Will Kindle Unlimited Royalties Reduce To Near Nothing For Authors?

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Amazon Kindle Unlimited royalties to authors will take a whack.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited says that it will charge $3.00 for Amazon Kindle Unlimited membership for Indian customers.

“As we’ve expanded KU to more countries, a number of the program’s elements – such as exchange rates, customer reading behavior, and local subscription pricing – now vary substantially by marketplace, making it clear that a ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t work.

As just one example, we recently launched KU in India with a local subscription price of ₹199 ($3.00) per month.

As a result, starting with the November fund, we will work to take these marketplace differences into account, and payouts per country will differ based on local country factors.”

$3.00 per month for Kindle Unlimited?

That’s less than the average price for one ebook sale!

Okay, so $9.99 was a minimal line in the sand KU subscription price for authors to make a return on Amazon Kindle Unlimited earnings from the KDP Select Global Fund.

But how can authors expect to earn anything more than peanuts with a subscription service fee of $3.00?

At $9.99, authors make around half a cent a page.

But at $3.00, it will have to mean less than 0.002 cents per page. If that is not a page rate close to nothing, I don’t know what is.

Sure, the Indian market is a lot different from the US or UK book market, and India has a LOT of readers. But at $3.00 per month, where is Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription heading?

Will we have a $0.99 monthly membership for Amazon Kindle Unlimited in Zimbabwe because they can’t afford anything more?

Australia is having it tough in the mining industry at the moment, with plenty of people losing their jobs. So why not reduce Amazon Kindle Unlimited membership for them to say $4.99.

I mean, they are becoming unemployed quite quickly, so they will have plenty of time to read.

I’m lucky to live in Switzerland, where the living wage is more than three times that of the US.

So should I pay $29.99 per month for an Amazon Kindle Unlimited membership?

Authors would be happy, though, because they would probably earn one and a half cents per page read from their writing.

But the point is mute because I still can’t subscribe because KU is still not available for me in Switzerland.


What’s fair for authors?

$9.99 per month for Amazon Kindle Unlimited is on the very limit of a subscription model that can reward and pay authors with any degree of fairness.

But at $3.00? Well, do your own math on the pay per page read and what Kindle Unlimited royalties can be paid to authors.

I wrote that The Self-Publishing Train Wreck Is Upon Us.

But really, with this announcement from Amazon Kindle Unlimited, perhaps the train wreck is turning into the great self-publishing author train robbery.

What comes next?

Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriptions based on the Bhutan Gross National Happiness Index?

Then readers could have their Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription for free because they would be exceedingly happy about it.

Give me a break.

More reading: Kindle Unlimited Has A Problem – It Can’t Count Words

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

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10 thoughts on “Will Kindle Unlimited Royalties Reduce To Near Nothing For Authors?

  • Avatar for Declan Rhodes
    August 29, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    The Indian rupee has lost a tremendous amount of value vs. the American dollar in the last decade. If you are pinning what the cost of the KU in India should be to the consistent cost of $9.99 in the US since it began…the cost of KU in India should be dropping. Otherwise, it would be unfair to Indian readers that they would have to pay more in real money value every year.

  • Avatar for Declan Rhodes
    August 27, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    I’m confused about how this is news when Tech Crunch announced back in 2015 the launch of Kindle Unlimited in India at 99 rupees ($1.50) that would soon switch to 199 rupees ($3.00)…does this mean the switch only just happened? If so, Amazon is now charging twice as much as what they’ve charged for the past 5 years. I regularly receive KU page reads payouts from Amazon India every month. Something wasn’t researched fully here.

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      August 28, 2020 at 9:36 am

      I believe that the price changed in 2016 or 2017. But according to this FAQ on Amazon, the price is now Rs 169, which is about $2.30 on current exchange rates.

      • Avatar for Declan Rhodes
        August 29, 2020 at 4:45 pm

        199 rupees in 2017 was…with the exchange rate….about $2.30

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