An open letter to Mr. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Inc.
First of all, just like we started our last post about Kindle Unlimited (KU), we’re going to start this letter by reiterating how much we love Amazon and the KU program. Getting instant access to millions of good books has never been easier than it is today, and Amazon is a HUGE contributing factor. It is truly a golden era for book lovers, and for your part in that, we genuinely thank you.
But let’s be really honest for a moment. The KU program, while awesome in theory, is broken and in desperate need of repair. How is it broken? Let us count the ways:
Now, we completely understand that no author is forced to join the KU program and that some authors make a great living by participating. No one is disputing that. But we’re not the only ones who are concerned that if the program continues on its current path without major reforms, the result will be more and more authors who decide not only to pull their books from the KU program, but also consider not publishing at all because the costs outweigh the rewards. And quite frankly, Mr. Bezos, the idea of authors pulling away from the publishing process entirely TERRIFIES us.
With all that in mind, we asked authors AND readers to provide feedback about the KU program after they were made aware of the current payment practices and all the other issues that currently exist. We were surprised to find that readers were shocked that any of these things were going on. We were even more surprised to find that readers, even voracious readers who devour more than 5 books in a week, were willing to dump their KU subscriptions until the issues were resolved. But don’t take our word for it. Check out some of these comments readers submitted:
“WTH? That's nuts. Authors work their butts off to make sure their readers are happy . That's shameful. I pay for KU because I thought most [of my] money went to the authors, not Amazon. I had been weighing my options on canceling. I will now.”
“Bezos, u should be ashamed! Raise the KU price some and distribute to writers. I would gladly pay a couple dollars more a month, and if we all did it, that should raise their pay. And don't keep them from other platforms; it's not fair.”
“I won't subscribe unless it's fair!”
“I no longer have my KU membership, as so many authors were jumping ship...making it not the best program as a reader...leading to less money in the pool. If Amazon paid them well, I'm sure more authors would sign-up...and I would be willing to renew. Readers want both quality and quantity :)...and authors want to be paid for that quality.”
“I'm canceling my KU subscription because it's racketeering and a total scam for Jeff Bezos and screws the authors.”
“I never got KU, because I heard it's unfair to authors. They deserve to be paid fairly for their hard work, just like everyone else expects to be.”
“Please find a fair and reasonable means of paying for authors' hard work while stopping the click bait scam artists who game your KU system!”
“No authors = no books. We want books.”
“I truly was not aware of this, cancelling my subscription right now”
And that was just a sampling of comments from READERS, who fully support their favorite authors and are willing to drop their existing KU subscriptions (or not sign up at all) until the program is revamped. In total, there were 854 people who clearly stated they think authors are getting a raw deal from Amazon on the KU program. (There was also 1 person who said he didn’t care if authors were fairly compensated. But, hey, there’s 1 turd like that in every group, right? It’s to be expected.) We’d be more than happy to provide a complete transcript of the comments at your request; they make for super interesting reading.
Now, we realize that potentially losing 854 customers isn’t a huge deal to a global giant of a company like Amazon. In fact, legions of indie authors and readers told us offline that nothing would ever come of this movement. That Amazon didn’t care about anything or anyone but their bottom line.
We’re hoping you prove those people wrong, Mr. Bezos.
So, what do you say, sir? Do YOU want the Kindle Unlimited program to reach it's full potential by delivering fair value for all concerned: Amazon, readers AND authors? Do you care about making sure our favorite authors continue to write and publish? Will you investigate the above-mentioned concerns and implement change accordingly (and adequately communicate your findings and thinking to the public)? Or are the naysayers out there correct when they say that you don’t care about anything but your company’s bottom line?
We look forward to hearing from you and genuinely thank you for your time.
Romance Rehab book blog, countless indie authors everywhere, and about 854 really vocal KU subscribers/potential subscribers.