Today Amazon revealed their first statistics for the “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library”. There’s over 75,000 ebooks that can now be borrowed for free for one month by the members of Amazon’s “Prime” shipping service, who are paying an annual fee of $79. That service also offers free two-day shipping (and cheaper one-day shipping), plus free access to a selection of online movies and TV shows. But the people who may be benefiting the most are some of Amazon’s self-published authors!
The program’s “off to a strong start,” Amazon reported today, noting that in just the month of December, nearly 300,000 Kindle owners borrowed an ebook. In fact, each ebook in the library was borrowed by four Kindle owners in December, on average — though of course some ebooks were more popular than others. And Amazon had set aside a $500,000 fund for December to be shared among “KDP Select” authors (who publish their ebooks using Amazon’s tools and agree to let Amazon hold exclusive digital distribution rights). Today Amazon announced they’re bumping up last month’s fund by 40% — to $700,000 — which means “KDP Select” authors will earn $1.70 for each time one of their own ebooks was borrowed!
Self-published authors seem to have discovered a new way to measure their success. The 10 most-popular authors in the KDP Select program saw their Kindle ebooks being borrowed an average of 4,117 times, if I’m reading Amazon’s statistics correctly. They’d reported that those authors earned $70,000 from the lending library — which has to be a cumulative total, meaning on average an extra $7,000 per author. And since Amazon’s reported they’re paying $1.70 for each “borrow,” the total number of borrows is $7,000/$1.70 — which comes out to 4,117 times. “The list of top 10 KDP Select authors includes Carolyn McCray, Rachel Yu, the Grabarchuk family and Amber Scott,” Amazon announced today.
That’s especially exciting for one author — Rachel Yu — who is just 16 years old! She’s self-published five children’s books in the Kindle Store, including “A Wolf Pup’s Tale,” which she wrote when she was 15. “All proceeds will go to Rachel’s college education fund,” reads a note on the book’s page at Amazon.com. She published her first ebook just 16 months ago — “A Dragon Named Dragon” — at the age of 14, and now she’s one of the 10 best-selling authors in Amazon’s KDP Select program. “It’s so cool to be part of the success of KDP Select…,” she says in today’s press release from Amazon. “There’s truly no other opportunity like Amazon for self-publishing.”
Rachel earned $6,200 just in the month of December, according to Amazon’s announcement, and another self-published author earned even more. “Participating in KDP Select has quadrupled my royalties,” reported Carolyn McCray, who writes paranormal romance novels as well as mysteries and historical thrillers. Amazon reported today that just in December, Carolyn McCray earned $8,250.
In fact on average, all “KDP Select” authors are earning an extra 26%, according to Amazon. “KDP Select appears to be earning authors more money in two ways…,” announced Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle Content. Besides their revenue from the lending program, “we’ve been surprised by how much paid sales of those same titles increased, even relative to the rest of KDP.” Obviously Amazon is touting the experience of their most-successful self-published authors. But it’s inspiring to hear about their success. It makes you wonder if the world of publishing really has been transformed forever.
“During many decades our family is working in the Puzzle World,” reads one humble “author profile” at Amazon.com for the Grabarchuk family. Besides creating and marketing puzzles, they “produce interactive puzzles; solve hundreds puzzles a year; make puzzle researches and historical studies; and are involved into many other puzzle activities all over the World.” The Grabarchuk family also became one of the 10 top-selling authors in Amazon’s KDP Select program for December. In just 31 days, they earned $6,300. “Finally indie publishers are playing as equals with the big publishing houses in the world’s biggest eBook marketplace,” co-founder Serhiy Grabarchuk said enthusiastically in today’s press release from Amazon.
And Amazon provided one more example — romance writer Amber Scott. With seven Kindle ebooks, she’s reporting that the KDK select program “utterly transformed my career,” and her earnings for December were $7,650. She’s apparently attributing some of her success to the Kindle Lending Library, saying “I’ve experienced not only a surge in royalties but a surge in readership thanks to the increased exposure.” And she ended her comment with an exciting prediction for 2012.
“What an exciting time to be an author!”