Kindle Unlimited borrow rate slumps by 15% to $1.54 for August

Well, the figures have come out bang on time but they don’t make great reading. I had expected a payout of around $1.60-1.70 per borrow for Kindle Unlimited/KOLL for August, but Amazon have announced the rate is $1.54, not far off the lower range of my forecast, but still disappointing.

It’s worth remembering that Amazon strangely lowered the KDP Select Global Fund for August to $2 million after adding bonuses in July which took the fund up to $2,850,000, when the borrow payout was $1.80, which means the August $1.54 pay rate is down by 15% from July.

There is an update to this post available as Amazon has added a $2.7 million bonus to the August KDP Select Fund, including over $500,000 in awards to star authors.

The August borrow rate means that a self-published author with an ebook priced as low as $2.50 would now be losing out on borrows versus sales, as he or she would get $1.75 on the 70% royalty rate for an outright sale compared with $1.54 for a borrow. However, many authors are reporting big rises in borrows, so the overall amount earned is rising.

It might only be a temporary blip in borrow money as the September KDP Select Fund is starting out at $3 million but there’s also the possibility that Amazon is setting a new normal.

It seems odd that Amazon have allowed the payout rate to drop to such a low level as it’s bound to discourage many authors who either had already enrolled their books in KDP Select or were considering doing so.

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