When Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited last year, they built its catalog on indie and self published titles, with only a handful of titles from larger publishers. This did not include the Big Five trade publishers, who signed deals with other access-based ebook services but continued to boycott KU.
Simon & Schuster broke the year-long this month, albeit in a very small way.
The publisher has added Transfer of Power and The Last Man to KU. These are the first and last titles in the late Vince Flynn's Mitchell Rapp series, and they've been available in Kindle Unlimited since 12 August.
And it looks like this will be the exception and not the rule. S&S said that the two books were added to promote the publication of the next book in the series. S&S is scheduled to publish Kyle Mills' The Survivor in October, and a spokesperson confirms that the KU promotion is directly related to the new release:
This is a special promotion meant to build excitement for the upcoming new Vince Flynn/Mitch Rapp title, The Survivor, that we are publishing on October 6. We think that this limited promotion is a good way to introduce readers to Vince Flynn and Mitch Rapp after a few years without a new title having been published.
This is a positive sign that S&S might release more titles to KU when they are promoting their new releases, but let's hope they don't regard this as a temporary measure.
Putting a title in KU and then yanking it again months later might result in increased sales as readers go buy a book so they can continue reading it, but the inconsistent access might also piss readers off and thus cost the author goodwill.
It's hard to say which is more likely, and so S&S will need to tread carefully.
image by ActuaLitté