Author Topic: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?  (Read 8484 times)  

Offline Atlantisatheart

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 516
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #100 on: February 01, 2018, 07:26:58 AM »
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.

That's the problem, I don't think Amazon has a clue what to do with KU either. I doubt they wanted the scammers, botters, stuffers, and content bad boy mills eating up the charts, or the revenue, and having to deal with that when they just wanted to quietly get on with lowering ppp and introducing AMS revenue to the model and slimmed a percentage back every few months.

Let's be honest, when AMS started and it was 0.02 per click that was great. Recently to get on the first page of a decent selling author you have to bid a minimum of 0.50 or more and cross your fingers that it comes in a lot lower. Now that is the fault of those bad boy content mills because I was doing some testing last month to see what it took to beat them out and it was a minimum bid of 1.00 and the click rate was 0.75. Perhaps that's why they've stopped showing up on all of the PNR books on the front page, they might have just priced themselves out of the market.

Offline kw3000

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 712
  • Rocky Mountains
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #101 on: February 01, 2018, 11:42:41 AM »
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.

But is the book-a-day reader profitable for Amazon if they're also buying things within that ecosystem in addition to books?

Ken Ward

Offline TwistedTales

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1224
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #102 on: February 01, 2018, 12:25:29 PM »
But is the book-a-day reader profitable for Amazon if they're also buying things within that ecosystem in addition to books?

I dont know whether ebook buyers rush around the rest of the store buying stuff or not, but if its true then its true for any entry point into the store, whether thats for paid books, KU books, free books, jelly beans or sneakers.

I suspect the 80 - 100 million people with Prime membership and the free delivery that gives them attracts more people to the store to buy stuff than anything else. Prime members make up more than half of Amazons customer base, and the main attraction is free shipping, so why would they shop anywhere else anyway. I doubt KU makes anywhere near the difference to Amazons sales as people seem to think it does, but were all entitled to our opinions.

Offline kw3000

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 712
  • Rocky Mountains
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #103 on: February 01, 2018, 12:41:00 PM »
I doubt KU makes anywhere near the difference to Amazons sales as people seem to think it does, but were all entitled to our opinions.

Yeah, I don't think KU is the key driver for Amazon, I think it's just another entry point into their system. I agree with Amanda when she'd mentioned earlier in the thread that KU is one method by which Amazon gets people into Prime.

Ken Ward

Offline Max 007

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #104 on: February 01, 2018, 02:03:42 PM »
Yeah, I don't think KU is the key driver for Amazon, I think it's just another entry point into their system. I agree with Amanda when she'd mentioned earlier in the thread that KU is one method by which Amazon gets people into Prime.

If Prime would let you get K-Select books too ...

... and drop the price of going just KU, if a person wants just that ....

... people can choose and get a good deal either way.   

So if Prime monthly fee went up and they are offering 3 months KU cheap ... maybe Amazon is experimenting and we might see a small "Sea Change" soon. 

Don't know.  But I hope so. That would be a plus for everyone just about as a reader.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 02:07:14 PM by Picky Android »

Offline JRTomlin

  • Status: Agatha Christie
  • *********
  • Posts: 16884
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • J. R. Tomlin on Writing and More
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #105 on: February 01, 2018, 02:31:07 PM »
Ive seen them offering three free months. Im guessing theyre charging the notional fee of 1.99 to get your bank details. Youll need to be sure to stop the auto deductions when they try and up the price. Youre in the U.K. and Im not sure their take up for KU is good there.

Free and such heavy discounting doesnt send out a good message to the market. Whether they mean to or not, theyre pretty much saying the books in KU arent worth paying much for.
I doubt people look at it that way. If my grocery store gives away cookies or lowers the price of milk for a few days, I don't assume that means they are low quality. The same is true with Amazon special offers.Whether KU is on its way out? I'm skeptical but it's certainly possible.

No, KU isn't the main marketing part of Amazon marketing. Free cookies or a taste of some other product aren't the main part of Albertsons marketing either, but that doesn't keep them from using it. A marketing mix is called that because it uses multiple factors.

ETA: For anyone outside their market area, Albertsons is a major US grocery brand and chain owning a number of chains such as Safeway.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 02:39:19 PM by JRTomlin »

Saor Alba
J. R. Tomlin

Offline Mylius Fox

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
  • Cognitive syntactical wizard.
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #106 on: February 01, 2018, 02:35:37 PM »
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.

Beautifully rational post, made me feel much more encouraged than discouraged.  :)

Offline TwistedTales

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1224
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #107 on: February 01, 2018, 02:40:44 PM »
I doubt people look at it that way. If my grocery store gives away cookies or lowers the price of milk for a few days, I don't assume that means they are low quality. The same is true with Amazon special offers.Whether KU is on its way out? I'm skeptical but it's certainly possible.

Perception of value and quality is complicated. For example, if a well known branded product with a good rep is discounted, then people generally wont think the product is shabbier for it. If an unknown or untested (i.e. the prospect buyer has no opinion, experience or knowledge about the product) product is discounted, then people might assume its not worth much. Its not a one size fits all response either. Some people will have greater knowledge about a product and therefore have formed an opinion, others may know little to nothing so their takeaway will be different.

