KDP and the death of free

Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is the platform through which readers can access books without paying per title. The publisher, usually an independent author, is paid a penny or less per page read. Please note, a page to KDP is not necessarily equal to a page in the printed book. Essentially, Amazon is paying by the word for content. Many in the publishing community have been complaining about the underpayment of royalties on this platform–that Mr. Bezos is effectively taking 70% or more of the proceeds from these books and pocketing them. Our friends in the movie and television content business are also complaining about the royalties paid on this platform for their properties. Again, a typical “sale” might result in a $1 when the property would normally sell much higher. At Sunbury Press, we are not participating in this platform and will not do so until Amazon reforms its practices. There are a number of groups going after them.
Which brings me to free. Back in the day when you had to pay for an eBook when one was offered for free or at a much lower cost through one the many promotional services or opportunities, there was a sizable response. At one time, I could count on gaining a couple of thousand readers by giving an eBook away for a day or two. These days you are lucky to get a couple of dozen readers. I believe KDP has diluted the pool so much that free offers no longer work because the books on their platform appear to be virtually free to the reader who subscribes to Amazon Prime.
There have also been a number of scams regarding authors or publishers gaming the system by packing books or falsely increasing readership. Below is a link (again — I also included in last month) to a story about the scam.