Posted on 2016-Feb-08
Kindle Unlimited is a program created by Amazon in July 2014 to compete in the subscription eBook market. For independent publishers, it required that they enroll their book in KDP Select, which means the eBook can only be published at Amazon. The ethical implications of Amazon being the only channel to sell an eBook have been much discussed. The subscription service appears to be doing well and some authors have had tremendous success under the KU model. Additionally, the main competitor in the subscription eBook model, Oyster, has gone out of business.
In July 2015, Amazon adjusted the royalty payout for eBooks enrolled in Kindle Unlimited from a per-book to a per-page basis. This was a good deal for authors who write longer novels and enroll them in Kindle Unlimited, but a bad deal for authors who pen novellas and short stories. The payout-per-page-read started out slightly above half a cent, but declined as 2015 went on. Below is a snapshot of payout-per-page-read for 2015:
- July 2015: 0.570 cents/page
- Aug 2015: 0.514 cents/page
- Sep 2015: 0.507 cents/page
- Oct 2015: 0.481 cents/page
Amazon doesn’t release an official payout-per-page, but it appears to be hovering around 0.45 cents/page currently. It is disappointing that this number has declined so much.
Please Note: You can view the KENPC for your eBook under KDP Dashboard > Promote and Advertise.
KENPC 2.0 = Lower Page Counts
As you know, “page count” in an eBook is arbitrary in a reflowable eBook, and can change based on the reader’s preferences (font face, font size, device size, etc.) In July 2015 when Amazon went to a per-page royalty payout, Amazon used an algorithm called KENPC (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) to tabulate the page count. The KENPC page count should not be confused with the print page count of a book, which can vary depending on a number of factors. Amazon claimed that the page count was independent of any formatting characteristics, but making the font and line spacing bigger actually did increase the KENPC due to a flaw in the algorithm. The KENPC, under the original algorithm in July 2015 was approximately 170–180 words/page.
In early February 2016, Amazon updated the algorithm to KENPC 2.0. Based on this algorithm, authors are reporting their KENPC dropping, no matter what formatting techniques are used in the eBook. Based on some testing, we estimate the new KENPC tabulates ~190–200 words/page. Additionally, the KENPC is capped at 3,000 pages, so large multi-author box sets may not be the big revenue generators they once were. Based on the fact that Amazon is tabulating lower page counts, offers a lower payout on pages read, and is clipping back matter with the “Before You Go” page, it is advised that independent authors and small presses seriously consider whether Kindle Unlimited is a good deal for them.
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