Amazon is at it again, changing the literary/publishing market with another “innovative” idea. Beginning July 1st, Amazon will pay Kindle Unlimited lending library royalties based on qualified borrows to a per page read system.
The way it will work is: “The author of a 100 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).” A recent article in THE GUARDIAN by Samantha Shannon gave some further insight into this change over.
On the surface, the biggest problem with this change over is that longer books will have more value. The reality is that a longer book does not always mean higher quality or enjoyment. Therefore, some authors may feel it is in their best interest financially to have “fuller” books for pure profit reasons, not to enhance the story.
Shannon further revealed the real problem with this change over, that this may just be a precursor to things to come. If this trial program is successful, Amazon may have a pay per page option for all purchased books, which would drastically devalue the creative process. Shannon pointed out all the ingredients that go into publishing a book. Each layer (editor, publicist, agent, graphic designer, etc.) all contribute to the book’s success and they get paid in full for their contribution- whether they hate or love the book, whether readers hate or love the book. What about the author? The one person, who without them, the book would have never come into existence? Why are they the only one losing money that is rightfully theirs? Shannon also explains that unless there is an objective problem with the book, you should not be able to only pay for a portion of it. Take a bite of a perfectly good piece of cake at your local coffee shop and perhaps you then decide you aren’t in the mood for the cake anymore, or you are fuller than you had originally thought, do you only get to pay for that one bite? I don’t think so.
I understand why Amazon creates the programs that they do. They are in the business to make money and stay profitable. Publishing is a quickly changing industry and you need to way finds to stay on top of it, or your customers will take their money elsewhere- I get that. Without Amazon’s self-publishing programs, many authors would still be struggling to share their work with the world. Amazon creates a lot of opportunity, but we must be weary. There is no reason that authors should not get what they deserve for the work they successfully completed. Amazon is not your local library and should stop acting like one. Amazon should start catering to their clients needs and let their clients cater to their consumer’s needs. Without happy clients, there will be no consumers. Write On.