Round up #280: great Kindle Daily Deals, end of the golden indie era?

Round up #280: great Kindle Daily Deals, end of the golden indie era?

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

An Amazon night

Well, it certainly felt like an Amazon night on the 24th!

Our now adult kid was flying in from the Boston area to see us here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I mirrored my

Kindle Fire HDX 7 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

screen on our TV, using a

Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile*)

That meant that anything that was on the Fire screen appeared on the TV.

I was running the free

FlightView Free (at AmazonSmile*)

which I’d gotten from the Amazon Appstore, to show the progress of the flight.

Oh, and we were listening to the Holiday Classics Prime radio station (which was also coming through the TV, since I was mirroring the Fire).

All I would have needed was an Amazon TV (they don’t exist…yet) 😉 for it to be complete!

I assume next year I’ll just be asking an Amazon Echo what the flight status is…and within a couple of years, the Echo will just volunteer information if the flight is delayed or ahead of time. 🙂

 Today’s Kindle Daily Deals: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Walking Dead, Jeffrey Archer, Rosemary’s Baby…and Sophie’s Choice

Amazon is continuing the great post-holiday deals on books! People who just got their first Kindles/Fires are likely getting sucked into the universe but fast!

Ooh, wait…I need to get myself back on track after the use of that idiom…shouldn’t that be “but quickly?” Okay, okay…geek out over. 😉

There are also a lot more than four titles…it’s much closer to forty!

Kindle Daily Deals (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Some of the titles (check the price before you click or tap that Buy button…you might be seeing this after it is over, or it might apply in your country, and I do have readers around the world):

  • The first four prose (not graphic) novels in The Walking Dead series ($1.99 each). Again, these are not the comics, but highly rated novels by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. The first one, for example, is 4.3 stars out of five with 740 customer reviews. I gave one as a small gift to someone
  • The first eight ($1.99 each) in the super popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney (some are also in Kindle Unlimited…KU)
  • Sand Omnibus by Hugh Howey
  • The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer
  • Solo by Jack Higgins
  • Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
  • Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
  • Three books ($1.99 each) in Jasinda Wilder’s Into You romance series

Those are just some of the Kindle Daily Deals today, which are just a tiny fraction of the bargains at Amazon. Check out

Kindle Book Deals (at AmazonSmile*)

for more.

Interesting! I didn’t see this listed there, and it disappeared from the KDD page (it wasn’t one of the KDDs…just appeared there) after I saw it.

They are having a big sale on graphic novels right now, although they don’t all actually fit that category. For example, they have the reprints of Creepy and Eerie, two 1960s horror comic mags.

I did do a search that seems to be turning up the ones on sale:

Graphic Novels for $3.99 (at AmazonSmile*)

These are good uses for gift cards you got, or gift items you exchanged for credit…and you could actually start getting gifts for next year now! 🙂 You can delay them for the appropriate date, or send them to yourself and print them out. When you do the latter, you don’t even need an e-mail address for them, or really, to specify who will get it. There is a gift claim code, which is all the recipient really needs besides the website which is

H.M. Ward says Kindle Unlimited cut income by 75%

This is an interesting

New York Times article by David Streitfeld

The article is talking more generally about how independent authors are upset with Amazon. That’s a bit different from the recent side-taking in the Hachazon War (what I call the dispute between the publisher Hachette and the retailer Amazon, which is now resolved). In that case, it tended to be tradpubbed (traditionally published) authors siding with the publisher, and indies perhaps siding with Amazon.

One concern that is mentioned is with

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which I’ve written about a couple of times recently.

That’s Amazon’s “subser” (that’s what I call a subscription service). For $9.99 a month (you can generally get the first month free), customers can read books from a set group (which is over 800,000 titles at the time of writing).

The author/publisher is paid out of a pool when a book is borrowed and at least ten percent of it is read.

The article lists $1.39 per borrow in November.

Indie authors using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing can get 70% of their cover price (although the books need to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 to get that).

Even a $2.99 book would get over $2 in royalties…higher than you get with KU.

However, it’s worth noting that a $0.99 book would have gotten about twice as much in November.

I think subsers are here to stay and will grow. Just as tradpubs have had to adjust to the digital world, indies may need to adjust to the subser world.

One strategy suggested in the article: shorter books. Instead of one 1,000 page book, ten 100 page books might get a lot more income. In the case of a subser, people may not be upset to read a short book…not necessarily a novel (although that could work), but I can certainly see it in non-fiction.

Instead of writing a comprehensive book on 1960s science fiction TV shows, you write one for each show.

For novels, you do a chunk of the book…and have a link at the end of it to take you to where you borrow (or buy) the next in the series, so it’s pretty fluid. KU members can borrow up to ten books at a time (and an unlimited number per month). They could borrow your five books which make up one story at one time, making it simple enough to read, even without wi-fi or 4G access.

Technology and culture have shaped the format of books before…I think we could see some influence from this.

I suppose the question is: is the indie author bubble over?

I think not, but I’ll be interested in your comments.

Amazon’s holiday shopping stats

I always love these annual press releases from Amazon!

press release

They not only give us some actual numbers about what happened during the holiday shopping season, they do it with whimsical statistics. 🙂

The stand-out number is that “…more than 10 million new members worldwide tried Prime for the first time.”

