reports today that the Kindle E-Book Lending Library now offers over 75,000 books, boosted by the launch of the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select program for independent publishers. The KDP Select program launched in December, and Kindle customers borrowed 295,000 KDP Select titles that month. The top authors in the program earned thousands of dollars on top of their regular monthly sales.Amazon
Amazon increased its monthly funding for KDP Select from $500,000 to $700,000 this month after the strong showing. KDP authors earned $1.70 per borrow. The top 10 KDP Select authors saw a 30% increase from lending on top of the royalties they earned from sales of the same titles. Amazon's end-run around Big Publishing shows promise for authors.
Amazon says that total sales of titles in the KDP Select lending program grew faster than KDP titles that aren't in the lending program, but they don't say how much. But the $200,000 bonus to the KDP Select fund is a signal of optimism. The fund is divided between the authors each month depending on their percentage of total books borrowed. One author, Carolyn McCray, earned $8,250 from the fund in December.
The Kindle Lending Library itself launched on November 2. It's available to Amazon Prime members. It has tight restrictions - users can only borrow one book per month - so 295,000 titles in one month means 295,000 people.
For authors in the KDP Select lending program, the numbers are great, but Amazon is characteristically cagey about other specifics. It won't share the exact size of the sales bump KDP Select authors got over non-lending KDP authors. It doesn't disclose how many books were lent in the Lending Library program overall.
The biggest bugbear of them all for Amazon reporters is the specific number of Kindles sold. Amazon will report percentage growth in Kindle sales, but they never disclose exactly how many devices are in people's hands. Still, we know this: 295,000 or so people borrowed Kindle books from independent authors last month, and some of those authors made lots of money.
Do you have an e-reader? Which one? Do you read on it often?