Is KU on its way out? Maybe in its current form. I dont know what key performance indicators Amazon are using to assess the performance of KU, so even if it looks a bit iffy to me doesnt mean it is to Amazon.

Offline JRTomlin

  • Status: Agatha Christie
  • *********
  • Posts: 16884
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • J. R. Tomlin on Writing and More
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #108 on: February 01, 2018, 02:43:53 PM »
Perception of value and quality is complicated. For example, if a well known branded product with a good rep is discounted, then people generally wont think the product is shabbier for it. If an unknown or untested (i.e. the prospect buyer has no opinion, experience or knowledge about the product) product is discounted, then people might assume its not worth much. Its not a one size fits all response either. Some people will have greater knowledge about a product and therefore have formed an opinion, others may know little to nothing so their takeaway will be different.

Is KU on its way out? Maybe in its current form. I dont know what key performance indicators Amazon are using to assess the performance of KU, so even if it looks a bit iffy to me doesnt mean it is to Amazon.
That is true, and with consumers. Amazon still has a good reputation for delivering, so I defend my comment. :)

I agree that there is simply no way to judge what Amazon may decide about KU (or much of anything else).
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 03:19:21 PM by JRTomlin »

Saor Alba
J. R. Tomlin

Offline TwistedTales

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1224
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #109 on: February 01, 2018, 03:01:56 PM »
That is true, and with consumers Amazon still has a good reputation for delivering, so I defend my comment. :)

I agree that there is simply no way to judge what Amazon may decide about KU (or much of anything else).

Not to be pedantic, but theres a difference between brand and product awareness. I might know of Amazon, but not have knowledge about Prime, which I didnt until last year. Also mileage varies so its hard to make definitive statements about how a company is perceived, good or bad. Usually companies measure themselves and their products through various forms of feedback (direct and indirect) and the profit line for each. They dont usually settle for sweeping assumptions on how theyre viewed by customers.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 03:11:06 PM by TwistedTales »

Offline JRTomlin

  • Status: Agatha Christie
  • *********
  • Posts: 16884
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • J. R. Tomlin on Writing and More
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #110 on: February 01, 2018, 03:24:07 PM »
Not to be pedantic, but theres a difference between brand and product awareness. I might know of Amazon, but not have knowledge about Prime, which I didnt until last year. Also mileage varies so its hard to make definitive statements about how a company is perceived, good or bad. Usually companies measure themselves and their products through various forms of feedback (direct and indirect) and the profit line for each. They dont usually settle for sweeping assumptions on how theyre viewed by customers.
Did I say Amazon didn't use various methods of measuring customer satisfaction and perception? Obviously Amazon does and does marketing, depending a lot on perceived value by its millions of customers.

Saor Alba
J. R. Tomlin

Offline Marian

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1627
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #111 on: February 01, 2018, 03:28:50 PM »
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!
It's going to be interesting to see what Apple and Google Play will be doing with their product pages, if anything, now that they're upping their game.

Offline JRTomlin

  • Status: Agatha Christie
  • *********
  • Posts: 16884
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • J. R. Tomlin on Writing and More
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #112 on: February 01, 2018, 05:42:28 PM »
What interests me is the new alliance between Walmart and Kobo. Walmart has never gone wholeheartedly into online marketing. This could be a sideways step into at least part of it. If Walmart wanted to, it could give Amazon some competition. And I have to say that although my sales on Kobo so far have been modest, I am somewhat impressed by them.

I have also always wondered why stores don't offer B&M sales of ebooks. I think more changes will come. It is just a matter of who, what and when.

Saor Alba
J. R. Tomlin

Online TimothyEllis

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4259
  • Gender: Male
  • Somewhere in space.
  • Aussie in the 27th century.
    • View Profile
    • Timothy Ellis Author
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #113 on: February 01, 2018, 10:51:13 PM »
And I have to say that although my sales on Kobo so far have been modest, I am somewhat impressed by them.

Me too. Kobo is less than Apple for me, but still a number.

The thing is, Kobo has very little reach into the US market, which is where my primary reader base is. So Walmart selling Kobo has to be a big increase for Kobo sales for those like me, where the rest of the world is secondary.

It should be interesting.

Offline Max 007

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Is Kindle Unlimited on the way out?
« Reply #114 on: February 02, 2018, 03:57:03 AM »
Beautifully rational post, made me feel much more encouraged than discouraged.  :)

Yeah. Read it too.  Things are tougher for Indies now - there are a lot of us. Mature market - maybe. Could be. But at least you can be an Indie at zero cost sans trying to promote your books.

Now promoting your books ... there aren't a lot of real successful angles. Some methods work well for some people - some don't ... but it depends a lot on the book too - bad better or good - and the cost you put into it.

Amazon has this KU angle, and Indies are part of that ATM. A platform that works for us that is free to just throw it out there. 

Anyway, best of luck.