Author Topic: Publishers with books in KU and wide?  (Read 2422 times)  

Offline SophieJones

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Publishers with books in KU and wide?
« on: July 02, 2020, 08:09:21 pm »
I am mostly indie, but have 4 books with a small-medium romance publisher. I've been told by them that Amazon is letting some publishers enroll in a program that lets them have a book in both KU/KDPSelect and wide, at the same time.

This is contrary to everything I'd ever read, and am worried that it threatens my Amazon account and all my other indie  books.

I've asked for specific details and haven't heard back yet.

Has anyone ever heard of this?
Thanks!

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    Offline IndieEuroAuthor

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #1 on: July 03, 2020, 01:45:20 am »
    I am mostly indie, but have 4 books with a small-medium romance publisher. I've been told by them that Amazon is letting some publishers enroll in a program that lets them have a book in both KU/KDPSelect and wide, at the same time.

    This is contrary to everything I'd ever read, and am worried that it threatens my Amazon account and all my other indie  books.

    I've asked for specific details and haven't heard back yet.

    Has anyone ever heard of this?
    Thanks!

    Yes, Amazon allows Publishers with a substantial catalogue to enroll in KU without demanding exclusivity. Do you really think Artemis Fowl, Handsmaid Tale etc isn't available anywhere else? I have heard that such privilege is reserved for BIG PUBLISHERS though, not small to medium indie presses. Any small to medium press receiving such an offer from Amazon likely has a substantial catalogue and have titles which Amazon thinks will be a runaway best-seller in future (Amazon knows, they have got all the sales data and trends).

    As an author, you have got absolutely nothing to worry about though, whatever happens is between your publisher and Amazon. It will have no bearing on your self-published titles.

    Online Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #2 on: July 03, 2020, 06:39:06 am »
    There are a handful of books (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter. Etc.) allowed to be in KU and wide. It's for big properties, though, and not small publishers. The publishers work out their own deal with Amazon and those books are not included in the global fund.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #3 on: July 03, 2020, 07:16:29 am »
    It is interesting and disconcerting that Amazon breaks its own rules.

    Allowing big publishers to do what they want DOES muddy the waters. No one really knows what deal they are getting in KU or how that exactly impacts everyone else. By allowing them in KU and being wide....they are diluting independent authors and the small players in a huge way.

    Mark

    Offline Triceratops

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #4 on: July 03, 2020, 08:37:18 am »
    Many of us small fish are gonna get squeezed out. Amazon doesn't care about us. The big money is with big publishing. Amazon wants the big five publishers to all play KU ball. And pretty soon, they will.

    Give it time. The big five (Penguin/Random House, Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan) are going to dominate KU. Add in Disney publishing and it's Godzilla stomping on the happy hunting ground.

    No use crying about it. It'll just force us indies to be more professional with covers and editing. Adapt or die...

    2011 for us was analogous to the Sixties, when even your mailman could have a #1 Billboard chart hit song. Amateurs could and did hit it big. But then in the Seventies things changed; you couldn't just put out just one song, it had to be an album in order to get any chart traction. The vinyl sleeves had to be slicker and pop to the eye of the casual record-store browser. The Rolling Stones held on because they accepted the business realities of their art, and actually their time of trial created some of their best work (Exiles on Main Street, etc). But a lot of the Sixties record artists fell into obscurity because they couldn't or wouldn't change their thinking and shift their models.

    It's like jazz; you make your own music but you have to constantly monitor and adjust to what everybody's doing around you.

    Offline IndieEuroAuthor

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #5 on: July 03, 2020, 09:02:12 am »
    It is interesting and disconcerting that Amazon breaks its own rules.

    Allowing big publishers to do what they want DOES muddy the waters. No one really knows what deal they are getting in KU or how that exactly impacts everyone else. By allowing them in KU and being wide....they are diluting independent authors and the small players in a huge way.

