Amazon’s plans to change the way self-publishing authors are paid is not going down well with some short-story authors, and now we know why. Instead of paying publishers a standard amount if the book is opened by Kindle Unlimited or Lending Library owners, Amazon will instead pay per page read.
The rate is currently set at $0.006 (£0.0038) per page, a measly amount for authors of books under 500 pages. It means the book needs to be read in full to be worth the same amount as it would be outright and even then some authors are losing out on revenue.
Short-story authors take up a good amount of Amazon’s self-publishing brand, including erotica, children’s books and nonfiction. The only authors set to gain from this are those going over 1,000 pages, and even then they need to keep the reader engrossed all the way through.
Amazon has not commented on the adverse effect it will have on short-story publishers, although plenty of self-published authors claim Amazon is indulging in a quantity over quality battle.
This could lead to authors deciding to merge two books into one, instead of breaking up the content into segments. For epic fantasy writers and authors that enjoy having breaks, it might lead to much larger books. Imagine two of George R.R. Martin’s works condensed into one book, or the Philosopher's Stone straight into a Chamber of Secrets.
The pay per page is similar to the streaming model, allowing Amazon to keep a tighter lid on payments. It is not clear how much Amazon is going to save by changing the payment structure, but it is already losing quite a few publishers from its service.