profitable goods or services."

Also this:

"One use of a loss leader is to draw customers into a store where they are likely to buy other goods. The vendor expects that the typical customer will purchase other items at the same time as the loss leader and that the profit made on these items will be such that an overall profit is generated for the vendor."

So, if Amazon is lowering the price of a KU subscription to dirt cheap wouldn't that be in keeping with the above strategy? Am I missing something here?

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Offline Doglover

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #88 on: January 31, 2018, 10:28:56 PM »
Has anyone considered the "3 months for 1.99" is a(n admittedly low) barrier to entry to try to control the clickfarm/bot accounts that use the "one free month" with a disposable email address in order to sell services falsely inflating page reads?

Has anyone considered that KU is not only a lending library you pay for, but also an infomercial channel you pay to use? Any time I go to an Amazon book description page, I see about 40% of its real estate devoted to Things That Are Not That Book--other books, sponsored books, product display books, three or four little ribbons with other departments, products, and streaming/digital content. All things to attract me from the page (one-click? Maybe not? Doesn't matter--I'm paying them for my eyeballs on the stuff they want me to want, AND I'm paying them to take my habitual information--how long I stay on the page, where I stop scrolling, the heat map of where I'm clicking versus where I'm not, etc).

But I'm also paying them so I can access nonfiction and indie publishing guides, many of which would cost me more than I currently make in book sales, so there's that. I'm getting a little, they're getting a little (more than I'd like to, but it is what it is).
Just where else do you propose Amazon put our advertising that we have paid for? Or is there somewhere else you would like the 'also boughts' that many people rely on for that advertising?



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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #89 on: February 01, 2018, 03:38:21 AM »
Ive tried to stay out of this thread because I think its a worthless argument, but PJ is right to say its worth discussing providing people can keep emotion out of it.

I couldnt care less about the future of KU or Amazon for that matter. Neither have ever paid my bills. If anything, I help pay theirs. I have no vested interest in the survival of either. What I do want to achieve is getting books into the hands of readers, but I dont care what platform theyre using.

The following is only my own opinion and you can get offended if you wish, but I think what I think and it is not intended as a slight to anyone else. If we cant just express an opinion, even if its not the usual one, then what use is a discussion cafe?

What is KU?
Technically its a subscription service and no one would have cared about it except for two points.

- Amazon make a borrow equal a sale, which skews cat 100 lists.
- Amazon demand exclusivity.

Why do Amazon make a borrow equal a sale?
They could easily set up a separate KU rank the same as they have done for free books. There is no technical limitation so it is deliberate. My theory is if they didnt skew the list then they would be dominated by the trads. The animosity between Amazon and the trads is real, so much so theyll take any fight to court. I dont think Jeff wants to see his shop dominated by the trads - its an ego thing. Unfortunately, its making the site impossible to use.

What did exclusivity do?
I believe originally it was to starve the other platforms of content, but it hasnt worked out the way they expected. In a new ecosystem/model it is hard to predict what people will do. It was supposed to tie a wide range of genres, niches and types of books to Amazon. Readers would be attracted to the cheap sub fee and wide range of exclusive content. What they planned to do once they hooked everyone in is another matter, but its a moot point now.

What happened was the authors swamped the best selling niches so badly it drowned out everything else. During KU1.0 that was a lot of short erotica books. Now were in KU2.0/3.0 its the sort of tropes in every niche that are read by the book a day reader. Once the trope niches were established, authors realized it was a volume game. Generally every niche/trope book had a cap. It would earn say $10,000 and then it was done, so the only way to increase earnings was to pump out more books. Given the content/trope is predictable, it was easy enough to ramp production, hence the birth of the content mill style publisher. Buy it, wrap it, load it, pump it, collect the page reads. Rinse and repeat. There is nothing to stop a well run and funded engine putting out 100 books or more a month and they will. Believe me, easy money is like blood in a shark pool. The feeding frenzy is already well underway, even if you dont recognize them for the pseudo content mills that they are.

Now were in a situation of escalating costs. There are some authors left who still have a fan base, although Im sure theyre under attack from the competition, so that base will erode over time. For the vast majority of authors (& Ill discount the outliers because their issues are different to the bulk of indies) its no longer just about visibility, but one of cost. Can they afford to be visible? Every ad mechanism is swamped so they are forced to discount books and use Eshot providers, but even that tail is eroding so its becoming too expensive.

