Updated: Sep 28, 2022
What is Amazon Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Unlimited, also referred to as KU is a subscription service offered by Amazon which allows readers to sign up for a monthly fee and access a HUGE number of e-books and allows them to read as many as they want and keep them for as long as they wish.
As an author, your books will only be featured in Kindle Unlimited if you sign up for this service via Amazon. Your books must meet the requirements set out by KDP Select, and you must choose to enroll your novels in KDP Select.
During this blog post, we are going to take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of using Kindle Unlimited from an author's perspective.
What Countries are Kindle Unlimited Available in?
Amazon is always growing the number of countries kindle unlimited is available in and I am sure it will continue to grow. It is currently available in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, India, China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico Canada, and Australia. It is also worth noting that each country has its own individual pay-out rate.
Benefits to using Kindle Unlimited.
One of the main benefits of featuring your book on Kindle Unlimited is that every time a reader “borrows” your book and places it on their KU bookshelf that is classed as a borrow whether they then go on to read it or not. This helps with Amazon Rankings, each borrow is classified the same as a “sale” on the ranking system, ultimately by being featured on KU you are increasing your chances of gaining Amazon BestSeller status.
Another advantage is the KDP Select All-Stars which awards the author with a bonus at the end of the month if they are featured as “the most read titles” or “most read authors”. Although extremely difficult to get featured as an All-Star the potential is there!
Readers that chose to sign up for Kindle Unlimited are more likely to take a chance on a new to them author because they aren’t losing anything by doing so. If you are a new author or an author that has a small following it is certainly something to consider as this is a low risk for the reader. If they pick up a book from KU and don’t like it they just return it. However, if they pick up a book and fall in love with that author the likelihood is they will research what other books that author has, if they're all featured in KU, think of the potential page reads from that one reader who took a chance on your novel because it was featured in KU.
One of the main benefits of using Kindle Unlimited is clearly the potential reach as an author. Amazon advertises kindle unlimited books on their mailing list, free publicity is always an advantage, right?
Disadvantages to enrolling in Kindle Unlimited.
First of all the main disadvantage is that Amazon requires you to be Amazon Exclusive whilst you are enrolled in Kindle Unlimted. Once signed up you have to commit to a minimum of 90 days in Kindle Unlimited before you can remove it. This means that you are unable to sell your novel on any other platform apart from Amazon for this period. Amazon will not only sell your book to Kindle Unlimited they will give the reader the option to either read via Kindle Unlimited or purchase the novel. However, you will not be able to sell your novel on any other platform like Barnes and Nobel or iBooks until you remove your book from Kindle unlimited.
Another disadvantage to selling via KU is that the royalties are usually less than those offered when selling your novel. Amazon works out its KU royalties by pages read and usually gives less than if someone were to purchase your novel. The amount for each page read also changes on a month-to-month basis. It works based on how many people are subscribed at that given month; all those funds then go into a “pot” from which the author gets paid per page read. It often works out to less than half a pence per page.
Although the pay-out may not be as high you have to balance this out with the visibility which is increased by using Kindle Unlimited, even more so with the current financial crisis which is gripping the world, people are likely to make cutbacks on solid purchases but keep a lower monthly installment which allows them to borrow any novels as they wish. Kindle Unlimited is more cost-effective for readers.
How Can I increase my downloads in KU?
Create a sense of urgency.
Business 101 for anyone with their own business is to create a sense of urgency. Think of it this way from my perspective as a cover designer, if I inform you that my cover designs will only be on sale for a limited time you are more likely to want to purchase them before that price increases, correct? The same is effective when placing your books in KU, obviously, you are fixed into KU for 90 days, but if you were to place say 10 of your books in KU for only 90 days it creates a real sense of urgency that they need to read them within that 10 days before they are removed again.
Remember most people who read via KU don’t purchase many novels, they are “hiring” your book. Look at it like a library, if you couldn’t afford to purchase a book you could go and “rent” it from your local library they wouldn’t go and buy it and rent. Therefore your potential reader is not one that would generally go on to purchase a book, so if you are featured in KU you are marketing to a different selection of readers than you wouldn’t if your book was not in KU.
The same can be said when you first release a novel if you place it in KU for the first 90 days and market it as such these readers are going to want to read it before it's removed from Kindle Unlimited. This then assists with you reaching that Amazon Bestseller status because like we said earlier in the blog post these still count towards your rankings.
The authors that tend to be really successful in Amazon Kindle Unlimited are those that write consistently, releasing a number of novels throughout the year. If you only release one book each year you are going to find it much more difficult to build up momentum.
Most readers who read and enjoy one book by a certain author are likely to look for more books by that author to devour, however, if you only release one each year your readers are much more likely to move on to another author that is writing consistently.
Do you want to write consistently but are not quite sure where to start? Check out our blog post on "How to Create A Writing Routine". This will certainly help you be more productive and get those creative vibes flowing.
That's right, the dreaded marketing word! You could just pop your book into KU in the hopes that it gains momentum. The chances of this are very slim, once your books are in KU promote that to all of your readers, readers won't know it's featured in KU unless you spread the word.
Advertise it on your social media, your newsletter, run specialist advertising, or run a BookBub.
If you want to learn more about ways to enhance your marketing take a look at our blog post “Top Ten Marketing Tips for New Authors”. Your newsletter is vital for spreading the word about any releases not just your Kindle Unlimited Books so be sure to work on building your mailing list. If you aren’t sure where to start, take a look at our blog post on “Top Tips For Building An Author Mailing List”.
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