Self-published top page-turner goes exclusive on Amazon

Core readers: Casey Kelleher’s Rotten to the Core was the most-completed read among Kobo’s UK customers in 2014

The new book from the author that Kobo readers in the UK are most keen on reading right to the end won’t be available through Kobo as the author has signed up with Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint on a Kindle Unlimited deal.

Kobo’s research into which books the platform’s customers actually finished reveals that the UK top spot is taken by self-published grit-lit star Casey Kelleher’s Rotten to the Core, which was read from start to finish by 83% of buyers.

This compares with just a stoic 44% who managed to negotiate the 880 pages of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer winner, The Goldfinch.

Casey Kelleher, who is a fan of grit-lit pioneer Martina Cole, has signed a one-book deal with Thomas & Mercer, which is Amazon’s mystery and thriller imprint, for her new book, Bad Blood.

The book will be published on December 16 as an ebook exclusive to Amazon and will be available for borrowing under the Kindle Unlimited scheme. It will be available as a paperback through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Kelleher has published three novels and her total sales are reckoned to be around 150,00.

Kindle Unlimited has come in for growing criticism from self-published authors who have seen their payments from the KDP Select fund slump from over $2 per borrow before the launch of KU to $1.33 in October. Self-published best-seller H M Ward recently pulled her books from Kindle Unlimited after saying she had seen her earnings plunge by 75% by going exclusive.

However, Amazon pays traditional publishers on Kindle Unlimited at the same rate for a borrow as they would get for a standard sale, and it’s likely that Amazon’s own imprints also operate that payment model.

Kobo’s UK research also reveals overall genre completion rates for novels are low:

  • Romance: 62%

  • Crime and thrillers: 61%

  • Fantasy: 60%

The entire top 10 of Kobo’s most completed novels of the year are written by women, with Nora Roberts taking two of the places, with The Witness in ninth spot, written under her own name, while, under her thriller nom de plume of J D Robb, she takes fourth place with Concealed In Death.

Kobo’s most completed novels 2014 (UK)

1: Rotten to the Core, by Casey Kelleher

2: The Tycoon’s Vacation, by Melody Anne

3: The Traitor, by Kimberley Chambers

4: Concealed in Death, by JD Robb

5: Wrongful Death, by Lynda La Plante

6: All Revved Up, by Sylvia Day

7: Present Danger, by Stella Rimington

8: The Empty Cradle, by Rosie Goodwin

9: The Witness, by Nora Roberts

10: The Promise, by Jessica Sorensen

H M Ward quits Kindle Unlimited and calls for rethink

Kindle Unlimited payout slumps to $1.33