What happens next?
You have to see the market as being split into two. The non KU books have a completely different ecosystem, costs and future to the KU books. I have an opinion about the non KU books (which is what I have), but its a different analysis and not the subject of this thread.

So, if we zero in on the KU books, whats likely to happen now?
The content mill style publisher have no reason to change what theyre doing, but each one is operating within their constraints. The one that could afford to have $5k in working capital has been replaced by the one who could have $30k and that one was replaced by the one with $100k. You can see where this is going. The content mill with the biggest budget will win. Eventually we will have a smaller number of mills publishing 100, 200, 1,000 books a month. For a while they will be a mix of outright investment engines and author pools, but I expect the investment engine will outrun most of the author pools in the end.

But will that kill KU? Well, that depends on Amazon. The book a day reader isnt profitable. Amazon collect $10 and pay out say $40. If all the reader can see is the niche tropes then the ones who dont want that (and would have read less books each month and therefore made Amazon money) will leave. Providing Amazon dont mind the top of the shop being full of niche trope KU books AND paying more than they collect, then KU will trundle along. To be fair, they rip back page reads revenue through AMS, but it could well be a zero sum or loss game from their side.

There is no obvious answer about the future of KU because we dont know what Amazons tolerance levels are. Are they happy to fill the cat 100s with niche trope books, even if its driving away other types of readers? Is it ok if they pay more than they collect for KU books? Do they care if many of the midlisters leave KU because they cant compete with the content mills and trope niches for visibility? Does it matter if the bulk of the KU subscribers are the book a day reader where the bulk of them want specific niche tropes? Do Amazon mean to be servicing that type of high volume reader over the lower volume reader who wants to find different types of books?

I dont know how Amazon would answer any of those questions. If I go by my extensive corporate consulting background then I can guess at the answers, but thats not the same as having an answer. And therein lies the problem and why these threads dissolve into arguments. There isnt an answer, so any answer given always contains a bit of wish fulfilment thinking.

I dont have a wish. I did, but I got over it. I just looked at the state of play and worked out where I fit in it, what I want, and what Im prepared to invest. Thats why I went wide, not because I care about the future of Amazon or KU, or even what theyre doing today.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 03:59:22 AM by TwistedTales »

Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #90 on: February 01, 2018, 04:04:03 AM »
One of the challenges of a thread like this is that a lot of the time, things that are opinion are stated as if they were unalloyed fact, as a way to support other opinions as if they were unalloyed facts.

It's an opinion that books are being devalued in a race to the bottom. It's an opinion that Amazon is trying to break the spirit of indie authors and has introduced KU to destroy their competitors. It's an opinion that page flip is stealing money from indie authors. it's an opinion that Amazon has some sort of master plan endgame of evil or whatever.

Another of the challenges is that sometimes, disagreement with a strongly-held opinion is considered absurd, or an indication that the contrary opinion is held by someone who's being foolish.

And finally, when some of us are identified as being 'part of the problem' for actively supporting and participating in a marketplace that others among us have a negative opinion about... well, that's a challenge too.

Offline David Beers

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #91 on: February 01, 2018, 05:23:55 AM »
That's not desperation. It's domination.

"Your margin is my opportunity."

Bezos will continue doing exactly as he's done, until he either dies, or the government stops him. Bet against him at your own risk.

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Offline Sati_LRR

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #92 on: February 01, 2018, 05:34:24 AM »
Just where else do you propose Amazon put our advertising that we have paid for? Or is there somewhere else you would like the 'also boughts' that many people rely on for that advertising?
I think the point they were making is that the product pages are no longer product pages. They are instead an "everything-page", trying to shoe-horn a large section of the store into each one, which only makes things worse and devalues any advertisement that people pay for. What's the point if you're competing against hundreds of other products on that same page?

And it's a lot worse than 40% too. There is only ONE main place (three if you count a KU button and the gifting button) where you can buy my book. Yet literally hundreds of other links/covers that entice the consumer away from that product.

Last time I checked this was what I saw on my product pages:

Advertisement banner (normally Amazon related - prime/kindle unlimited/prime student sign up offer)
The actual book with the buy widget on the right
Advertisement for an UNRELATED author beneath my book's blurb and particulars -- normally this is a text based ad or has a small book cover
Book Series widget (if there is one) & a Boxed Advertisment under the Buy/Add to List widget
Also-Boughts "advertisment" carousel once they've kicked in
Sponsored Products Advertisement carousel
Product details
Author Bio
Another! Sponsored Products Advertisement carousel
Single Advertisement banner for variety of non-related book stuff (clothes/shoes/bags etc)
Reviews & Box Advertisement with a cover and that book's star review rating! WTF (It looks like at a glance that the 1 star review in that book's ad is part of my book's review: https://i.imgur.com/VedWVQe.png)
Amazon Giveaway Section
Also-Views carousel "advertisement" (even when there's already an AB carousel)
What other's buy after viewing widget "advertisements" -- which can be considered another section to get you off the page and onto another one!
Feedback Section
Your recently viewed items and recommendations Advertisement carousel
Another Advertisement carousel for recommended bestsellers!

