This is a screenshot taken on January 22, 2015 of my Amazon dashboard showing sales for Unexpected Consequences, a 3-year-old book for sale on Amazon. The shape reminded me of a Chinese dragon, but beyond that, it illustrates some interesting tidbits about book sales, and the effects of Kindle Unlimited borrows on sales and rankings.
First, I should point out that the red line shows book sales. The blue line shows Kindle Unlimited borrows.
Second, I should note some history and figures: When rights to Unexpected Consequences reverted to me in September 2014, I self-published it and re-released it in the Kindle Unlimited program, which allows readers to borrow a book for free. If readers read 10 percent of a borrowed book, its author is compensated from a pool of money provided by Amazon. Since I’ve been in the program, per qualifying book borrow, I’ve received $1.51
(Sept), $1.34 (Oct.), $1.39 (Nov), $1.42 (Dec). If I sell a copy of UC, my royalty is $2.79 minus a delivery fee of a few cents.
When its 90-day KU commitment on Unexpected Consequences expired on December 23, 2014, I did not renew it because I wanted to test a theory that by making a book available for borrow, readers were less apt to buy it. That is: sales would be greater if it wasn’t in the borrow program (And remember, I receive much higher compensation per book if it sells, than if it’s downloaded as a borrow).
So what does the dragon show?
- On the farthest point left (Dec 23-25) , the absence of a blue line shows where the UC was removed from the KU program.
- The blue line picks up again on Dec. 26, and from Dec. 27-Jan. 7 shows borrows at a rate of 1-2 per day. How can there be borrows when it’s not in the program? Well, remember the 10%? The blue blips demonstrate that I receive credit for a borrow not when a book is downloaded but when it’s been read. These are previous borrows that readers finally got around to reading. This explains why I always see a spike in borrows (but not sales) when I look at my dashboard very early in the morning–readers were reading the night before!
- I suspect–this is a new hypothesis requiring further observation & number crunching–that while borrows are not credited as “units sold” until they’re read, they affect sales rankings immediately. I have seen my rankings shift in the positive when there has been no spike on my dashboard, and have seen no positive ranking shift (or a downshift) when I’ve gotten a surge in borrows credited.
- In the middle of the dragon’s body, from Jan. 7 to Jan. 16, there are no borrows credited and the blue line is gone. Everyone who previously downloaded the book has read it. What you can’t see here is that my sales rankings (and thus visibility) had plummeted. UC was ranking in 90,000s during this period, after being in the 20,000s. On January 16, I put Unexpected Consequences back in the KU program and you can see the blue line spike in the dragon’s head, far right.
- On Jan. 19, at the height of the spike, there were 10 borrows and 5 sales–so 15 total units of Unexpected Consequences downloaded. Sales ranking on the morning of Jan. 19 shot to 11,755.
Since it’s been back in KU, my rankings have bounced around in the 10,000s and 20,000s.
I crunched the numbers for a 10 day period before it was removed from KU and after it was removed from the program when there was no more KU revenue coming in:
- In KU, UC averaged 3.3 sales per day and 8.3 borrows ($20.98 average total revenue – Dec. )
- Not on KU, UC averaged 4.7 sales per day and no borrows ($13.11 average total revenue per day)
I’d heard stories from “big name” authors who reported a big loss in income when their fan base started borrowing their books instead of buying them.So why did I do better in the KU program than out of it? Because I’m not a big name author whose massive buying fan base has shifted to borrowing. Instead, I’m attracting new readers who are more willing to try an author new to them if the book is free.
My conclusion is that at least at this point in my writing career, Kindle Unlimited is beneficial to me. However, I will keep my eye on the numbers.
Newlywed Melania Traynor loves life, shoes, and most of all, her husband Jared – a tall, handsome, protective man with a commanding side. He’s a member of the secret Rod and Cane Society, an organization of men who maintain discipline in the home with a loving heart and an open hand. When he tells her he believes in domestic discipline and will spank her if she misbehaves, she enters into their marriage with eyes wide shut confident she’ll never be on the receiving end. But when she disobeys Jared, she discovers that discipline isn’t all talk.
Widow Liz Davenport assumes when she begins to date, her new man will be like her late husband–a member of the Rod and Cane Society and an experienced disciplinarian who can provide her with loving guidance she requires to feel grounded and secure. So why is she attracted to Grant Davis, an ex-Naval JAG officer who works for her nemesis and has never spanked a woman in his life?
Events in his recent past have forced Grant to take stock of his life and try some new things. But spank a woman? He’s never considered that before, but with Liz’s coaching he’s willing to try.
But when the past collides with the present, will he be able to step up and become the disciplinarian Liz needs?