Over 1 million independent books borrowed through the KOLL

Over 1 million independent books borrowed through the KOLL

November 3, 2011: Amazon adds a new benefit for eligible Prime members who own physical Kindles. They can borrow up to a book a month from a select set of books…the library starts with about 5,000 titles.

December 8, 2011: Amazon introduces KDP Select, a program through which publishers using their Kindle Direct Publishing can add their books to the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library). They will be compensated by dividing a pool each month, based on the number of “borrows” they have.

February 29, 2012: In this

press release

Amazon announces that over a million KDP Select books have been borrowed.

Do you know how many years it would take to sell a million paper independently published books? I don’t know either, 🙂 but trust me, this is a very big number.

Right now, there are 117,395 books in the

KOLL List*

That’s about 9.3% of the 1,262,458 in the USA Kindle store…and growing.

Also significant…that’s probably over 100,000 e-books for which Amazon has exclusive distribution.

I say probably, because the KOLL books that are not in the KDP Select program, that are traditionally published, don’t have to be exclusives.

That’s something that worries some industry people. It’s not a monopoly on e-books…but they do have the monopoly on those specific e-books for at least 90 days.

How is it for publishers (who may be just an author)? For some of them, it’s very good.

Amazon cites some specific people, and gives us their success stories:

However, as I mentioned when I wrote about the January KOLL results, the more that are borrowed, the less each publisher gets for a borrow…unless Amazon increases the pool amount to match.

How about me?

Too soon to tell.

We aren’t supposed to give specific sales numbers, and I’m not going to do that.

I’ve just gotten paid for December (that’s normal…it’s about two months after the end of the months when sales take place), so I only officially have numbers for that month.

My KOLL royalties weren’t one percent of my regular royalties.

That’s no surprise. That was probably the peak sales month for Love Your Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet…and it wasn’t in the KOLL at that point (it is now).

I do think, as it’s gone forward, the KOLL may have been good for my sluggish backlist. I’ll have to wait to see if it has apparently boosted sales of them as well, or if the money is going to come mostly from borrows.

I have no doubt that this is good for readers. One of the KDP Select elements is the ability to offer you books for free for five days out of the 90…I’ve done it, and I’m sure readers benefited from that.

Well, let me amend that…it’s good for eligible Prime members.

NOOK users couldn’t get those books for free or otherwise during their enrollment in KDP Select (although they could get the books using a Kindle or a Kindle app…there are people who have both).

I think it’s a brilliant strategy on Amazon’s part. Prime is, I think, where the money is. If content is what drives hardware purchases, this is huge for Amazon.

If this teaches people to buy independently published books, look out traditional publishers!

I always like to consider the risks…

  • There could be backlash against Amazon for the exclusive part of the contract
  • Publishers may resent the small amount of money per borrow if the quantity keeps increasing without the pool increasing
  • Publishers might put less than optimal product in the KOLL, leading to dissatisfaction on the part of borrowers
  • Readers may find that the books being made free under the program are good enough to read…so they buy fewer books
  • Amazon could raise the cost of Prime, since the demand may increase…and they may have to significantly raise the pool pay

Those are a few possibilities I see…but overall, I think this is an example of Amazon successfully innovating.

What do you think? Feel free to comment on this post to let me and my readers know.

*Note: you can see the books that are available for eligible Prime members to borrow from this list on your computer, but you must borrow them from you Kindle device by clicking a button that says “borrow” not “buy” to have the cost covered by your annual Prime fee.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

6 Responses to “Over 1 million independent books borrowed through the KOLL”

  1. Karen Salmons Says:

    Must be something wrong with me. The addition of being able to borrow 1 book a month doesn’t even tempt me. There is just way too much for free or .99 to 3.99 out there. By the time I get the several I already have read, the new stuff will go down in price. I am a Prime Member and love the streaming and also the free shipping. I do a lot of shopping for items that are either heavy or bulky online so that I don’t have to carry it in from my garage on the back of my lot and up 3 pretty high steps. UPS drops off the package on my front porch and if it’s heavy I can just scoot it in and unpack and put away a little at a time. I break down the boxes and take to recycle. Whenever I can get a better deal from Walmart and need $45 worth I will order from them with free shipping.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karen!

      That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. 🙂 It just means that you are already getting your money’s worth, just like people did before this benefit was added.

      For me, I’m finding the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) really worthwhile.

      For example, I enjoyed the last book I borrowed

      That book has a Kindle store price of $13.49.

      Now, I absolutely know there are great books that are less than $3. Many of the books I read are free. 🙂 That’s one of the reasons I like the KOLL: I wouldn’t have read this book without it, and I did like it…

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Two out of three of the books I have borrowed from KOLL so far have been dogs even though they had tons of great reviews and interesting “sample” sections that made me want to read more. So I’m kind of bummed that I wasted two “lendings,” but more than happy that I didn’t waste cash money;)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I haven’t had that experience. Every book I’ve gotten so far has been good, although the last one had a significant formatting problem.

      Hmm…it’s March, need to pick a new one. 🙂

  3. ddscott Says:

    Thanks sooo much for this terrific post, Bufo! I just shared on David Gaughran’s blog as well as on Facebook and Twitter and on our new WG2E Bulletin Board too!

    Many peeps have been asking about just the numbers you reported!

    Well done, my friend!!!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, D.D.!

      Thanks for spreading the word! 🙂

      Another reader, Donna White Glaser, just reported to me that the KDP Reports now break out promo free downloads and price match free downloads! That’s great…I’ll probably write about that.

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