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Didn’t finish that Kindle book? Author might not get paid

Amazon Kindle

Amazon's new Kindle payment system rewards authors for number of pages read

Amazon is introducing a new system of paying authors, in which they will be compensated based on the number of pages read rather than per book downloaded. The new system will only apply to certain types of books, but could be adopted across the entire Kindle store if it proves successful.

Amazon’s pay-per-page system will apply to books read using the Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). Both of these systems allow readers to make unlimited downloads for a set monthly fee, and Amazon is clearly aware that people are downloading books they never get round to reading.

Amazon creates a funding pool for authors/publishers who participate in those systems, but under the new payment system “the amount an author earns will be determined by their share of total pages read instead of their share of total qualified borrows”.

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Publishers and authors won’t be able to cheat the system by bumping up font sizes to increase page counts, because Amazon will apply a normalised page count system. “To determine a book’s page count in a way that works across genres and devices, we’ve developed the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC),” explains an Amazon page outlining the changes. “We calculate KENPC based on standard settings (e.g. font, line height, line spacing, etc.), and we’ll use KENPC to measure the number of pages customers read in your book, starting with the Start Reading Location (SRL) to the end of your book.”

However, the new system does encourage flabbier edits of books, with more page reads leading to more revenue, provided the edit isn’t so loose that the reader simply gives up. Publishers may also be tempted to stuff books with images, as “non-text elements within books including images, charts and graphs will count toward a book’s KENPC”.

Those who publish short stories or novellas are also set to be punished, although Amazon insists the new system was introduced “in response to great feedback we received from authors who asked us to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read”.

Publishers and authors will only be paid for the first time a customer reads through their book – fanatics who read the same title several times won’t generate any extra income. The new system will come into effect on July 1. 


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