Amazon has brought in the third version of how it counts ebook pages read on Kindle Unlimited borrows.
It looks like KENPC v3.0 (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) is designed to sort out the ‘page-flipping’ problem seen by some KU authors.
In June 2016, Amazon introduced Page Flip, a new way to navigate Kindle ebooks. At the time, I expressed doubts over how the new feature would operate within Kindle Unlimited.
In October 2016 many authors with books in Kindle Unlimited complained that their KU borrowing figures had fallen sharply for September as the KU payout for that month was released.
The feeling was that Kindle ebooks were being read when in slide mode under the Page Flip system and authors were not getting paid for these as the system didn’t recognize them as reads.
Amazon claimed there had been no impact and said, ‘We do not see any material reading volume happening within this feature, but we will continue to monitor it closely.’
However, unlike the introduction of KENPC v2.0 in February 2016 when page-count falls of 10% per book were reported, there does not seem to have been a significant ‘recount’ of ebook pages under KENPC v3.0.
Authors commenting on forums say their page counts have remained the same and that is also the case with my own books. That would point to KENPC v3.0 being aimed at better recognition of when a page is actually being read.
Amazon says, ‘This release makes a number of improvements to how we determine the length of books relative to one another and how we measure pages read. We expect payouts to the vast majority of authors to be largely unchanged as a result of these updates.’
We won’t be able to assess the effects of the KENPC v3.0 changes fully until September 15 when the Kindle Unlimited August payout is revealed.
KU payouts have been in gradual decline so far this year, falling from $0.0052 in December 2016 to $0.0042 in June 2017. The KDP Select Global fund has risen by just $200,000 over the first half of the year from $17.8 million in January to $18 million in June.
It would be very interesting to discover whether the huge popularity of the Harry Potter ebooks being made available on Kindle Unlimited is having an effect on the KU payouts.
In theory, the Pottermore ebook titles should not be weighing down on the KDP Select fund as they can’t be enrolled in KDP Select due to being available elsewhere.
With some other publishers Amazon has come to KU deals which are reported to pay out on borrows the same amount that would have been paid for a sale. If that is the case with the Pottermore ebooks then Amazon could be under some pressure to compensate elsewehere, perhaps by keeping KDP fund rises low.
The current Amazon Chart for Most Read Books, which includes Kindle Unlimited borrows in its calculations, has seven Harry Potter ebooks in the Top 20 while Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been top of the chart for several weeks, is also available under Kindle Unlimited.