    Mark

    Oh, plenty of people know what deal they are getting in KU. They get paid a fixed amount for each borrow. :) Now I don't know if anything like a minimum read of 10% applies, but we do know for a FACT that they get paid full royalty for each borrow. Keep in mind they also price their book much higher, so it's a very sweet deal.

    EDIT: We now have a clearer picture. Apparently many publishers get a modified KU1 deal. A set borrow price after 10% page read + page reads. Still a way better deal than indie authors are getting.
    « Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 02:10:31 pm by IndieEuroAuthor »

    Offline IndieEuroAuthor

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #6 on: July 03, 2020, 09:16:00 am »
    Many of us small fish are gonna get squeezed out. Amazon doesn't care about us. The big money is with big publishing. Amazon wants the big five publishers to all play KU ball. And pretty soon, they will.

    Give it time. The big five (Penguin/Random House, Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan) are going to dominate KU. Add in Disney publishing and it's Godzilla stomping on the happy hunting ground.

    No use crying about it. It'll just force us indies to be more professional with covers and editing. Adapt or die...

    2011 for us was analogous to the Sixties, when even your mailman could have a #1 Billboard chart hit song. Amateurs could and did hit it big. But then in the Seventies things changed; you couldn't just put out just one song, it had to be an album in order to get any chart traction. The vinyl sleeves had to be slicker and pop to the eye of the casual record-store browser. The Rolling Stones held on because they accepted the business realities of their art, and actually their time of trial created some of their best work (Exiles on Main Street, etc). But a lot of the Sixties record artists fell into obscurity because they couldn't or wouldn't change their thinking and shift their models.

    It's like jazz; you make your own music but you have to constantly monitor and adjust to what everybody's doing around you.

    But KU became a behemoth because of indies. Indies kept running on the KU hamster wheel even when Amazon continued tightening the screws.

    1) Amazon demanding exclusivity was madness. It was extremely anti-competitive and anti-fair market. Indies were cool with it.
    2) Amazon's fraction of a penny per page read was a joke. Nowhere else are content creators subjected to such terms and conditions.  Indies were overjoyed about it.
    3) Amazon's algo of always favouring new titles and taking away visibility from excellent old titles (backlist) is again [bullcrap] and totally unsustainable. Indie authors aren't fooling anyone when they churn out 50-60 novels within a couple of years. We all know their quality. Even customers are noticing it and they can innately feel that trad pubs *in general* offer better quality, and since Amazon is offering an exceptionally good deal for KU to trad pubs they are now entering the market.

    For Indies, KU is nothing but a race to the bottom.

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #7 on: July 03, 2020, 09:30:39 am »
    I am taking my titles wide because I sense what is going in KU. It is the invasion of the Big 5.

    There is no transparency as far as how KU distributes its fund...none.  So if the big novels come in...they totally push aside independents who have nowhere hear the ad budgets to compete.

    Already, Amazon did very little to stop book stuffers from stealing from authors...if you think they really closed the loopholes...please do some research...many authors who know much more about this can tell you that it still happens.

    Mark


    Offline SophieJones

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #8 on: July 03, 2020, 11:34:42 am »
    Do you really think Artemis Fowl, Handsmaid Tale etc isn't available anywhere else? I have heard that such privilege is reserved for BIG PUBLISHERS though, not small to medium indie presses. Any small to medium press receiving such an offer from Amazon likely has a substantial catalogue and have titles which Amazon thinks will be a runaway best-seller in future (Amazon knows, they have got all the sales data and trends).

    I knew the big 5 were doing it. Pretty sure my publisher isn't even close. I'll keep pressuring them for details.

    Quote
    As an author, you have got absolutely nothing to worry about though, whatever happens is between your publisher and Amazon. It will have no bearing on your self-published titles.


    I wish I believed that.  Amazon has a loooong history of holding authors accountable for things they have no control over. I do not trust them one iota, which is why I have none of my indie books in KU.

    Offline SophieJones

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #9 on: July 03, 2020, 11:38:26 am »
      They get paid full royalty of a sale for each borrow. :) Now I don't know if anything like a minimum read of 10% applies, but we do know for a FACT that they get paid full royalty for each borrow.

