Kindle Unlimited KENP rate rises by 9% in September but borrows fall sharply amid page-flip mystery

The Kindle Unlimited KENP payment rate to authors for September rose strongly by nearly 9% to $0.0049 from $0.0045 in August.

The KDP Select Global fund rose again to a new high of $15.9 million, up from $15.8 million in August and $15.5 million in July. Amazon has now paid out over $136 million to Kindle Unlimited authors in this year so far.

In the UK, the KENP rate for September was £0.0033, up from £0.0030 in August.

Dividing the total KENP fund for September ($15.9 million) by the US KENP rate of $0.0049 gives a figure of 3.24 billion KENPs (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) read during the month.

That September figure of 3.24 billion KENPs is a significant drop of 7.6% from the 3.51 billion KENPs total I calculated on the same basis in August. The fall appears to bear out the complaints from some KU authors that their borrowing figures have fallen sharply recently.

Many authors have attributed this to the fact that Kindle ebooks can be read when in slide mode under Amazon’s new Page Flip system and they are not getting paid for these as the system doesn’t recognize them as reads.

The slump in total pages read doesn’t seem to be a seasonal variation as the Kindle Unlimited trends for the past two years have been upwards from August to September.

In August 2015 I calculated there were 2.31 billion KENPs read while the total rose by almost 4% in September 2015 to 2.4 billion KENPs. In 2014, under the old flat-rate Kindle Unlimited scheme, I estimated there was a rise of about 10% from August to September in terms of total ebooks borrowed.

The latest quarterly survey from Author Earnings covering up to October also points to a downturn in ebook market share for indie authors as Amazon Publishing’s own imprints have gained ground.

KDP replied to authors who had complained about falling KU reads earlier this month, saying on the KDP Community site, ‘We have completed our monthly audit of September pages-read data. We regularly monitor pages-read systems for accuracy with a particular focus on making sure we have correctly filtered out fraudulent reading activity, while including all legitimate customer behavior. Total audit adjustments for the month were an increase of roughly 2% of pages read (though the amount will vary from author to author). We are currently updating reports and changes should be visible within the next day.’

However, the claimed 2% increase in pages read really doesn’t seem to be borne out by the fact that the fund went up just a little while the KENP rate went up fairly substantially. If the total pages read had been up by 2% from August then surely the KENP rate would have been held closer to $0.0045 rather than seeing a 9% increase or the KDP fund would have had to rise further.

Also on the KDP Community site, this week, it said, ‘Thanks for the recent questions from some authors about how Page Flip is being used by customers and its possible impact to pages read. Page Flip is designed to make it easy to explore and navigate in books while automatically saving your place, and that is how customers are using it. We checked for effects on pages read before launching Page Flip, and investigated it again to re-confirm that there is no impact. We do not see any material reading volume happening within this feature, but we will continue to monitor it closely.’

I have found myself reading through some books by sliding along in Page Flip mode. You do need good eyesight (or decent glasses) but it’s perfectly possible to do so and there are plenty of sharp-eyed speedy readers among the KU membership. Page-flip has been a big improvement in ebook navigation but Amazon needs to take a much closer look at how it’s really being used.

The monthly KENP rates for 2016 so far are:

  • January: $0.0041
  • February: $0.0048 (the first month of KENPC v2.0, a revised way of calculating the number of pages in a Kindle ebook)
  • March: $0.0047
  • April: $0.0048
  • May: $0.0046
  • June: $0.0049
  • July: $0.0048
  • August: $0.0045
  • September: $0.0049

Average monthly KENP rate over Jan-July 2016: $0.0046

The monthly KDP Select global fund totals for 2016 are:

  • January: $15 million
  • February: $14 million
  • March: $14.9 million
  • April: $14.9 million
  • May: $15.3 million
  • June: $15.4 million
  • July: $15.5 million
  • August: $15.8 million
  • September: $15.9 million

Total for January-August 2016: $136.7 million

Author Earnings October 2016 survey — indie authors’ market share falls back

Kindle Unlimited September 2015 KENP results

Amazon takes a running jump with Page Flip software