There are plenty of other places Amazon could use without obliterating the product pages and overwhelming the customer -- though even those places are also becoming inundated with products unrelated to what you're trying to buy. Simply put the product pages (and the Amazon store in general) are cluttered and is a complete mess. Instead of overhauling the system they just keep adding crappy 90s style code to it, widgets on top of widgets, making it worse and worse. This is one of the reasons why ad prices are skyrocketing at the moment on AMS because everyone is shouting to be heard but the only person that's winning is Bezos and his stockholders.

If we could go back to the days when we only had Also Views and the Also Boughts carousel (and maybe only one more sponsored carousel) things would be a lot better for everyone, including the consumer!

Online Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #93 on: February 01, 2018, 06:02:53 AM »
I think one of the biggest problems is that we were in a growing market for a long time but now we've turned to a mature market. It's not just the KU vs. wide argument (frankly that is just a reason to pull hair on the internet now). It's more than that. I see a lot of people struggling and I expect that to continue.
When this all started it was easy to get visibility because no one was playing the game and the product could be woefully bad and still sell. I made every mistake in the book when I started and I managed to survive. You can't do that any longer. You have to improve. A lot of the people I'm seeing "give up" are the ones that either can't or won't improve.
It was only a matter of time before Amazon monetized advertising. You can bet that Apple, Google, Kobo and Barnes & Noble either will do it or at least try to do it, too. Most of those entities actually ignored their bookstores for so long they almost fell completely out of the market. Hopefully they will be able to fix that, but if you think they're not going to follow the Amazon model and monetize ad placement, I think you're nuts. That's simply good business.
A lot of what happens in these arguments is wish fulfillment. You visualize the outcome you want and then base your argument around it, Those who hate KU say it will be gone, and soon. Those who like KU say it will live forever. I tend to trend more pragmatic. I don't think KU, especially how it is now, will last forever. I think it's our reality for the foreseeable future, though. People assume I will be sad when KU goes but that's not true. KU has allowed me to go debt free and stockpile money for my retirement but I'm not afraid of KU going away. Even if my income was cut in half, I won't suffer. Seventy-five percent? That's still more than I was making at my day job ... by a long shot. I'm not worried about my books selling on other vendors. I am dreading the process of uploading that many books on other vendors but it is what it is. I'm not terrified of the day KU changes to something that doesn't work for me. I'm prepared for when that happens and know it will take work to get everything on the other vendors. Fear isn't part of the game, though.
As for KU itself, I think people want to see what they want to see. Just like any other marketplace, you have to fight for visibility in KU. Just sticking your books in KU without finding a way to advertise and get eyes on them isn't going to work because people need to see it to read it. KU is great for allowing readers to take a chance on a new-to-them author without risking money. You still have to be discovered for that to happen. I think from here on out, the true problem people are going to have is with visibility and that's not going away. It's only going to get worse. At a certain point, though, some of the content mills will actually go away because the money they're spending on visibility won't translate to profits at the end of the month. I think the time when a few of them crumble is soon if any of the whispers are true. That's not all content mills, of course. This market is still settling, though, and there are still a few things that need to shake out.
Will it be harder for people who can't write fast? Absolutely. There will still be breakout single books, though. That happens every year. Most people who manage to stay in the game will be hobbyists and those who can produce quickly. That won't be everyone, though. There will always be outliers. Also, there will be new stars every year and others quietly fading into the background. Not all those fading will be doing it because they can't keep up as much as they've achieved what they want to achieve and simply want to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Nothing is set in stone here but the reality is still something we all have to work around. It's a brave new world for us, a different world, but it's still worth navigating in my book.

Amanda M. Lee

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #94 on: February 01, 2018, 06:08:55 AM »
That's not desperation. It's domination.

"Your margin is my opportunity."

Bezos will continue doing exactly as he's done, until he either dies, or the government stops him. Bet against him at your own risk.