    The one vague email we got referenced being paid by the page read, at the exact same rate as exclusive KU authors.

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #10 on: July 03, 2020, 01:59:32 pm »
    Publishers negotiate separately with Amazon. Some select few books will have a borrow treated like a full buy--that is, it will be as if the borrower bought the book at full price--but most are getting a variable X-per-borrow amount that kicks in after the 10% point is reached. Basically, publishers get KU 1.0, but for a negotiated price less than the cover price. And I know this because I have a title with a trad publisher that's in KU and also wide.

    Offline IndieEuroAuthor

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #11 on: July 03, 2020, 02:12:30 pm »
    Publishers negotiate separately with Amazon. Some select few books will have a borrow treated like a full buy--that is, it will be as if the borrower bought the book at full price--but most are getting a variable X-per-borrow amount that kicks in after the 10% point is reached. Basically, publishers get KU 1.0, but for a negotiated price less than the cover price. And I know this because I have a title with a trad publisher that's in KU and also wide.

    Thanks for clearing that up. Since trad pubs price their books way higher than indies, I can understand why Amazon came up with terms like that.

    Online Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #12 on: July 03, 2020, 03:02:08 pm »
    Oh, plenty of people know what deal they are getting in KU. They get paid a fixed amount for each borrow. :) Now I don't know if anything like a minimum read of 10% applies, but we do know for a FACT that they get paid full royalty for each borrow. Keep in mind they also price their book much higher, so it's a very sweet deal.

    EDIT: We now have a clearer picture. Apparently many publishers get a modified KU1 deal. A set borrow price after 10% page read + page reads. Still a way better deal than indie authors are getting.
    And the reason behind that is because scammers flooded KU1 with shorts. It falls under the "why we can't have nice things" heading. If people wouldn't have been such scammy scammers, we would still have KU1.

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    Online Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #13 on: July 03, 2020, 03:04:13 pm »
    I am taking my titles wide because I sense what is going in KU. It is the invasion of the Big 5.

    There is no transparency as far as how KU distributes its fund...none.  So if the big novels come in...they totally push aside independents who have nowhere hear the ad budgets to compete.

    Already, Amazon did very little to stop book stuffers from stealing from authors...if you think they really closed the loopholes...please do some research...many authors who know much more about this can tell you that it still happens.

    Mark
    The big publishers are not paid out of the global fund. If you don't want to be in KU, then don't be in KU. Some big publishers have been there since it started. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are amongst them.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #14 on: July 03, 2020, 06:32:32 pm »
    I'm not in KU, so most of this is academic to me... but...

    How exactly is the Big 5 being in KU causing problems for indies? The Big 5 is also in the rest of Amazon, and the Big 5 are selling books in the other retailers as well. The Big 5 is everywhere. And yet indies still sell books. The Big 5 may be a formidable competition, but they are regardless of platform.

    Offline SophieJones

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #15 on: July 03, 2020, 07:43:46 pm »
    Does anyone know what this deal with the publishers is called, and where I can find out more? I'm not going to agree to it until I see some documentation of the conditions.

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #16 on: July 03, 2020, 10:28:15 pm »
    Without knowing the details of these "deals" how can one say it does not affect the "fund' that gets distributed?

    KU was supposed to be "help" for emerging independent authors to find an audience. So the Big 5 can throw all their resources into the "small fish pond" and the small fish have nowhere to go. Seems like a good way for the Big 5 to drown the small fish.

    In fact, it should not surprise anyone that the Big 5 realized it is better to play nice with the whale that is the Zon, than compete against them. This is not good for anyone else.

    Mark

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #17 on: July 04, 2020, 06:39:59 am »
    Without knowing the details of these "deals" how can one say it does not affect the "fund' that gets distributed?

    KU was supposed to be "help" for emerging independent authors to find an audience. So the Big 5 can throw all their resources into the "small fish pond" and the small fish have nowhere to go. Seems like a good way for the Big 5 to drown the small fish.

