Amazon has definitely changed the publishing game. You can whip out Kindle in a public place and nobody knows if you’re reading the Bible or 50 Shades of Grey. But what about the author, or self-publisher?
Amazon proposes a new method of payment to it’s authors. Instead of paying authors by how many books are sold, there’s talk of paying authors by how many pages are read. They keep track of how many pages are put on the screen long enough to be read. Starting in July 2015, Amazon will start the payroll system based on pages read. This new order is for books published through Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Online Lending Library. Both programs, which run from $9.99 a month to $99 a year, already have a combined 800,000 books in their arsenals. This announcement is catered to self-publishers and distributes through Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon claims to make these changes because paying the same amount for books based on length won’t provide enough alignment between reader and writer. To put it in street terms, Amazon thinks they’re bridging the gap between the short books and big books by paying per page read.
I’m weary of this new program. I don’t that it’s fair that a 20 page novelette written in a matter of days gets the same equal pay than a 300 page novel written in years. And this could open the door for many shortcuts. What if someone wants to make the font bigger? And how much is paid per page read? And I guess the author had better make every page count. I’ve read books where I could skip pages, sometimes even a whole chapter, and still get the best out of the book. I guess authors with Kindle Direct can’t play that game anymore. But that’s my point. Will this new pay-per-page plan improve the quality of self-published books?