Reactions to Kindle Unlimited from around the Web and a look at subscription services in general

Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited subscription program continues to dominate the debate in the online indie publishing community. I already explained why Pegasus Pulp e-books won’t be available via the program. Now let’s hear what some other authors, indie, trad and hybrid, have to say:

David Gaughran offers a fairly comprehensive overview of Kindle Unlimited on his blog.

Futurebook compares the various e-book subscription services available and points out that we don’t yet know what – if any – impact the subscription services will have.

The Börsenblatt, the newsletter of the German booksellers’ and publishers’ association, is mostly worried, even though Kindle Unlimited isn’t even available in Germany so far.

At Digital Book World, Michael R. Sullivan points out that Kindle Unlimited divides authors into a two-tier system, whereby the exclusivity requirement does not apply to books by trad published authors included in the program as well as some high-profile indie authors. What is more, trad pubbed books receive the regular royalty rate for a borrow via Kindle Unlimited, while indies, both exclusive and not, are paid from the KDP Select pot.

At Terrible Minds, Chuck Wendig shares his thoughts on Kindle Unlimited and also responds to Michael Sullivan.

Hugh Howey offers his thoughts and points out that indie authors have never been treated as equals by Amazon and that a lot of indie authors made a lot of money with the original KDP Select back between November 2011 and March 2012, largely because Amazon artificially pushed KDP Select books which had gotten a lot of free downloads up the charts.

Now I remember those times well, largely because KDP Select and the advantage given to authors who joined the system and used the free promo days killed off my budding sales just as they were beginning to grow. Interestingly, once Amazon stopped rewarding books so much for free downloads (because it was unsustainable and because it had achieved its goal), a lot of people who had relied mainly on Select free downloads started whining that their sales were crashing. Meanwhile, mine were growing slowly but steadily. We’ll probably see a similar effect this time around. A brief goldrush followed by a lot of wailing.

I’m also wondering why so many people (and Hugh Howey isn’t the only person saying this, I’ve heard it from several indie authors) are so eager to declare rival subscription services Scribd and Oyster unsustainable, because their author royalties are allegedly too high. Now I don’t mind if an author wants to go exclusive with Amazon, even though it’s not my path. But why this desire for competitors to fail? Even if you never intend to sell your books outside Amazon, healthy competition is in every indie author’s best interest.

Mark Coker of Smashwords unsurprisingly believes that Kindle Unlimited is bad for indie authors because of the exclusivity requirement. More interesting, especially in the light of the unsustainability claims above, is that Mark Coker reports that Oyster and Scribd are the fastest growing channels at Smashwords.

And though it’s only anecdotal data, I just got my June sales report from Scribd yesterday and noticed that I already had several Scribd sales in June, even though Pegasus Pulp e-books weren’t even available there before June 18.

Finally, Damien Walter wonders what the future and particular the next wave of e-reading technology will bring.

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