    In fact, it should not surprise anyone that the Big 5 realized it is better to play nice with the whale that is the Zon, than compete against them. This is not good for anyone else.

    Mark


    The money paid to publishers doesn't come out of the fund. The argument to have is whether it affects competition. I'm of the opinion that readers in KU are a different pool of consumers than readers not in KU. If that's accurate, it's possible that big 5 books in KU could be considered in competition for the same readers as the self-published authors in KU, in a different way than before, when the big 5 books were NOT in KU. (Side note: most big 5 books continue to not be in KU, so this is currently a moot point.) That could make a difference.

    Conversely, there are a LOT of books in KU already. Adding more books--any books--shouldn't make that much of a difference, if only because the selection is already so vast.

    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #18 on: July 04, 2020, 07:14:37 am »
    You guys realize this has been the case since almost the beginning right? This isn't new or anything.  Amazon's been cutting KU deals with publishers for some time now.


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    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #19 on: July 04, 2020, 07:20:18 am »
    I suspected there were "side deals" but not that Kindle disclosed it.

    Also, is there any detail of goes into the fund?  Or do we just take their word that this is the pot available.

    For example, when this whole book stuffing thing happened...did Amazon reimburse the fund for the problem they created and allowed to go on...I don't think so.

    It is all about transparency. The minute you start the whole "special deals" it makes you wonder.

    Mark

    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #20 on: July 04, 2020, 07:29:54 am »

    It is all about transparency. The minute you start the whole "special deals" it makes you wonder.


    Amazon has NEVER been about transparency when it comes to KU.  I mean, heck, they won't even tell us how many borrows we get or let us track them in AMS (a service we freaking pay for!). 


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    Offline Triceratops

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #21 on: July 04, 2020, 09:20:11 am »
    You guys realize this has been the case since almost the beginning right? This isn't new or anything.  Amazon's been cutting KU deals with publishers for some time now.

    Right, but it's a question of how the trend line is ramping. Meaning, more and more Big 5 and Disney publishers are now using KU.

    In the past, the top 10/50/100 KU books were almost all indie. But now the indie-to-Big 5 ratio is changing. The curve is climbing.

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #22 on: July 04, 2020, 12:04:19 pm »

    For example, when this whole book stuffing thing happened...did Amazon reimburse the fund for the problem they created and allowed to go on...I don't think so.


    Maybe, instead of blaming Amazon, you should blame the stuffers instead. If all the stuffers out there hadn't deliberately set out to grab a much larger piece of the pie than they were entitled to, it wouldn't have happened.
             

    Online Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #23 on: July 04, 2020, 02:11:52 pm »
    Without knowing the details of these "deals" how can one say it does not affect the "fund' that gets distributed?

    KU was supposed to be "help" for emerging independent authors to find an audience. So the Big 5 can throw all their resources into the "small fish pond" and the small fish have nowhere to go. Seems like a good way for the Big 5 to drown the small fish.

    In fact, it should not surprise anyone that the Big 5 realized it is better to play nice with the whale that is the Zon, than compete against them. This is not good for anyone else.

    Mark
    You ask the reps and they tell you.

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    Offline boba1823

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    Re: Publishers with books in KU and wide?
    « Reply #24 on: July 04, 2020, 08:26:18 pm »
    I would think that more trad pub books in KU would be quite good news for those indies who are in KU.

    It's a very small portion of all book buyers who subscribe to KU. Having more books that your average readers are actually looking for in the mix may attract new subscribers, perhaps increasing the customer base for KU indies.

    There are lots of good books in KU. There are just.. many more that are not at all appealing to the average reader. I eventually subscribed for publishing research purposes. But when I first encountered it and was considering it just as a reader, I looked through some of the books in there and thought.. even if it was free, no thanks.

    It's like Netflix. I don't subscribe for the filler content. I subscribe for the two or three shows that I really enjoy. But once I'v watched the good stuff.. well, I already paid for it, it's there, so on occasion I might check out a random film or the like. On occasion, it turns out to be pretty good - though not something that would have compelled me to subscribe.

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