KDP Select Payments Up in February As The Number of Loans Drop

kindle owner's lending libraryAmazon released some stats last night, and it looks like Kindle owners aren’t borrowing as many free ebooks as I expected.

Late last year Amazon launched KDP Select, a new program open to Kindle owning Prime members. Kindle owners could suddenly borrow one of a select number of Kindle titles. Authors and publishers who signed up for the program get paid for ech loan; they receive a share of a fixed pool of money ($600,000 in February).

The loan payment went up in February to $2.01 per loan, from $1.60 in January.

Boy is my face red. I predicted last month that payments would drop, and that January’s $1.60 per loan would be the high point. Nope. I clearly overestimated the growth in popularity that KDP Select would see. I thought that Kindle owners would keep joining the program, but it’s clear now that some have dropped out.

KDP Select saw 427 thousand loans in January and only around 300 thousand loans in February. Even with the shorter month, that is a noticeable dip is the number of loans. It might look like this program is dying, but I happen to like the fact it shrank. I’m rooting for the authors. If more money went into your pocket, it’s a good thing.

On the other hand, the downside to KDP Select is that Amazon also gets an exclusive on selling the content; it cannot be listed elsewhere.  And as we’ve said before, exclusivity is rarely a good idea.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. George22 March, 2012

    Here’s the reason I don’t use the borrow feature very much, well not at all really: Because most of the books that are offered for loan that I’m interested in are usually low priced to begin with. It’s easier for me to simply buy the book if I’m interested in it or to get a sample rather than borrow it.

    Which I think would be good for authors since my buy rates are way, way higher than my borrow rates. I’ve only borrowed one book. But what do I know, since I foolishly actually want to buy books without paying artificially high prices, that means I’m evil according to the defenders of Agency pricing. Sorry, different topic maybe. 😉

  2. fjtorres22 March, 2012

    It is way too early in the ebook era for anybody to actually *know* how ebook readers behave. Experiments such as the Prime Library are starting to provide actual data on the psychology of readers and the assumptions about why people buy books and how. And some of the data might run counter to the preconceived notions formed in the pbook era.
    It may be that the easy availability of cheap reads doesn’t just devalue hardcovers and bestsellers (as the BPHs fear) but also devalue the value of “free!”. 🙂

    In other words, in a world where good cheap ebooks are readily available, people need not go out of their way to go get free reads solely because they are free. No feeding frenzy.

    Since Kindles offer up lots of free promo books and low cost books, it seems reasonable to assume most folks will build up fairly long TBR queues and that when they finish a book they are more likely to move to another book already on the reader than go looking for books in the store or library. Sort of a decoupling of buying and reading.

    There might be something to all the recent talk of a psychology of abundance displacing the old psychology of scarcity. 🙂

  3. […] it, though.Normally I would write a post about this bit of news but I already wrote this story a couple weeks ago. The March stats for KDP Select look much like the February stats, so anything I said today would […]

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