Why you’ll never hear me say “Free on Kindle Unlimited”

At present, there are not any “Marc Nobbs” books on Kindle Unlimited, although all of “Knobbie Knobbs” books are and “Phil McAvity“‘s one book is.

But even so, you’ll never here me say that Knobbie’s or Phil’s books are “Free on Kindle Umlimited”, because I consider that to be something of a lie. I might have done, in the past, but in recent weeks I’ve made the choice to stop.

The books are not “free”. They are available as part of your KU subscription, as are hundreds of other books, but since a KU sub isn’t free, neither can it be said that the books that are available through it are free.

Last time I checked, KU was £7.99 ($9.99) a month. So, if you only read one book that month, it would have cost you £7.99 ($9.99). If you read two, they would have costs £3.99 ($4.99) each. Read ten, and you’ve paid 79p (99c) for each one.

So really, it’s only if you’re reading eight hundred books a month or more in the UK or upwards of a thousand books a month in the US, can you start referring to books as “Free”, otherwise they have cost you at least a penny each.

It’s the same as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video or Sky Movies OD. You wouldn’t watch a movie on one of those services and think of it as “free”. You think of the money coming out of you bank each month to pay for it. If you only watch one movie on Netflix each month, you’re probably better off buying the DVD.

KU is the same thing.

Okay, so I’m being a pedant. But it really annoys me when I see other authors referring to their books as “Free on KU”. Why? Because it undervalues their work that’s why.

But why should I care if other authors are undervaluing their own work? Because if ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred authors all start undervaluing their work, it starts to undervalue all books in the minds of readers. If they think they are starting to get books “for free” (which they really aren’t) then they will start to think, “why should I pay for these other books by this other author, when I can get these for free?”

And who could blame them?

And if readers start to undervalue the books, you know who else will? Amazon. They’ve already changed the payment for being a part of KU once—to the detriment of a lot of authors—what’s to stop them doing it again. Amazon currently pays less than half a penny per page read. What’s to stop them from bringing that down and saying it’s because that’s how much their customers think the books are worth.

So, this is a plea to fellow authors working hard to market their work. Stop calling your books “free on KU.” Stop undervaluing them. A much better phrase is “Available as part of your KU subscription”. Remind you readers that they pay for KU and so they pay for your books that are part of it.


It will benefit us all in the long run.

On a different note, I’m considering removing some of Marc’s short stories and novels from Smashwords/B&N/Apple/Google so that I can add them to KU as well. I haven’t quite made the final decision on that yet, but I’m certainly leaning towards it. I’ll let you know if and when I do. That’s because I think, on balance, KU is a good deal for readers. I’m not completely opposed to the program like I once was.

I just hope that all the doom-sayers are wrong and it doesn’t lead to readers, Amazon and even authors placing less and less value on books.


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