Amazon has just launched a new program that they call Kindle Unlimited.
The short form is that subscribers pay $9.99 a month and are able to borrow any of the books (e-book and audiobook) that are in the Kindle Unlimited library.
Because the program involves readers getting books for a subscription price rather than full price, and because it is a program from Amazon, there is the predictable outcry from indie authors that this is it, Amazon is going to eat us all and spit out our bones. People out there will be reading our books for free! The sky is falling!
Now, as it happens, my books are on KDP, which means that they are automatically included in the Kindle Unlimited library. (I just checked, and yes, the little KU icon is next to the book description on both Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts.)
If they weren’t automatically included, I would opt into the program. Heck, I would pay them to be included.
Why? Because people who will pay $9.99 a month for a book subscription service are people who read a lot. People who read a lot tend to be people who talk about books a lot–in person and on-line.
Word of mouth advertising is what sells indie books. Amazon has just launched a program designed specifically to make checking out unknown authors less risky for the kind of people most likely to spread the word about a new writer.
Will big name authors also be included in the program? Sure, they have to have some guaranteed draws to make the program work. But those guys don’t need the readers. I do.
Will I make money when my books get borrowed through the KU program? Some, I’m not sure of the details. It won’t be as much as a full sale, I’m sure.
That’s okay. Because it’s like getting a free pass to send a copy of my book to a million book bloggers and reviewers, and Amazon is doing the legwork for me.