Home > Writing > Amazon Prime: Am I Naive or Ignorant?

Amazon Prime: Am I Naive or Ignorant?

I tossed a couple of my books into the KDP Select program back in December. KDP Select allows Amazon Prime members the opportunity to download a book for free and read it at their leisure, then check it back in when they’re finished so they can get another one (free). For each borrow against my books I get an even share of the $500,000 pool Amazon set aside. This could be a good or a bad thing, depending upon what that share is worth.

For December it worked out to be $1.70 per borrow. Considering the books I entered were $.99 books (every book in my Vitalis series is only $.99), if I sold a copy I would only receive $.35. Having them borrowed, on the other hand, was far more lucrative for me. Even better news, the program worked so well in December that Amazon upped the port to $700,000 in January of 2012.

Now the flip side – I had 9 copies of two books borrowed in December. 9 * 1.70 = $15.30. Nothing outstanding but I’ll take every penny I can get at this point. So far almost halfway through January I have 6 borrows. I also slipped two more books into being Amazon only – Human Nature and Sex Sells. No borrows on those yet, but It’s only been three days so far and those aren’t big selling books. I blame the cover art I have on them for starters. I’m told the books are great (I agree, but I’m biased). The other reason marketing tactics, I’ve never used any. Time to put an end to that!

That’s the other benefit for authors in the KDP Select program: promotions. I can schedule 1 – 5 days in a 90 day period for each book to be offered for free. How does that help sales? It slips the book to links where people can find and grab it, and the more people that grab it, the more lists it gets on. That’s exposure, and exposure is what sells books for a little feller like me.

Thus Human Nature has been available for free yesterday and today. I’ll probably try it again next month some time. Sex Sells I plan to have go free on Tuesday and Wednesday of the coming week (January 17 & 18). Not long after that I’ll run New Beginnings (in my Vitalis series) free for a day or two as well as a gimmick to help boost interest in the release of the third book in that series (Parasites). Parasites will also be in the KDP Select program, for the Amazon Prime readers out there.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, WTF is it? I’ll be honest, before KDP Select I had no idea. I live in my sheltered world writing, working, and picking up heavy weights. I don’t get out much and when I do it’s because I’ve been dragged (kicking and screaming) to the mall so my wife can go shopping. I did, however, get a Kindle Fire for Christmas. It’s neat, I really enjoy it and I wish it would have been available a few years ago when I suckered myself into buying my iPad. C’est la vie. Shoppers remorse aside, the Kindle Fire came with a month of free Amazon Prime membership. So I got to see what all the buzz was about.

I still don’t get it. I hear Prime members get free shipping. Great… I’m not selling enough books to do much in the way of shopping yet though. Okay, what about borrowing KDP Select books? I tried it and was surprised to see I can only borrow one book a month, even if I return it. Suddenly it seemed much less worth it to me. It began to make sense why I wasn’t getting more borrows on my books. It’s a work in progress though, both for me and, I’m sure, for Amazon. If there’s more cool features to being a Prime member I’d like to learn about those too. Until then I’ll keep experimenting with trying to get more exposure for my books.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

  1. Charlie Roth
    January 14, 2012 at 16:33

    Think of the Kindle Owner Lender Library as a cherry on the cake.

    Prime started with only free two day (& $3.99 overnight) shipping for $79 a year. It was a good deal if you ordered alot of things from them or split the membership with four friends.

    Then they added Prime Instant Videos. Over 10,000 videos and they are still adding more. Mostly older catalog titles but that’s ok.

    Then they added Kindle Owner Lender Library. Yes, you can only check out one book a month.

    The price of all that added content, zero dollars. Prime still costs $79 a year and you can still split the membership with four friends (although only the main account gets Prime Instant Videos and Kindle Owner Lender Library)

    It is an amazing deal at the moment.

    • January 14, 2012 at 16:53

      I didn’t know about the movies, that’s pretty cool.

      But here’s the rub – To me it’d be $79 to borrow 12 books a year. I seldom buy anything for my personal use and I’m not much of a TV or movie guy anymore. On the rare occasions I can watch TV my wife and I do marathons to catch up on NCIS or…well, I guess we’ve given up most everything else. Especially after American Horror Story ended on such a pathetic note.

      So yes, it is an amazing deal IF those items are useful to you. For me it’d be a horrible deal. I hope that one day my priorities shift so I can find it useful, too!

  2. January 14, 2012 at 18:35

    If Amazon offer the service to it’s UK Prime customers then I’m more likely to pay the £49 fee (next day shipping but no ondemand video ) but at the end of the day a benefit of e-books is the cost/value compared to paperbacks and more importantly the pretty much unlimited ability to store them thus negating one benefit of the lend/borrow system.
    Borrowing a book is fine but for the most part e-books are good enough value to buy and keep and with no practical overhead in terms of shelf space the sky is the limit and come on one book a month is pretty much aimed at the very casual reader:)

    • January 14, 2012 at 21:27

      I’m in 100% agreement that ebooks are phenomenal for a variety of reasons. I don’t even consider print books anymore (as a reader).

  3. Tim
    January 15, 2012 at 13:51

    Congratulations on the success of using KDP select. Think about how many $.99 books you’d have to sell to make $15+. It’ll be interesting to see how this program works out in the long run.

  4. January 20, 2012 at 04:59

    Prime has got absolutely no benefit if you not from the USA, even if the price is shown as 0.00 for prime members, if you a international customer you still pay cover price.

    • January 20, 2012 at 07:39

      Not 100% accurate (but close). If I run a promo to set a book free, that carries over to non US sites as well for non-Prime shoppers. That’s a “benefit” of the Amazon Prime program though, not a benefit to being a member of the program.

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