Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Exclusivity Pays Off For Some Authors

The December numbers are in for Amazon’s rather controversial Kindle Owners‘ Lending Library (KOLL) and for some people they turned out to be quite good.  Right around 295,000 rentals were made of the approximately 70,000 titles available to be checked out in December alone.  Given the $500,000 fund allotted to compensate KDP exclusive authors for these rentals, that means approximately $1.70 per lent copy was handed out.  Things went over so well, in fact, that Amazon is throwing another $200,000 into the pool for January’s authors.  This will bring the total to be divided up to $700,000, though of course it will also quite possibly be divided among even more authors this time around.

Among the more notable success stories, we know that the top ten most popular KOLL authors put together nabbed over $70,000 from these rentals alone.  That is around a 30% increase over other monthly income from the same works.  The top earner was Carolyn McCray, author of a number of paranormal romance and mystery/thriller titles, who is quoted in the Amazon Press Release as saying that “KDP Select truly is a career altering program”.  Romance writer Amber Scott, 16yr old children’s author Rachel Yu, and the puzzle book producing Grabarchuk family made up the rest of the highlighted triumphs, with over $6,000 in KOLL related income apiece.

In these cases, obviously there has been no significant downside to the program.  The fact that participation in it requires exclusively making one’s work available exclusively to Kindle owners may have more of an effect on many others, however.  What the press release numbers do not tell us is the average income that an author managed to pick up this month, aside from the fact that it was a measurable percentage increase over participating authors’ usual monthly income from Kindle Store proceeds.  It would be interesting, if pretty much impossible, to compare how many authors saw a jump in profits compared to the number who actually lost income due to exclusivity.  It seems safe to assume that this was the case for at least some people.

As with anything related to self publishing, however, most of the success will have to come through some form of author driven advertising.  Random hits by interested browsers are nice, but word of mouth is frequently not enough to drive sales on its own even for a skilled and prolific writer.  The lending community opens the door to new readers, but so far is not arranged in such a way as to point readers toward any particular title.

Overall this success is a plus for any fan of the Kindle.  Owning one gains some ongoing perks in the form of book rentals, success stories among authors will surely lead to even more participants, and Amazon has immediately shown themselves likely to increase the compensation pool.  We’ll be watching the program here in months to come as the situation stabilizes.  You can’t really assume that holiday Kindle sales are having anything but a positive effect on everything related to the eReading line, so it might be the end of first quarter before we can say anything definitive about ongoing positive trends.  Still, off to a good note.


Daily Dials: Morgue Drawer Four and Galactic Blast

Morgue Drawer Four

Today Amazon offer to buy Morgue Drawer Four by Jutta Profijt for $0.99.

This entertaining mix of thriller and fantasy, which was shortlisted for Germany’s Friedrich Glauser Prize, works a nice twist on a familiar theme. Car thief Pascha Lerchenberg is handed a couple of really big surprises: first, he’s murdered; then he awakens in the morgue to see his body being autopsied. As if that isn’t enough to drive a recently dead man around the bend, Pascha discovers that he can communicate with the coroner, Martin Gansewein (who is understandably gob-smacked when the dead man on his table begins talking to him). The nimbly translated tale follows Pascha and Martin—a decidedly mismatched pair—as they try to solve Pascha’s murder. Pascha’s first-person narration, including jaunty commentary on his post-death existence and his relationship with Martin, gives the novel an appealing extra dimension. Stories told by dead people tend to be either YA fiction or high-end literary fare—Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones comes to mind—but it’s rare to find a thriller using the technique. Fans of crime novels and out-of-body fantasies should have a very good time with this one. —David Pitt


Galactic Blast

Also Amazon offer to your Kindle Fire Galactic Blast. Today only it is free.

Blaze a trail through the starry night sky in this colorful arcade-style space shooter for Android. Galactic Blast fuses an old-school arcade aesthetic with fresh new multi-touch controls. See how high you can score as you fervently tap the screen to fire on incoming objects while guiding your starship out of harm’s way. Are you ready for an out of this world adventure?

Steer Through a Colorful Galaxy

Galactic Blast has you using sharp touch-screen controls to conquer each level as you fly through outer space. Use one hand to steer your ship and the other to fire at incoming objects like asteroids and bonuses. Make sure you collect the destroyed asteroid’s rubble along the way to add to your score. As you move through the level, discover and collect bonuses that will increase your play time or score and more. Your game ends if you are hit by one of the incoming objects.

Rack Up Points and Unlock Ships

Master each level and gain points along the way. Your endeavors are rewarded with stars based on your score. Earn one, two, or three stars for each level. Galactic Blast features several exciting ship upgrades to unlock by earning the corresponding achievements. Set off on your adventure and challenge yourself to get three stars on all levels and unlock all of the ships!

New Solar Powered Kindle Cover by SolarFocus

On January 14th, SolarFocus releases the first ever solar powered Kindle cover. It is a form fitting cover with a solar panel included for charging.  It also comes with a built in LED reading light that charges from the cover’s reserve battery.

The e-ink Kindles already have an impressive battery life that holds charge for up to two months.  Battery life depends on several factors though.  First off, avid readers will obviously use up battery more quickly than those who don’t read as often.  Kindle games also take up a chunk of battery life, and so does browsing the Kindle Store.

The reserve battery that is built into the cover charges in sunlight.  The amount of time it takes to charge depends on the strength of the sunlight that it catches.  It reaches full charge after 8 hours, and provides up to three days of reading per hour of charge according to the product’s website.

The protective nature of the cover and the built in light are what wins me over.  I travel a lot at night, and would like to find a cover the includes as much functionality as possible for the most reasonable price.  The Solar powered Kindle cover is $79.  As far as cases go, it is on the higher side, but I think it is a really good value for what it does.

This is the first portable solar powered charging device that I’ve seen hit the major tech news.  I hope that the future will bring more solar powered and other energy friendly charging options.  It would be cool to have a multipurpose docking station to charge all of my gadgets.  What a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time.

Thinking even further ahead, electronic devices will most likely include their own solar panels so that they can charge themselves.  Because of cost, this is still a few years off at least.

From what it looks like now, the SolarKindle Cover is only available on the SolarFocus website.  I’m sure it will be offered on Amazon at some point soon.