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Old 12-09-2011, 12:33 AM   #1
J. Strnad
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Amazon offers indie authors reward for going exclusive

Amazon has just opened up its Amazon Prime Lending Program to indie authors...providing they go exclusive with Amazon for at least 90 days.

Amazon Prime members will be able to "borrow" the book for an unlimited amount of time, but only one book at a time.

In return, the authors split a pool of money ($500,000 in December 2012) for every qualified "borrow" of their book.

Opinions, from both the reader and author viewpoints?
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:16 AM   #2
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I spent some time today pondering this offer. It makes me uneasy. The exclusivity thing rubs me the wrong way, and I would never do it with a book that was selling meaningfully in other stores. Not sure if I'd do it at all, just on the principle of the thing. Though I did consider maybe enrolling a book that was selling poorly, just to see if it would help. But there's that alarm bell, very quiet in the back of my head, warning me of...what? If Amazon gets an even larger share of the market than they have now, how long before they start carving back the royalty? Or offering the best royalties only to those authors who sign up for their exclusive programs?

I like competition among the booksellers. I'm not sure I want to undermine that, even if it might mean some extra money in the short term. (Probably not that much extra money; let's be honest.)

Writer Beware offered some cautions about it: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/.

I'll be interested to see how other writers react to it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:32 AM   #3
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I think there are plenty of gotchas which authors need to carefully consider. The $$$ and numbers Amazon are chucking out there seem good but who knows exactly how likely it is that you'll reach their illustration. Not very - my suspicion is.

Even if you achieve the 1,500 borrowed in their example I suspect the pool will be much larger as I don't think anyone but Amazon know how many Prime subscribers they have who are downloading books from their lending library. It might be more attractive if you were offered a consistent 10c for each lent copy rather than entering into a lottery.

Lastly, I can't help feeling that Amazon is using this as leverage over mainstream publishers to join the programme. Which may or may not be a good thing.

For my own particular case, it looks good as my book is mostly of interest to Kindle readers.

Edit: Mark Coker of Smashwords has posted an insightful piece:
http://blog.smashwords.com/2011/12/a...-with-kdp.html

Last edited by greencat; 12-09-2011 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:03 AM   #4
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I was more interested in the abililty to list a title on Amazon for free for 5 days every 3 months. That's something that has been missing for a long time, but is that really going to be worth giving up Smashwords and everywhere else for?
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:11 AM   #5
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I'd rather not have my choices limited to just Amazon for selling my work.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Strnad View Post
Amazon has just opened up its Amazon Prime Lending Program to indie authors...providing they go exclusive with Amazon for at least 90 days.

Amazon Prime members will be able to "borrow" the book for an unlimited amount of time, but only one book at a time.

In return, the authors split a pool of money ($500,000 in December 2012) for every qualified "borrow" of their book.

Opinions, from both the reader and author viewpoints?
If I wanted your book and it was only available via Amazon, I would tell everyone everywhere I could not to have anything to do with your books. Going exclusive with Amazon means you don't care about the non-Amazon customers who may want to read your work. And if you don't care about me, I won't care about you and I'll do everything I can to let others know not to care about you/
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:27 AM   #7
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Well, the authors who opted in to the KDP select program have all gone free for this weekend (there's an extra 900 or so newly free Kindle books today because of them). Would be interesting to see their feedback after this experiment.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:46 AM   #8
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Well, the authors who opted in to the KDP select program have all gone free for this weekend (there's an extra 900 or so newly free Kindle books today because of them). Would be interesting to see their feedback after this experiment.
Not all of them. Some, like myself, are no doubt waiting for the excitement to settle down a bit before considering it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
If I wanted your book and it was only available via Amazon, I would tell everyone everywhere I could not to have anything to do with your books. Going exclusive with Amazon means you don't care about the non-Amazon customers who may want to read your work. And if you don't care about me, I won't care about you and I'll do everything I can to let others know not to care about you/
So how do you feel about exclusives at B&N, Apple, and Sony?
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:38 PM   #10
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I, and my extended family, are all probably more the demographics for this than the typical MobileRead forum member is. We have lots of books, but tend to buy in series and it takes a pretty big effort to get us into one.

The Amazon library has introduced me to two authors thus far, one of whom I would have never tried because of the price-barrier but will now purchase the rest of.

I don't view this as very different from the free book on the first of the series pricing Amazon does for much of Kindle.

On the other hand, if the price of the ebooks comes to a rational level - meaning, when a paperback costs $7, why should the ebook cost $7 or even $9; $3 would be more appropriate - I'd be more likely to buy on impulse anyhow.
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:56 PM   #11
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So how do you feel about exclusives at B&N, Apple, and Sony?
Exclusivities are bad. I would be able not to but a book, even if in the right format for me, if I learn about the exclusivity.
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:01 PM   #12
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I wonder if the author should raise the list price before joining KDP Select to make their titles more attractive. Why borrow a 99c title?
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:04 PM   #13
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Exclusivities are bad. I would be able not to but a book, even if in the right format for me, if I learn about the exclusivity.
Interesting. I have no problem with exclusives. The espresso beans I prefer are only sold at one store locally. Due to my preference in features, four of my last five cars have been the same (expensive) brand, and the one exception lasted just a few months before I took a $20K hit to go back. I own a Mac. I use iTunes and have some AAC-DRM'd music. My Sony camera uses a custom USB cable, as does my wife's phone. These things are factors but not blockers to me.

I won't buy a B&N exclusive simply because I don't have a Nook and don't expect to. But if B&N was the only place to get the next Terry Pratchett hardcover (assuming he returns to health and form), I'd have no problem nipping down to the B&N b&m and buying it in person rather than forgoing it for lack of a one-click button for it on my Amazon account.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:00 PM   #14
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I could not see removing one of my books from other retailers, unless there was a situation where it was selling well at Amazon and hardly at all anywhere else. This isn't the case for me. I sell about twice as many books at iBooks as Amazon, though Amazon is increasing.

On the other hand, since I go through Smashwords to all the other outlets, my books are usually available at Amazon almost a month before they appear anywhere else anyway. Would it be that big a deal if I gave them 90 days exclusivity?

I can't really see making a book permanently exclusive, since 99% of an indie author's marketing is exposure. I am intrigued to know however, just how many people will borrow books through the lending program. If the overall number was small, it could be very lucrative. On the other hand, if the program was popular, you might not earn much but you could have a potentially large exposure.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:05 PM   #15
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I'd think the lending program would be a good thing for most indie writers. For most people who aren't in Stephen King's league the real problem isn't sales, it's getting noticed at all. I'd think having a successful book under the lending program would draw readers to your other works.
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