I dont think anyone is betting against him just by not being in KU. Were still listing books on Amazon, but we also list and promote other platforms. Sure, we get no help from the so-called Amazon algos, but so what? Im not sure they were doing much for me without a lot of promotion anyway. This way Im promoting four platforms instead of one. I might not get page reads, but I am getting sales from four platforms.

Bezos may see my margin as his opportunity, but that doesnt mean I have to give it to him. I dont use AMS, nor am I in KU. He gets 30% plus download fees of my sales. Having ads splattered all over my page means I spend more directing traffic to the other platforms because they dont do that, which means I get more conversions from those ads. If he really does think my margin is his opportunity hes not good at taking it. If anything, hes convinced me to give my margin to someone else.

Online Anarchist

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #95 on: February 01, 2018, 06:11:28 AM »
Astute post, TT.

I may not agree with every detail, but I read your posts because they possess this level of acumen. :)





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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #96 on: February 01, 2018, 06:14:31 AM »
Astute post, TT.

I may not agree with every detail, but I read your posts because they possess this level of acumen. :)




Thanks, Anarchist. Nice gif.  ;)

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #97 on: February 01, 2018, 06:22:43 AM »
Ill add that I dont think content mills will go away because I think theyve been around in one form or another for a while. There will be a profit tipping point and the ones best at building/maintaining KU mail lists, getting cheap or free or earning content, hitting the right niche/trope points, spending the least amount advertizing, etc will win the toss, until they slip up or someone gets even better at it. You might not be fighting for visibility against the same content mill every week, but there will be another one. Now theyve spawned there will be no getting rid of them unless the KU model is drastically changed in some way.

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #98 on: February 01, 2018, 06:37:33 AM »
Why do Amazon make a borrow equal a sale?
They could easily set up a separate KU rank the same as they have done for free books. There is no technical limitation so it is deliberate. My theory is if they didnt skew the list then they would be dominated by the trads. The animosity between Amazon and the trads is real, so much so theyll take any fight to court. I dont think Jeff wants to see his shop dominated by the trads - its an ego thing. Unfortunately, its making the site impossible to use.

What did exclusivity do?
I believe originally it was to starve the other platforms of content, but it hasnt worked out the way they expected.
I could agree with many of the things you said, but I might take issue with these two.

Why does Amazon make a borrow equal a sale? Because if it didn't, KU would be a much less tempting option for authors. Think about it. If borrows didn't contribute to visibility, it would be a lot harder to sell the lower price/higher volume argument. (It's getting harder, anyway, but it wasn't in the beginning.) Yes, Amazon and the trads have had their conflicts, but it's a lot less than total war. Take a look at Amazon Charts some time. It does give some boost to Amazon imprint books (which will never appear on traditional bestseller lists), but it's generally still trad-dominated. The last one has one imprint book (the same one) on both the most sold and most read lists for fiction. The most sold one also has two self-pubbed titles. That's it. The other nineteen most read and seventeen most sold are from trad publishers. That's pretty typical, though in some weeks, the imprints have been better represented. The lowest I've seen the trads go on either list is fifteen out of twenty. If Bezos were as anti-trad as you suspect, I doubt Amazon Charts would ever have seen the light of day.

I would agree that Amazon may have been trying to starve the other platforms of content, but I'm not sure that's been the real effect. Is Barnes and Noble in trouble because it's running out of books to sell? No. It's in trouble because it spent too long living in the past. The trads produce more than enough books to keep most readers happy. The only way to make a book-a-day reader on a tight budget happy is the give that person a subscription service like KU--the very approach that, as you suggest, may be harming Amazon. So is Amazon really gaining anything by trying to hold onto indie authors? Its major competitors have ample books to sell and could keep any but the most voracious readers happy even if they never distributed a single indie book. A few indie authors have enough of a following to make a difference in the struggle for market share--and they aren't all in KU by any means.


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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #99 on: February 01, 2018, 06:43:21 AM »
Ill add that I dont think content mills will go away because I think theyve been around in one form or another for a while. There will be a profit tipping point and the ones best at building/maintaining KU mail lists, getting cheap or free or earning content, hitting the right niche/trope points, spending the least amount advertizing, etc will win the toss, until they slip up or someone gets even better at it. You might not be fighting for visibility against the same content mill every week, but there will be another one. Now theyve spawned there will be no getting rid of them unless the KU model is drastically changed in some way.
I think we probably all agree that it would be great if the KU model were changed drastically. I'm not sure I know what that would even look like anymore.


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