Saturday 25 February 2017

Authors left disgusted by Amazon plan to pay writers per page read

Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Author Eoin Colfer
Author Eoin Colfer

They say don't judge a book by it's cover, but now this applies to each page.

Irish authors have expressed both disgust and bemusement at Amazon's new payment system on Kindle, which will see some writers receiving royalties for just the pages of their books that are read, rather than for each book bought.

The internet giant announced details of the changes last week, where authors who opt to self-publish on the Kindle Direct Publishing programme will receive payment for the number of pages that customers read.

This new tariff system, which is due to being on July 1, will apply to customers who are signed up to Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

An Amazon spokesperson said this new change "applies to books that authors have chosen to enroll in Kindle Direct Publishing Select, which can be borrowed from our subscription services. These changes do not apply to a la carte sales."

Amazon said it believed this was a "solid step forward and better aligns the interests of readers and authors".

"We're making this switch in response to great feedback we received from authors who asked us to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read.

"Under the new payment method, you'll be paid for each page individual customers read of your book, the first time they read it," the company said.

Bestselling Irish children's author Eoin Colfer described the new scheme as "terrible" when he first learned about it. "You either buy the book or you don't. Apple were trying to do the same with music. It seems to be another way of doing an artist out of their royalties."

The Wexford-born author is behind the bestselling series 'Artemis Fowl', which is set to be adapted for the big screen by Disney.

He firmly believes that the length of the book should not determine how an author is paid.

"There has always been long books and short books. It has never been about quantity with books, it is about quality.

"Some authors like to write really long books, great. Some don't. But I don't think you could penalise either for that," he said.

Caroline Grace-Cassidy, who is set to release her latest novel 'Already Taken' this summer, said this move came as "no surprise".

"It is one of those things," she said. "There is no surprise among any of us authors in 2015; there is very little money to be made in the industry anymore."

She said that her books were more popular on Kindle than in stores, and this provided "very little money" in return. "As far as I am concerned as a writer, it is despicable. It's disgraceful. It is a dying craft," she added.

Irish Independent

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