Until the industry acknowledged these uncounted additional revenue and unit numbers, the picture we have of the publishing industry is at best distorted, and at worst misleading.
Last month Amazon paid out $47.9 million to indie authors and small presses putting their ebooks into Kindle Unlimited (KU), the world’s biggest ebook subscription service.
To be clear, bigger publishers that may have titles there, along with A-Pub titles, are paid separately, so this is very much indie authors and small presses, and mostly in the US.
The APA H1 2023 report won’t be out until next month some time, but last year the APA reported a US ebook market valuation of $500 million at a time when, not included in this count, KU’s payout – just the pot pay-out – topped $250 million.
This, it should be stressed, just from the ebook subscription service, not from a la carte ebook sales on Amazon.
This year the KU H1 pay-out has reached $278.2 million. The figure for H1 2022 was $251.2 million, so an increase year-on-year of $27 million, or 10.7%.
And remember this is actual royalties paid, not revenue as reported by the AAP, Circana Bookscan, etc.
Again, we’re waiting on the June figures from the stat-counters, but worth adding here that in June 2022 the KU pay-out for the month was $38.1 million. This year, 2023, the pay-out was $47 million, which you can no doubt work out is $8.9 million up, but will perhaps be interested to know equates to a 23% rise. And on past performance we can expect to see a December pay-out of about $50 million if Amazon adheres to that pattern.
But whatever the final numbers, what matters is that this is invisible revenue and invisible ebook downloads that Circana and the AAP are simply not tracking.
And that’s fine. Neither are claiming to represent the whole market.
But until the industry acknowledged these uncounted additional revenue and unit numbers – and again, keep in mind these are just part of a still bigger uncounted pool of revenue and units from downloads and a la carte sales by APub and by indie authors – the picture we have of the publishing industry is at best distorted, and at worst misleading.
As ever I’m indebted to Written Word Media for keeping the monthly Kindle Unlimited pot pay-out list up to date.
#ebooksubscription #digitalbookssubscription #ebookstreaming #digitalstreaming