Browsing Tag

kindle unlimited


On Google/YouTube–and Kindle Unlimited

Dara has a post up today with an analysis of Google/YouTube’s new music streaming service–and why its terms are a very, VERY bad idea for independent musicians. Her analysis, in short, is that this is aiming to make it utterly unnecessary for your listeners to come to you for any reason–because YouTube will already have all your stuff, and at a streaming quality that is essentially indistinguishable from CDs.

If you’re at all involved in independent music, you should go read what she’s got to say.

And if you’re an independent author, you should definitely keep an eye on this, too. Nick Mamatas reshared Dara’s link by noting, quote: “Imagine Kindle Unlimited if it weren’t optional and if Amazon were trawling physical libraries and scanning every book or story you’d ever written because you have one item up on Kindle.”

Because yeah. I’ve already seen reports that Kindle Unlimited is gutting ebook sales for participating authors–and may even be impacting sales for authors who aren’t participating. Dear Author noted on this post at The Digital Reader with reports to that effect, and links to further reading on the matter.

All of which, for me, continues to add up to deep reluctance to commit my work to any one channel. At the end of the day, I’m not seeing any evidence that signing up for KDP Select, for example, will do any more for me than distributing myself out to Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, and Google Play too–not to mention selling the print copies of Faerie Blood and Bone Walker.

John Scalzi has said repeatedly on his posts about Amazon and other big-name vendors of books that they are not an author’s friend. They’re there to make money, and if they think you can make them money, sure, they’re going to dangle shiny enticements in front of you to try to get you to commit your work to their exclusive systems. And anything that chokes off the due flow of money to you for your work should be treated with all due caution. I’m not saying indie musicians should never sign up for this new service, or that indie authors should never join Kindle Unlimited–but if you do, do it with your eyes open, and be aware of what it’s likely to do to your ability to sell your work.

In music and in writing, money should flow to the artist.

Read everything very carefully, and find out what will happen to that flow before you commit.


Regarding Kindle Unlimited

Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited service, which is basically their attempt to do Netflix for ebooks as far as I can tell, has been getting a lot of attention in the publishing world. Reactions, from what I’ve seen so far, are quite mixed. (Mr. Scalzi, for example, has an interesting writeup on the topic over here.) So here’s mine.

With my reader hat on, I’m feeling right now like this service won’t be useful to me, since it doesn’t really address how I interact with ebooks. If there’s a book I want to read that I don’t want to put down money for up front, I already have a way to address that: the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library System, both of which are very friendly to ebook checkouts. Granted, this doesn’t always work, since there are some books that these two systems might not actually have and which I could in theory immediately grab via Kindle Unlimited if I were so inclined.

But here’s the thing. If there’s a book I want to read ASAP, chances are very high that it’s by an author who’s already on my buy list. In which case, if I want it, I’ll be buying it. If it’s not an author I know already, chances are equally high that said book is competing with the several hundred other things on my To Read list, and it’ll come off the queue when I get to it. If the library systems don’t have it, I can generally wait till they do.

And if I happen to become unemployed again, the service becomes even more superfluous. $9.99 a month isn’t much if you have a regular, well-paying job. But if you don’t, every new dollar adds up. And this would be one of the first expenses I’d drop if I happened to be a subscriber who suddenly lost her job.

Really, though, when you get right down to it, I’m perfectly happy to use the library for books I’m not sure I want to buy yet. And if it becomes a question of “who gets my money”, I’d just as soon donate to the library rather than blow $9.99 a month for access to books I will most likely not actually read in any given month.

Because I mean, seriously, people, there are currently over 1,200 titles on my Goodreads To Read shelf. Many of which I already own, and most of the rest of which I can grab from the library when necessary. I’m not seeing much need to blow $9.99 a month on top of that to get access to those books via some other mechanism.

Meanwhile, with my author hat on, my reactions are mixed. Whether my titles with Carina show up on this service is beyond my control. If Harlequin elects to deploy Carina titles to the service, it’s certainly possible that I might get a few extra pennies I might not otherwise get, which is fine. (Though at the level at which I currently operate, yeah, a few extra pennies would be what I’d have to expect here.)

And as y’all know, since I’m not publishing Faerie Blood exclusively with Amazon, that title certainly won’t be getting out there. So in regards to my self-published stuff, Kindle Unlimited isn’t a benefit to me at all.

How about y’all? Anybody out there going to sign up for this thing, as a writer OR a reader?