Are You Ready for Prime Day?

Amazon has made a big deal about their Prime Day on July 15. Are you ready? The answer is "no" if you're not a Prime member (but don't worry, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial and then you'll be ready). But once you're in that exclusive club, past the gate with hulking guards keeping out the riff-raff, and sipping your (virtual) cocktail while admiring the products lining the (virtual) shelves, what will you buy? Will it be a new TV, or a Fire TV Stick? Some books? Clothes? There are so many things that will be offered at a big discount. Unfortunately, that doesn't include my books. Read on to learn how my "relationship" with Amazon has changed.

As I've discussed here and elsewhere, Amazon made some changes to how they compensate authors when books are "borrowed" through the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL) and Kindle Unlimited (KU) programs, to allocate each author's portion of the payment pool based on pages read rather than books borrowed. There are various ways to analyze this change, but ultimately what is relevant in the context of my books is that I wanted out. The "benefits" of being in those programs had faded to almost nothing, but the restriction—requiring that the e-book editions be exclusively available on the Kindle—remained. As a result, I let books expire out of the program either shortly before or shortly after the change took effect, and for the one book that would have been stuck there until August, I had Amazon cancel its enrollment.

This doesn't mean that you can't get my books on Amazon. You absolutely can. At this point, unlike other platforms, all of my books are available for the Kindle. However, you can't borrow them through KU or KOLL. And, as time permits, my books will be appearing on other e-reading platforms (e.g., NOOK, Kobo, Google Play, etc.) where you could not previously get them or where they had not been available for many months. This should be seen as a "win" to readers who want access to my books regardless of which e-reading platform they prefer, but it's less clear of a "win" for me, because it does make some aspects of marketing more difficult. (Hint: If you want to help, feel free to recommend one of my books to a friend!)

I hold no animosity toward Amazon regarding their change in KU/KOLL compensation. They can run their business however they want (within the limits of the law, of course), but, similarly, I can choose how my business (as an author) works with theirs. The KU/KOLL programs don't make sense for me anymore, so I have moved on. I don't mean to imply that Amazon would have featured my books for Prime Day—after all, Dan Starney is no Harry Potter—but there were benefits to Prime membership that previously made my books more available (i.e., KOLL) that no longer apply.

As a "local" company around here, I wish Amazon great success with their Prime Day experiment, and if you participate I hope you find some great deals!