Kindle Unlimited

Over the past few months, there has been lots of talk about Kindle Unlimited. For those of you who don’t know what KU (Kindle Unlimited) is, think of it as Netflix for books. For $9.95 a month, you can borrow as many books as you can read. As soon as you’re done with a book, you can return it and get another, keeping as many as ten titles at a time to read to your heart’s content.

There also seems to be a lot of misinformation out there on just how it works. Today, I’ll answer some of the main questions and concerns that I hear from readers regarding KU.

But first, let me talk about my own personal experience with Amazon and the other vendors. For more than three years my books were exclusive to Amazon and I was very content and happy with my success there. I had built a great reader base and was able to give up my day job within in a year of publishing my first book. That was until last summer when the bottom seemed to fall out. I didn’t realize it at the time that it was only a temporary set back. Instead, I gave in to a knee jerk reaction and began preparations to make my books available on other platforms. By January of this year, my books were also available at iBooks, B&N, and Kobo.

In all honesty, were it not for Amazon, I would not have been able to give up my day job a few years ago to become a full time author. None of the other vendors treated me with the same amount of respect and level of help that Amazon and it’s KDP people have.

After a seven-month long experiment, I’ve decided to go back to being exclusive to Amazon and making many of my books available through the Kindle Unlimited program. While I had a couple of relatively decent months at the other vendors, the results were erratic and unstable. There was nothing that I could count on and in the case of B&N no one to turn to to ask questions, get support, or strategize with. Simply put, there is no one at B&N to help the indie author. While it was much easier to find an actual human being to help you at iBooks and Kobo, the resulting sales were not anywhere near what I had hoped for. Many indie authors are quite successful on these platforms and to them, I tip my hat. But as in almost all things, results will vary from author to author, person to person. Why one things works for one author and not another, I simply do not know. I can only speak to my own personal experiences.

I know that I will reach more readers at Amazon than I have at the other platforms. That was true in the very beginning of my career and I believe it remains true today. Do I wish I had had the same level of success on the other platforms as I had at Amazon? Yes, yes I do. But I can’t simply keep my books on these other platforms and only gain a few readers a month. And what I want most is readers.

This wasn’t a decision lightly made. Do I worry about all my eggs being in one basket? Nope, not at all, because, as Hugh Howey says, “they’re my eggs.”  I can always take my eggs and put them in other baskets. It’s my decision.

You can read more of Hugh Howey’s perspective on Kindle Unlimited here. I could not agree with him more.

My own personal results with the new KU 2.0 as we call it has been amazing! In July alone I had more than 800,000 pages read. By the 20th of this month I had surpassed even that number and if things continue on the current path we will hit the million pages read mark within the next 48 hours. That is a lot of new readers being introduced to my books and that makes me exceedingly happy.

I want my readers to have the best possible reading experience. I believe they get that with the Kindle. I have a Kindle and an iPad and personally, I find it much easier to find new authors and new books on my Kindle. And with B&N in its current state of not knowing where it is going with ebooks, not being able to service Nook readers, it just makes more sense to me to have a product I know will be around for a long time. Just my two cents.

Now I would like to address some of the common misconceptions about the Kindle Unlimited program.

  1. I’ve had readers express the concern that authors don’t get paid for the books they have in KU. That is false. We do get paid, just a little differently. How much we get paid depends entirely on the length of each book and how many pages are read.
  2. Readers tell me they won’t participate in KU because they want to own the books they read. I think we need to look at KU like we’d look at Netflix or your local library. With either of those places you can rent a movie or borrow a book. You don’t own the movie you rent or the book you borrow. For a nominal fee, you get access to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books and movies. And if you stumble across something you just have to add to your personal library you can simply purchase a copy.
  3. I’ve also had readers tell me that none of the authors they like to read are in KU, so why bother? I look at KU this way: it’s a great way to discover authors you might never have known before. Because I’m an independently published author — meaning I don’t have a major publishing house behind me — you can’t find paperback copies of my books in regular book stores and those major retail online store fronts give more visibility to traditionally published books. Major book stores tend to look down their noses at the indie authors and it is a shame. There are a lot of really great indie authors and KU is just another way to be introduced to them.
  4. Some people think they’re only allowed ten books a month with Kindle Unlimited. Not true. You can have as many as ten titles at a time in your Kindle Unlimited library, but as soon as you’re done with a book, you simply return it and get another. You can read as many Kindle Unlimited books as you want. There is no monthly limit on books read.

Kindle Unlimited can be a great resource for those people who have ‘book budgets’, like I used to have when I got my first Kindle in 2010. Back then, I could read three or four books a week and that could get quite expensive. KU gives those readers the opportunity to read as many books as they wish without worrying about going over their budgets.

It’s also great for those readers who don’t have book budgets. Whether you’re on a book budget or not, KU offers all readers the chance to explore new authors, discover new fictional worlds without having to break the bank.

For those of you who do not have a Kindle, you can get the Kindle app for free on your smartphone or tablet. Moving forward, all of my books will be DRM free, allowing those readers the chance to read on whatever device they choose. You can learn more about the Kindle Unlimited program at Amazon.

I always try to keep the price of my books as low as possible because I do remember the days of book budgets and having to add two cans of water to a can of chicken soup to make it feed all three of my kids. Most of my books can be had for less than the price of a greeting card, cup of coffee, or pound of hamburger.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be giving away more ebooks and audio books, via my FB page, website and here on my blog, along with a few other prizes, so stay tuned.

