Flashback 10 months ago:
“What if it’s a fraction of a penny per page read?”
KU was broken. Many people saw it. Many people capitalized on it. Now, Amazon is fixing KU. That’s what KU 2.0 is all about.
September 5th, 2014 – An interview between authors Hugh Howey and Russel Blake discussing KU. This is a fantastic interview as a whole. But here’s some highlights that pertain to KU.
@1:04:00 – 1:08:00 — Hugh and Russel discuss the implications of KU (which had just started a few months prior).
Hugh Howey: “I would love to see them differentiate between short stories and novels, cause I don’t think they should be giving the same borrow rate for a 5,000 or 10,000 word short story as… <Russell interjects>”
Russell Blake: “Certainly if the pay out is the same for a 110,000 word novel and an 18,000 word serial, gee, which one am I going to invest my time in?”
Hugh Howey: “Yeah. People are going to start chopping up their work, which I think provides a worse customer experience, which is what Amazon focuses on, so… They need to do something there to protect their customer base from being inundated with short disappointing reads.”
“And I think they can do that by paying per page. What if it’s a fraction of a penny per page read? So, if you can hold them, whether its through 10 short stories or 1 novel, if you get paid per page read, now you’re talking something that makes sense.”
KU changing should not be a surprise to anyone. While KU 2.0 is not perfect, it is fixing what was broken to begin with.
FYI — People did start chopping up their work. Or dropping out of KU altogether.
What isn’t mentioned is others started heavily exploiting the fact that the payout of short works through KU was 4:1 over what it was if customers purchased the same short story. A borrow was worth more than the royalty from a sale, and often more than the cover price on these shorter works.
This includes loading the front with excessive front matter to hit the 10% threshold before a single word of story had been read, as well as splitting longer works into short, to dilute the communal pool of funds, shifting the payouts in your favor, simply by taking more slices of the pie.
It was a mathematically flawed system that favored shorter works.
Ain’t DOOMSAYING when it’s pointing out the predictable.