In a move that will surely be scrutinized by music streaming services, Amazon has come up with a new compensation model for self-published authors. Now they will be compensated for the number of pages read.
“Amazon is to begin paying royalties to writers based on the number of pages read by Kindle users, rather than the number of books downloaded. If a reader abandons the book a quarter of the way in, the author will get only a quarter of the money they would have earned if the reader stuck it out to the end…….
The new system, which begins on July 1, initially applies to those authors who self-publish their book via the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program, which makes books available to “borrow” from the Kindle library and to Amazon Prime customers.”
The concept is so far away from how a book store owner, editor or book publisher would think about “monetizing” a book it is mind boggling. As an editor or publisher what do you tell the author? Keep it short. Do you hire focus groups to see how far they get in a novel before losing interest, then edit accordingly?
Amazon is even implementing a standardized font, spacing and line height template, “Kindle Edition Normalised Page Count”, to insure authors can’t game the system. Will there be a time when every book published follows a specified formatting? What happens to poetry and children’s books is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure Amazon will have an answer for that. If not at launch, soon after.
Is it just possible, that these requirements will have an impact on making creative decisions? Will it change the way an editor looks at a paragraph? Will writers start dropping details from their stories to ensure the reader makes it to the end?
Now the scary part. Apparently, in the same way that search engines track websites you visit and purchases you make, Warby Parker was stalking me online recently, your reading habits from e-books are also recorded and added to your digital profile. They become part of your online profile and can be parsed as many ways as the site owner and Google Ad words wants.
It is one thing to have a record of what somebody reads based on your online ordering of printed books, but an entirely different level of personal intrusion if it’s an e-book.
“The Goldfinch, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Donna Tartt, was one of 2014’s biggest sellers. But data released by Kobo, a rival to the Kindle, claimed that only 44 per cent of readers who downloaded it read to the end.”
Whether it is a book, a song, or a movie, it is one thing to fight over streaming compensation but quite another to impose non-artistic standards on creative works to pay creators less and save money.
I better end here, before you stop reading.