Prime members spend more more often, and I believe they also are more likely to buy the higher profit physical items (“diapers and windshield wipers”).

That’s why Amazon is spending so much on making Prime more attractive and more “sticky” (so people are more likely to stay with it).

Now, some stats:

  • More than a billion photos have been uploaded to Prime Photos for free storage…and that just launched in November! At that rate, there will be more pictures stored there than there are people on the planet by about mid-year! That’s a lot of cats in sweaters…
  • Amazon shipped to 185 countries this holiday…gee, I wonder which 11 countries didn’t get a smiley cardboard box? 😉
  • Prime Now, which is going to expand beyond Manhattan next year, still sounds amazing! I’m going to quote this one in full: “The last Prime Now order that was delivered in time for Christmas included 3 different 12-packs of Bai5, 5 calorie, 100% Natural, Antioxidant Infused Beverage, 18-ounce bottles. Flavor varieties included Costa Rica Clementine, Limu Lemon and Molokai Coconut. The order was placed on December 24 at 10:24pm and was delivered at11:06pm.”
  • The discounts paid off! You thought non-Fire Kindles might be in danger of extinction? I don’t think so…”Fire tablet sales on were up over three times year over year this Black Friday; Kindle e-reader sales on Black Friday grew nearly four times year over year”
  • The most gifted Kindle book was Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand
  • AmazonSmile* is rapidly growing, with millions of dollars having been donated
  • “Amazon customers purchased enough wiper blades for every driver in Mobile, Alabama, the rainiest city in the US.”
  • “The total length of Duck Brand Disney Frozen duct tape purchased by Amazon customers this holiday season could stretch to the top of Disneyland’s Matterhorn more than 729 times”
  • The bestselling tablets were the Fire HD 7, Fire HD 6, and the Fire HDX 7 (the model I use every day)
  • The bestselling Kindle books were: The Burning Room by Michael Connelly; Gray Mountain by John Grisham; and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

What do you think? How much did Amazon power your holiday? Are indie authors going to do fine in the future? Is it only certain ones that are going to benefit? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join over a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

5 Responses to “Round up #280: great Kindle Daily Deals, end of the golden indie era?”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Your mention of publishing books in smaller segments caused me to remember Kindle Serials, where a book would be released a piece at a time. I never bought into it because I prefer to read my books in a non linear fashion, [I’m currently reading a book where I read chapters 1-10, went forward to the last chapter, came back for 11-12, then forward to 18, 17, 16, then back go 130] Did Amazon drop the Serial format?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      {shiver} 😉

      I couldn’t read a fiction book like that, but I would say that’s a weakness on my part. In some non-fiction, I might skip around, although I typically read things front to back.

      I remember being very impressed when I checked The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film by Michael Weldon. I flipped right to the Rocky Horror Picture Show listing, and it said something like, “If you went to the entry first, you probably know more about the movie than I do.” 😉 I appreciated the honesty and humor, and I do own that book as a treasured resource.

      As to the Kindle Serials, yes, the program still exists:

      Kindle Serials (at AmazonSmile)

      There are 11,004 at time of writing (there might be false positives), and they are for USA customers only.

      Hm…switching to look at just “Complete Kindle Serials”:

      Complete Kindle Serials (at AmazonSmile))

      I get 74…that seems more like it. 🙂

      The first one that comes up in “New and Popular” is ranked #268 in the USA Kindle store paid…which is really very, very high.

      One of them has over 1,200 customer reviews, but they drop off pretty rapidly after that…looks to me like about 33 have more than 100 reviews.

  2. Peter Willard Says:

    John Scalzi in his blog over on has some interesting things to say about Kindle Unlimited from an author’s point of view.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Peter!

      I’ll go take a look at it. I’ve enjoyed a Scalzi book…and we don’t always see the world the same way. 🙂

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        I’ve read it now…thanks!

        I’ll probably point people to it in a future Round-up, and comment on it more then.

        I would say that one of the basic premises, that Kindle Unlimited means that authors will benefit from other authors not succeeding (as opposed to the traditional publishing method) is…not the way I would interpret it.

        This is the postulating paragraph, and it’s not my vision of consumers’ habits, based in part on my experience as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager:

        “In traditional publishing, your success as an author does not limit my success — the potential pool of money is so large as to be effectively unlimited, and one’s payment is independent of any other purchase a consumer might make, or what any other reader might read.”

        The suggestion seems to be that if someone buys a book by, say, John Scalzi, that has no impact on whether or not a book by Jane Scifi (a fictional name) is purchased. That simply seems incorrect to me. Consumers only allocate so much money for book purchases (even though there were times I sacrificed food purchases for book purchases). If Joe Reader buy a book by John Scalzi, it reduces the chance they’ll buy Jane Scifi’s book, because they don’t have unlimited funds. It doesn’t particularly impact whether of not Pat Reader buys Jane Scifi’s book, except as they are influenced by sale figures.

        This is getting too lengthy for this comment. 🙂 I’ll return to the topic later…thanks for the heads-up!

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