KDP Select has been a good revenue source for indie authors since it launched with the Kindle Owner's Lending Library 3 years ago, but that came to an abrupt end in July. Following the launch of Kindle Unlimited, the payout from KDP Select declined by 25%, and it continued to decline ever since.
The payment hit a new low in October, dipping to $1.33, and according to the latest KDP newsletter it increased slightly in November, to $1.39. Since Amazon is paying out of a pool of money worth $3,000,000 (plus an extra $3.5 million), that places the number of loans at around 4,676,259.
Correction: I missed the bonus Amazon tacked on for November, but a reader set me straight. Thanks Daniel!
Here's a complete history of the average monthly payment for KDP Select, courtesy of Publishing 3.0:
actually fewer around 470 thousand more loans than in October, which also payed from a $3 million pool (plus an extra $2.5 million), but the small increase in the payout is no reason to cheer. Many authors, including ones with ebooks both in and out of KDP Select, have been reporting that their revenues have declined since Kindle Unlimited launched (although it is possible that there is another cause).
Authors have been discussing the issue of declining revenue for the past couple weeks, and (assuming KU is the cause) it would seem that an ebook subscription service is beneficial to authors so long as it is of limited value to readers.
Kindle Owner's Lending Library, for example, was great because each Prime member could only borrow a single ebook each month. Kindle Unlimited, on the other hand, lets subscribers read as much as they want for $10 a month. This is of great value to readers but would appear to be of less value to indie authors as revenues decline.
Or is it? There are also some indie authors who are seeing great success with KDP Select in the months. I have read reports that short story authors are enjoying increased revenues following the KU launch, although I haven't found a first hand account.
Perhaps KU will cause a fragmentation of the market, with shorter works loaned under a subscription plan and longer works sold at retail, but at this point it is too early to say for sure.