Amazon is Going to Pay Authors the Retail Rate for Audiobooks Borrowed in Kindle Unlimited
For the past several months authors have been objecting to Amazon adding their audiobooks to Kindle Unlimited without permission or payment.
No one understood why that was occurring, not even the various parts of Amazon, but numerous authors have observed that if an ebook was in Kindle Unlimited, somehow the matching audiobook (if it existed) was added to the program as well.
It took us the longest time to convince Amazon there was a problem, but once we did, they promised to fix it.
And it looks like they have.
Today Amazon sent out an email to affected authors, informing them that the audiobooks had been removed from KU, and that the authors will now be paid for the borrowed audiobooks.
We are contacting you today with regard to an update to your ACX earnings. We recently found that due to a technical issue, your audiobook(s) were included in the Kindle Unlimited program in error. We have removed your audiobook(s) from Kindle Unlimited and apologize for the mistake.
For each Kindle Unlimited subscriber who downloaded your audiobook, you will earn the same royalty as you would earn for an a la carte (ALC) sale at list price on Audible. Your earnings from the inclusion in Kindle Unlimited and related download data will be provided to you alongside your July Earnings Reports, which you will receive no later than August 31.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
Did you get the email? Were you surprised?
Update: A lot of authors are angry that Amazon didn’t offer greater compensation for the "theft" of their work, which some others think was intentional.
While I can understand why they feel that way, it’s worth noting that Amazon is paying authors for their audiobooks on terms similar to those offered to traditional publishers when those publishers' ebooks are added to Kindle Unlimited. The Harry Potter ebooks, for example, were added to KU without permission, and Amazon covered for that by paying Pottermore based on the set retail price – as laid out in the KDP terms of service.
It is really hard for me to criticize Amazon on this point, not when they compensating authors at a reasonable rate.