I've been thinking about Kindle Unlimited, for authors and for readers.
The future of books is one of increasing quality, and lower prices for digital copies.
There is incredible opportunity for authors who are willing to craft each (or some) of their work as a project. This doesn't just mean writing a great book. It means non-fiction authors will position their books to offer speaking and consulting. It means fiction writers will think about how a story works as a: screenplay, TV series, movie, triology, or could be expanded into the world of fan fiction.
Kindle Unlimited (KU) might be a perfect vehicle for all of those pursuits. As a reader, in my first month of KU, I found myself exploring and reading in a variety of genres. I browsed more books, and read many different authors. I would never have tried out all these different books for $12.99 a piece.
On the author side, many are worried that KU's exclusivity will be bad for their books. I think KU offers authors an incredibly interesting exposure to upside. More readers reading more books more quickly is nothing but opportunity for authors who favor distribution over higher up-front ebook prices.
In this audio (video included for those on wi-fi), I talk briefly about KU for readers and authors:
A few more thoughts:
I'm getting ready to publish several pieces of works at once. I'll be going exclusively with Amazon/KU. I'm betting that as a platform, Amazon posses a power law with KU distribution.
A power law regarding distribution just means that one channel will make up a huge majority of all sales.
The only counterpoint to exclusivity that holds any weight is the iBooks argument. The new iOS has iBooks pre-installed on the home screen of over (almost) a billion Apple devices. This is the only variable that could cause me to decline Amazon's KU exclusivity offer. But people think about Apple as iPhone and music, not necessarily books. I'll wait for a few months of sales data from iBooks before I consider leaving exclusivity from Amazon.
I currently can't see a better opportunity than KU for a new author like myself to hit a baseline of sales. Plus, I believe Amazon understands what is most valuable to consumers, and that's showing them the right book, at the right time. As prices of digital books either drop or remain stagnate, it's important to put your books on the platform that best knows their customers.
The future could even see ebook prices go to $0, in which case consumers might pay for discovery. If this is the case, Amazon and KU will be able to capitalize on this.
The bottom line? "Exclusivity" isn't really a big deal. It's a small, cheap, 90 day test. It's not an old school publishing contract, and you control it from a dashboard! But ultimately, it's a personal decision based on whatever variables and constraints you're facing.
So, I'm willing to spend my first few months, (and hopefully much longer) with my works exclusive to Kindle Unlimited. And I'll also be reading more, thanks to Kindle Unlimited!