Amazon are celebrating a year of their KDP Select program by adding a whopping $1.5M to the global fund for the period December 2012-February 2013. The Bonus amount will be split across the three months, starting with $700,000 added to the December pot, bringing that month alone to $1.4M.
Authors participating in the Select program receive a share of the global fund each time one of their books is borrowed by an Amazon Prime subscriber. The customer borrows the book for free, and the writer gets paid anyway. Prime members from the US, UK, Germany and France are all eligible to borrow books from the Select library.
The actual amount earned per-borrow isn’t be known until the end of each month when the pot is divided up. For example, in October 2012, authors earned $2.36 each time one of their books was borrowed. For many indie authors, this amount is higher than they earn per sale.
The Select program has lost some of its initial shine for many authors. Inclusion in the Prime lending library is only one of the benefits of enrolment. Another is the ability to offer a book for free for up to five days in a ninety day period. When Select launched a year ago, these free days often gave books a huge boost in the sales rank, leading to increased visibility in the store and thus increased sales after the promotion had ended.
With changes to Amazon’s ranking algorithms negating much of the benefit of freebies, and ever more books being made free, many authors have noted that the free-effect has declined significantly in recent months. Anecdotal evidence from speaking to a number of writers suggests that lots are choosing to remove their books from Select when the enrolment period ends, preferring instead to list them in additional sales channels such as Kobo or B&N’s Nook store.
The bonus amount being added to the holiday season lending fund looks like Amazon are trying to reinvigorate the program, and encourage authors to once again list their titles exclusively with them.