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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Amazon to pay authors by the page

Amazon is to begin paying royalties to writers based on the number of pages read by Kindle users, rather than by the book. This means that if the reader abandons the book quarter way through -- and we have all done that, my own benchmark being 40 pages; if I am not hooked by then, I turn to another book -- the author gets just one quarter royalty.

What makes me curious is how Amazon knows that you have dumped the book before getting even halfway.  Is there a secret little chip in the Kindle that sends info back to the robots of  It's like the "ratings" you hear about with TV programs.  How do the TV people know how many are watching?  There are flaws, such as the obvious one where the TV has been left on with no one in the room (I know a family that turn on the TV just to amuse their cats) and then there are all those rows of TVs in electronic stores, flashing all kinds of programs just so that passing customers can admire the definition. And how do know that the Kindle in question hasn't been lost, or broken down, with what had been an enjoyable book left unfinished.

However, Amazon claims that it is fairer for people who write long books, but get the same royalties as those who write short ones.  But isn't there a difference in the price of the books?  Long books tend to be a bit more expensive than your average novella.

"We're making this switch in response to great feedback we received from authors who asked us to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read," the company said.

Well, the word "feedback" equates to the word "poll" which equates to the word "statistics," in my book.  And we all know about lies, damned lies, and statistics.  And does the buyer of the dumped book get three-quarters of the paid money back?

That is the Question.


Dale said...

I don't use a Kindle, but I do record a heck of a lot of films from the Sky channel Rialto, and give them ten minutes of my valuable time before deciding whether to view or delete them.

I'd hate this new book-charging business model to give the masters of pay channel TV any bright ideas!

Shayne Parkinson said...

I think this only applies (so far, at least!) to their Kindle Unlimited subscription service, where they already have a mechanism for determining whether or not the reader got to the 10% point.