Authors who enrolled their ebooks in Amazon’s KDP Select program earned $1.70 per borrow, much higher than guestimates that had put the likely figure at between 10 and 50 cents. For authors whose books are in the 35% royalty category, this means that borrows were worth significantly more than outright sales.
The figure is likely to change in the new year as more and more authors offer their books in KDP Select, and as more people borrow and take a share of the monthly fund, which was initially $500,000 but for January has been increased to $700,000. Still, even if the return per borrow halves, that would still be a healthy 85 cents each.
KDP Select has proved controversial with authors, some of whom are very much against the exclusivity clause involved. But others view the program as a positive thing, allowing them to make more money. Meanwhile, rival distributors such as Smashwords are expected to make moves to try to combat KDP Select, while Apple is expected to launch its own indie author ebook-publishing platform later in the month.