As always, I thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement. I really do have the best readers anywhere.


Suzan Tisdale

30 thoughts on “Kindle Unlimited

  1. Great post! I am one of those who were not considering KU because of the points you mentioned, plus the enormous TBR mountain I have. Will have to do more research now that I read this. Thank you!

  2. I’m a KU lover! I’ve found tons of new authors using it that I would have never been able to if I had to buy each book. This way I can “taste” a new author to see who I want to start series on or buy more of their books!

  3. I was worried that authors were not getting paid for their work when I read it on KU amdnwas considering getting rid of it. I’m glad to know that is not true and I can keep reading away!

  4. After I retired, all I did was read. Housework had to wait for a lull in the story. I thankfully discovered Kindle Unlimited before I went broke. On an average of 1 book per 2 days, I had quite a bill on my Amex. I had my favorite authors as well; however if they were not on KU, I googled authors names for the genres I loved and started plugging their names into Amazon search. Suzan, I’m glad you mentioned that authors get paid by pages read because I don’t stop reading a book even if it doesn’t grab me right away. Now, I would be more reluctant to do so. I admire and respect all authors, but love my historical romances. Thank you for your work!!

  5. I don’t do it because it’s expensive in UK and my tbr list is long. But if readers and authors find it beneficial that’s marvellous

  6. Thanks for that explanation. I savor my books. I have all yours on my Kindle and paperbacks, too. It has been fun trying other authors thru your posts and your bundled books. So I am very content with where I am and don’t feel I need to explore KU. BN certainly has dropped the ball! Hugs to you Suzan! You are great!

  7. Another thing to consider if you craft, there are a ton of Annie s Craft books on Kindle Unlimited. I usually wiil get a months subscription to find a pattern I need and then read a few books also, I love Hugh Howey’s books and your books and I would have never got to read them without Amazon.

  8. Thank you for such a thoughtful and rational blog about KU. I myself am not in it at present, but for me, I do better when I am in wide distribution. If that should change, I will definitely switch back over 😉 And you are spot on with B and N. They have NEVER been indie friendly and you can never get help from their staff.

  9. I LOVE KU! And I am absolutely delighted you do well with it.

    I read approximately 1 book a day. So I obviously can’t afford to buy them all the time, but I have a couple of questions maybe you can help me with. What I do is read the book on KU and if it is a book that I know I will re-read, I buy it. I have done that with 10 of your books. Do you get paid twice (I hope)? Occasionally, I will re-read a book from KU. Do you get paid twice for that? I really hope so. You are all so deserving to be paid well and I am grateful you share your work with us 🙂

  10. This explains a lot…have not used but may try…always read yours and have most in my library. ..thank you for the information. ..blessings

  11. Thank you Suzan for the up date I to was skeptical about KU, I might have an other look.

  12. i havent tried KU yet but you broke it down for me..thank you.also as a kid i loved judy blume her stories were great as well.

  13. I have not tried KU because I thought that it was too expensive and I really want to keep “my” books. As a child I learned to read at 3 1/2 and my favorite book was THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. I am retired now and my housework NOW waits for me to finish my story, chapter or what other reason that I have to put off house work.

  14. I don’t have a Kindle, I get most of my books from the library. I can still remember the pride I had of having my very own library card. That was about 67 years ago.

  15. I will have to look into KU now after your comments regarding it. I like to keep my books in my Kindle, so that I can go back and read the books again!

  16. Excellent blog! I agree with you on every point. My experience with KU has been wonderful and last month I received over 8,000,000 pages read. My experience with the other vendors was similar to yours when I started as an indie author in 2010. Amazon seemed to be the only one who seemed to realize that indie authors were partners and assets. I have been very impressed with the way they have worked with me throughout the years. Once again, thank you for your excellent blog! Sincerely, Terri Reid

  17. Excellent, helpful blog. I’ve had a book in KU in the past, although I don’t right now (Amazon requires the books be exclusive to them). After selling 100 romances and mysteries to conventional publishers, I’ll be self-publishing a new medical mystery series next year and plan to make it available to KU for the first three months. I just hope readers remember that posting reviews on Amazon and Goodreads really helps authors, regardless of whether they bought the book or read it via KU.

  18. I’m in the UK and I love KU! It’s £7.99 a month, but so worth it, there are many great authors and if you love audio books, some of them have audio available too at no extra cost. My suggestion would be to try it for a month, as you can cancel it at any time, with no fuss.
    Also, you might not be aware, that people with Amazon Prime membership also get access to books (although I don’t know what books they are).

  19. Great post! Thank you for your thoughts. I’m moving all my books to KU and it’s posts like these that reinforce my decision to do such. It was such a hard decision!

  20. I do agree with you that it is good thing to have. i am a little surprised that you are going exclusively with Amazon. I Know that was not an easy decision. I think what you are going is great. I use them for my books. I would love to do the Unlimited but currently do not have the funds to do it every month. Thanks for the chance to win.

  21. I love reading! When I was Little I went from Mrs. Piggle wiggle and Pippi Longstockings and of course I loved Dr. Seuss then as I got older it was Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boy’s and then I loved S.E. Hinton and then I read Gone With the Wind then my aunt s gave me a Rosemary Rogers book Wicked Loving Lies! And omg! I was hooked on the bodice ripper novels of the 70s &80s!! I just love reading !!

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