Kindle Unlimited and the conundrum of exclusivity

Friends, I know that many of you have found my work over the last half a year through Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s all-you-can-eat reader subscription program. With the exception of a few Agency stories, I’ve thrown almost everything else into KU, because Amazon has historically been the biggest market, where most of my readers are located!

However, I will be pulling out all of my stories from KU at the end of this month. In my latest mailing list post I stated that the newest Agency story, French Kiss, will be available on KU, so I’m leaving it up there until July 31.

The reason? The purpose of subscription programs is to sell you a product and hope you don’t use it. Think of it this way–gyms make the most money off people who sign up for a membership and never actually show up to exercise. It’s like paying for a product and never even picking it up from the store!

Likewise, Amazon hopes that you will buy a KU subscription but only read one book a month (or even better, you don’t read any books that month). This is because every time you read a story, the author gets paid.

The problem? They were underestimating romance and erotica fans. You are (as I am) a voracious reader. I have been known to get through multiple books in a DAY if I liked an author enough. There’s nothing I love better than picking up a series I love and bingeing on it in one day. So while Amazon hopes you are only reading a book or two a month, romance and erotica fans might plow through 30. Under the old system, that added up to $45 worth of cost to Amazon, while you were only paying $10.

Obviously, this is not sustainable for Amazon, or other subscription services like Scribd. Scribd was even more obvious about the problem by simply removing the vast majority of their romance offerings. If you are a big romance reader, subscription services don’t want you to be a member. KU/Scribd sees you as more trouble than you’re worth. 😉

Scribd attacked romance readers, but Amazon is approaching the issue by cutting funding for romance/erotica authors, whose works tend to be shorter than epic fantasy novels, for instance. Simply put, KU no longer makes it worth it for erotic romance and erotica writers to be apart of their program. If I stayed, Amazon would pay me 70% less for each of my stories in KU.

Mr. Salt and I hope to start a family (which, as you probably know, is not a cheap thing to do) and this change in KU makes it impossible for me to stay in the program. For all my KU readers, I am so thankful that all of you have followed my work for so long. On the flip side, I am looking forward to making more of my stories available across a much bigger range of distributors, including iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more. This will give me better opportunities to run sales and promotions, which benefits all readers.

See you on the other side!