This is huge and something I've wanted to see happen for a few months now. As self-published authors, we owe it to ourselves to help Amazon know this is a service they should offer. Granted, I don't know how the royalties will work, but if we at least contact them, as I've already done so, and let them know we would want to be a part of it, it can have a huge impact.
I know some of you might be apprehensive about this type of service. But I'm not. This is the way all entertainment industries are going. Regardless, what do you think about this potential game-changer?
I've assumed it was going to go this way eventually. I guess it depends on how the royalties work out, but I hope it will be a good thing. People with a subscription to a book reading service will tend to read x amount of books per month and will probably try things they wouldn't try otherwise.
I think it's a good idea. If I had a subscription service and had to read X amount of books per week to get value for my money, without making any financial commitment to an individual book, I know I'd try all kinds of different things, just on a whim.
When my husband first told me about this last night I was nervous about how the royalties would work. But the more I think about it the more I think this will actually help self-published authors to generate more traffic. I always check books out from the library before buying them and I think this service is basically the same thing.
It won't work for us. Like Netflix, they negotiate and sign deals with each company to provide content, Either DVD or streaming. Seeing how there are 6 major publishers, they might be able to negotiate something with them but it will be logistically impossible for them to do it with every indie there is.
The current DRM doesn't allow for this either unless Amazon is going to buy copies of your book and "lend them". Now this doesn't mean that they cannot change the terms of using KDP but it would be very hard to take an indie book for $2.99 that sells say 50 copies a month to make it available as part of a netflix type rental. Amazon isn't going to pay you $100 a month when your book gets rented out 3,000 times a month and your sales drops 80%. They might pay you $3 if you're lucky. Rental is where things go to die. They already had their 4 weeks in the theater and 90 days in the store before being sent to pasture.
I don't see how an independent author could ever get paid by this method. Big 6 can because they have a back list of books that don't sell anyway. Why not get a 1/100th a cent for book rentals.
In an age where everything gets digitized, I'm excited to be riding the coat tails of the self-publishing revolution. As such, I feel that Amazon's move into the e-book rental world can only benefit us writers.
We are in agreement - query though - if Amazon can get the "Big Six" to go for it, do you think it will only hasten the exodus of authors from traditional publishers? (I think it will! Which is good news for those who already are exploring the indie route.)
I agree we would need to consider how royalties are paid. We might not get as much per book, but if the distribution is greater that might balance out overall. There might be a way of opting in or out of the system, so you can list e.g. your first novel of a series, hoping that the reader then buys the rest. It has great potential, and I think we should all be prepared to embrace this - depending, of course, on the final deal that is offered.
And, personally, the "this is the direction of things" argument doesn't persuade me - it's hurting creators in other industries, stop the "creep" before it hits ebooks, too. Outsourcing to countries with no minimum wage requirements, safety requirements, etc., also is "the direction of things" -- who signs on for that? In the end, as with outsourcing, it's a few select stockholders getting rich off the labor of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of workers. No thanks.
This is the way it reads to me:
Amazon has the goal of promoting books and ebooks by offering a monthly subscription service like NetFlix. Note that it is approaching the Big 6 publishers first. If the Big 6 have their way, we won't get a piece of that pie and once again get locked out of the whole deal.
NetFlix is beginning to lose suppliers. Starz has threatened to pull its list of movies off the service if NetFlix does not meet its demands. NetFlix will most likely have to increase its monthly rate to keep the movie flow moving. If there is a movie that is in demand and is on Starz's list, and Starz does not get what it wants, it will bail and leave the subscribers in the lurch. Subscribers will look elsewhere for their entertainment. You see where the snowball is going.
If Amazon were to institute this kind of service it means that we won't get any royalties from the service; but only [i]might[/i] receive royalties if a read results in a sale. As statistics from the last month have shown, sales of printed books have fallen while sales of ebooks have gone up, but since ebook sales are really "subscriptions" on Amazon it won't make any difference. The same risk applies in that case.
Amazon, however, needs to get its house in order before it adds yet another complexity to its selling program.
"but since ebook sales are really "subscriptions" on Amazon it won't make any difference. The same risk applies in that case."
I view them more as a category of licenses - unless the Supreme Court totally upsets the apple cart and says that buyers of digital media have the same rights as buyers of print media (at which point I return to putting all my intellectual effort into my day job - but I don't think this is going to happen, I just wish they'd hurry up and get around to saying that digital media buyers/licensees don't have the same rights).
I'm not sure what "risk" you are referencing. Risk for the author? I think the risks are substantially different. If I am getting .002 cent per download (e.g. a spotify.com rate) from Amazon's subscription service, then on a .99 cent title, I have to get over 175 subscription reads to equal one ebook sale. And reads will never turn into sales. The numbers presumably get far, far worse, on 70% royalty sales versus subscription reads.
They institute this on a mandatory basis, I'll pull all my titles. It only enriches Amazon and any entity able to license a massive quantity of titles (e.g. Big Six). It does not enrich - or even offer a iving wage - most authors.
@annvremont I don't think a book subscription will hasten authors to leave a traditional publisher. There are plenty of more compelling reasons for authors to do that. 70% royalty rates and control of your copyright, not waiting 3 years from final edit to release, not having to sell your book in 60 days or it gets dropped and returned, and not having them tell you your book isn't marketable.
There simply isn't any money in a subscription model for books. From what I have read through various articles. The Amazon library will most likely be bundled into Amazon Prime. That service costs $79 a year. This gets Amazon customers free and reduced shipping rates and video streaming. This would add "unlimited book streaming" to this service. I just can't see the math where $6.50 a month Amazon can pay authors like this, let alone pay for the shipping, and video streaming it offers under the same price.
I haven't bought a DVD since I signed up for Netflix. Now I spend $9 a month when I used to spend about $40+ for two or three titles, I don't even go to the movies anymore because in 90 days I'll get it on netflix, why should I spend $8.50 for a ticket? My sister owns a nook and she spends about $100 a month on books. She loves it because they are cheap and easy to buy. Now she can do it for $6.50? I can see the short term goal for this. Increase Amazon Prime subscribers. But I don't see how that translates into a long term goal that benefits us and honestly Amazon. The only people to benefit from this are the publishers that are closing their doors. Let them lay in the rental graveyard with a drip of royalties being paid to the top execs.
It's hard enough to market and promote our work for ourselves. Now I have to compete for my share of a $79 yearly sub fee? If you want to give your stuff away for free, then just do it. Put it on your website, blog, facebook, torrents and wherever else you want. Thinking that Amazon's decision to put your book in an unpaid library for everyone to read is going to help you somehow sell books is delusional. They just became that site that has your book for free that everyone hates. http://www.TheEternalGateway.com