Amazon released its monthly KDP Select report yesterday, and the news was unsurprising.
The report revealed that last month Amazon was paying indie publishers and authors an average of $1.41 each time an ebook was loaned from Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. The loans were funded out of a pool of some $8 million, and with a little math and the back of an envelope we reach an estimated 5.67 million loans for February.
That's down slightly from January, (6.16 million loans) but the February figures still represent the second largest number of loans since Kindle Unlimited launched last summer.
In short, the peak in January was the expected post-Christmas surge as users tried Kindle Unlimited for the first time, and the slight drop in loans in February reflects the readers which didn't stay past their trial.
Update: Sometimes I miss the obvious. February has 10 % fewer days than January, so the fact that loans dropped by less than 10% is not remarkable. (Thanks, Fbone, Daniel!)
Given that Kindle Unlimited has yet to reach its first anniversary, we don't have enough data to do a year over year comparison. But I do find it interesting that I can see a clear connection between the expansion of KU into Germany (October), Spain and Italy (November), France and Brazil (December), Mexico and Canada (February).
Kindle Unlimited was the subject of controversy late last year as a number of indie authors claimed that readers had stopped buying ebooks as they switched to KU (I had an alternate theory). In retrospect, that seems more than a little implausible, given that the US ebook market alone was worth a couple billion dollars last year, and Kindle Unlimited funding worth only millions of dollars a month.