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Pricing your eBook on Amazon

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While researching the top sellers of Christian Romance on Amazon I noticed a couple things.

  • 19 of the the top 20 best sellers were using KindleUnlimited (a service where Amazon customers can pay $9.95 a month and rent an unlimited amount of books in the program - only 10 at a time). This really surprised me.
  • 10 of the top 20 best sellers were priced at $.99


Here's an article on eBook pricing: https://services4authors.com/2020/05/01/what-is-the-best-price-for-an-ebook/


Just wondering what experiences everyone has had with KindleUnlimited and different eBook prices?

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I'd be leery drawing any conclusions from KindleUnlimited (KU) data. There have been so many ways to game that system that the data can often be misleading.


Overall, KU pays based on page reads. KU subscribers are monitored, so Amazon knows how many pages of a downloaded KU book has been viewed.  I use the term viewed, instead of read intentionally, because Amazon makes the assumption that a customer is actually reading. Keep this in mind for these examples:


1.  Nefarious publishers have engaged in "book stuffing." This means that they offer a book on KU, but in the middle of their book (or after a chapter), they abruptly stuff 100 pages of another book (or gibberish), with a hyperlink that gives the reader an option to jump ahead to the point where the book continues. This causes Amazon to register an extra 100 pages of viewed material, and pays the publisher/author accordingly.


There's a variation of this call "Bonus Material." This variant advertises a bonus book, which is strategically placed at the beginning, again with a hyperlink to skip past it to the main book. Presto, 150 extra pages viewed!


2. Unscrupulous KU publishers/authors will engage "marketing services" (click farms). These companies have numerous KU accounts, and for fee will download and click through a book to rack up bogus page reads. This not only results in fraudulent page-read payouts, but it artificially inflates the book ranking so that it receives better visibility (and more KU downloads).  


3, Not all KU books are finished. On many occasions, a reader will only get a chapter or two into the book before deciding that it's not something they want to finish.  But the publisher/author will still get paid for the pages that were viewed. Nothing wrong with this, but it often inflates the popularity of a book. It will rank high because many KU subscribers downloaded and started to read it, but stopped because they didn't like it.


I'm not sure how bad these things are these days, as Amazon is in a perpetual cat-and-mouse game to head off abuse. I do know it was very bad for a while, and KU was getting constantly criticized. 







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