The Kindle Unlimited program is a boon for those who read a lot of books fast. You pay your $10/month and you can “borrow” as many books as you choose, and keep them forever. The old, and still in effect, KDP is for Prime Members. They pay a yearly fee of something like $70 and can borrow one book a month and can only keep it for 30 days.
KDP was acceptable to authors. At that time a writer was given full credit if a borrower read at least 10% of his/her book and the author received a portion of the regular retail price of the book. Kindle Unlimited is killing authors’ ambition and many, including myself, are seriously considering withdrawing from it.
And here is why. There is no reason for a prospective buyer to purchase a $4.99 or higher book, when they can get it free and keep it as long as their device has room to store it. And Amazon now “counts the pages” people read in those books and only rewards the author with an as yet undetermined amount of money but it is somewhere in the vicinity of $00.00009 cents a page, hardly worth the effort to keep track of it. My books sell regularly, but my income has halved, and for every book sold, there are 10 KU borrowers. Amazon also doesn’t count those “pages read” in raising your ratings.
Here’s the hard part. There are tons of trash and dross on Amazon. And the good books are buried in the same pile. I think every serious author, and I am one, wants to make his or her work available at the lowest possible price to readers. But an author should receive some monetary reward for a year of work. The only way to do that with Kindle Unlimited now, is to raise the price of books. If Amazon, who makes a ton of money off KU, is not making it worthwhile for me to sell my books at a low price, then I must raise the price of my novels. Sure, fewer books may be sold at the higher price, but the number of KU borrows should increase, so that whatever Amazon pays for “pages read” will even the playing field. Authors are not greedy, we just want a fair return for our work. And if you don’t think writing a good 300 page novel is not HARD work, give it a try. I know you don’t care about this, you just want something good to read. But just be aware, if you are a reader, that the price of books must rise to offset the loss in “KU borrows.” You have a choice. Join KU and get all the books you want and make Amazon richer. Or be prepared for the price of books to rise in order for a writer to make it worthwhile to keep writing.