The title of this post is a question many readers are asking authors, and maybe you’re asking me.
Innocent 1: Simone is free on Amazon (including the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Japan, and Italy), Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, and Google Play.
(Kindle in The Netherlands, Mexico, Australia, and Canada refuse to make it free. I can’t explain why.)
I published the next 3 books in the League of Worldly Wise Innocents series two weeks ago. I also published an
entire 4-book series (Summers’s Romance) at the same time. Tomorrow, Innocent 5: Janeesia goes on sale. Two weeks later, my longest and most ambitious single novel go on sale: Broken, Bruised, and Brave.
All of them will be available only through Kindle Unlimited. That’s Amazon’s answer to Scribd. If you pay Amazon $9.99 per month, you can borrow an unlimited number of books (including of mine except Innocent 1: Simone, which is free in most Kindle stores anyway).
Many authors don’t like Kindle Unlimited because it does not allow them to publish books on other sites, such as
Google Play, Barnes and Noble, and so on.
So, we’re forced to choose between serving fans on those other sites and Kindle Unlimited fans.
I hate to have to do this, but it’s a fact of indie publishing right now.
Many people say we authors should make our books available on all sites possible to get readers from those other sites, and this makes sense.
They say we should encourage competition, so Amazon doesn’t dominate the market.
The other sites WANT to let Amazon dominate the book market.
A month ago I checked out the other sites. They aren’t trying very hard to compete with Amazon.
On Apple iTunes I couldn’t figure out when I was actually in the bookstore. The pictures all tried to sell me iPads, not books. I couldn’t find a search engine box, only a list of categories that reminded me of submitting sites to the Yahoo Directory circa 2002.
I finally found the search engine box. It was a snazzy special effect that opened up when I ran the cursor over it. I don’t want to have to work that hard to look for a book. The Amazon search engine box is always open, always clear and obvious, right on top.
Clearly, as a company, Apple values the snazzy hi-tech special effect, while Amazon values customer convenience.
Smashwords is a small site without much traffic. I get only a few readers there.
Barnes and Noble is US only. Maybe they added the UK.
Google Play is ridiculously complicated, and you can’t trust them to price the book right, and they make it hard for readers to find books. They don’t allow authors to input keywords. A Google division ignoring keywords! How severe is THAT?
My oldest niece is a software developer for Google. She barely knew they sold books. I told her if she’s ever transferred to Google Books, to dust off her resume, because it must be the Google equivalent of being sent to Siberia.
Kobo. They seem to be going nowhere fast. They should be Amazon’s main worldwide competitor. Recently they entered the country where I live. (Amazon is not here yet). I didn’t even know it until one of my nieces asked me to buy her one.
We have two shopping malls, and each one has a branch of The National Book Store. Kobo sells through bookstores. I didn’t see it in the National Book Store in the mall where I eat lunch daily. It was only in the other mall. All right, that store is a lot bigger.
So, I went there to check it out. There was a small unmarked display podium. I had to ask a store clerk to see it. The actual ereaders were kept behind the counter.
A few weeks later, I checked again. The display podium was gone. How’s it going to sell if nobody even knows it’s there?
So, Kobo’s marketing underwhelms me.
On the other hand, by going with Kindle Unlimited, Amazon will boost my novels, and I’ll reach Kindle readers I would have otherwise not had.
And if you don’t have a Kindle, that’s all right too. You can buy or borrow Kindle books and reader them on
your computer or laptop, your Android, or your iPad or iPhone. There’re free apps for all that. I use the computer one sometimes even though I have my own Kindle paperwhite.
I sign my books up for Kindle Unlimited for 90 days at a time. At the end of that time, I might — or might
now — change my mind.
I hear rumors Apple does plan to go head to head with Amazon, but except for them putting the iTunes store in the iPad as part of its operating system, I haven’t seen anything to verify that.
But things keep changing in this wonderful new world, so who knows.
But if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read my novels on your computer or smart phone or tablet – the apps are all free.
If I decide to change, I’ll let you know.