ANOTHER BEZOSTEROID! One more reason to GTFO Kindle Unlimited…

YET ANOTHER reason to GET OUT NOW if you’re in Kindle Unlimited…this morning’s mail from 1 Sith Plaza…

The KDP Select global fund will be at least $12M in November. Through November, we will have paid out more than $120 million to KDP Select authors over the last 12 months for their Kindle Unlimited (KU) participation.

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.

You will be able to see the amount you have earned in each country in your royalty report. Our long-term goal, as always, is BLAH BLAH BLAH CORPORATE BULLSHIT…

…in other words, just as we had to do in July, anyone in KU will be flying blind all month in November, with not even a clue as to how much they might make in the program. Maybe your pages turned in India are suddenly worth .0000001 instead of .005. Maybe not! At least the past few months, we could guess at around a ha’penny a page and be mostly right. And now…? Back behind the Mystery Curtain we go… Could you end up doing better? Probably not! But there’s no way to tell, until you get your royalty statement on 12/15 for November.

Is anyone else…incredulous? That Amazon has completely upended their payment system in KU not only twice in four months, but only gave one day’s notice this time? At least we got two weeks’ notice in June, and a chance to bail out of the program before existing 90 day terms expired…

All my novels are out of this preposterous system, save Werewolves, which exits 11/2. Amazon is the worst business partner ever – really, they change the rules of the game more often than Darth Vader alters the deal with Lando. I don’t think I have much choice with A Great Prince; all the bestsellers in this category/type are KU, but it’s the exception. I’ll never ever put another book into KU that I don’t absolutely have to.

This has become someone’s Harvard Business Review case study in how NOT to work with your vendors/partners. You can’t do business with someone who changes the rules of the game every couple of months, and doesn’t let you know what the new rules are until fifteen days after the month in which they started applying.

Who’s running the circus up there, anyway?

EDIT: On further reflection, here’s how Amazon could have done this RIGHT.

  1. Give us more than one days’ notice. At least 30 days.
  2. Give another ‘early opt out’ option – let books out of their 90 day commitment at any time during the changeover.
  3. Use your hugely vastly enormous amounts of data to give us projections – we all know you have the data. You could easily tell us, “hey, in this new system, based on current reading patterns, we’re pretty sure you’ll get .0065 a page for US and .003 a page for FR etc.” And then people could budget and plan accordingly, instead of suddenly wondering, “Holy crap, kids, I have no idea if there’s gonna be a Christmas around here or not.”
  4. Cut the wait time on data from the 15th to, IDK, the 5th. It’s not like you don’t have the computing power to figure it out earlier in the month.
  5. The next time you really screw with the compensation scheme, drop the waiting period for $ from 60 days to 30, sweetening the pot with a nice double-up one month. So that for instance, on 11/30, I get paid for September AND October, which helps me hedge against whatever clusterfuckery awaits in November.
  6. Start paying a day earlier…Amazon US $ are late this month; we’re not getting paid till November 2 because of an “accounts payable error,” which for some people is going to mean an uncomfortable landlord conversation. Really? An AP error at the largest store on Earth? Pay a day earlier and you have time to fix stuff like that before it really impacts people’s lives that day.

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