Sunday, December 28, 2014

Kindle Unlimited is bad for writers

Amazon has been pushing its Kindle Unlimited all-you-eat reading service for some time, and writers are getting upset.  The writers should be more than upset; they should refuse to participate.  This service is bad for writers on multiple levels.

John Scalzi did a good job discussing the problems with Kindle Unlimited, so I'm not going to repeat that material here; check out his summary and then come back. 

I want to focus on a few key points.

First, none of this should surprise anyone.  Amazon has a history of being a ruthless competitor that likes to control as much of the playing field as possible, and this move is in keeping with that tradition.  If Amazon can make bookselling a zero-sum game that it controls, then it can both increase its own profit and boost its already huge share of the market.

So, what to do about that?  Don't participate.  I understand that for writers, particularly self-published ones who've made all their money on Amazon, this is a rough choice, but if you do give in, you are essentially giving Amazon control of your future.  For readers, yes, it's tempting to get all you can read for one cheap monthly price, but as I've written in a recent entry, if you want to keep seeing work from artists whose creations you love, you have to support those artists.  It's that simple.

Finally, recognize that decisions like this happen all the time.  You vote with your money.  If you want to enjoy all that cheap reading, support Amazon--but expect to hurt artists whose work you like or not to find their work on the service.  The same is true with grocery stores, local shops, you name it--the most powerful vote you can cast is with your money.

As for me, well, to the best of my knowledge, none of my books are available on Kindle Unlimited or any other subscription service, and I have no plans to offer my books on any such service.  I will also not join such a service; I prefer to pay the writers whose works I read.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I totally agree with you. I love my kindle. I frequently buy books to be downloaded to it (I also usually buy the book in print as well as I just like having a book in that form), but I will not buy books in mass in that way. Thank you for writing about this.


Blog Archive