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The Silver Lining of the Kindle Owners Lending Library

Amazon posted the KOLL lending stats for the month of April today. There’s not much of note in today’s news; Amazon paid $2.48 per loan out of a fund that totaled $600k, and that averages out to 208 thousand ebooks loaned. They’re now offering 150 thousand titles for Amazon Prime Kindle owners to borrow for free, one title per month.

So today’s news isn’t that much different from last month.

I was thinking about how I might cover the statistics when Mike Cane forwarded the following tweet to me. I would have to say that this author has found the sweet spot.

He got far more for a loan than he would have gotten if he had sold the ebook. What’s more, everyone is happy with the situation – the author, the reader, and even Amazon.

Amazon launched the Kindle Owners Lending Library over 6 months ago, so now would be a good time to start a project I’ve been thinking about. I’d like to ask a couple questions of authors.

I, for one, don’t like the idea of exclusivity, but I am honest enough to admit that joining this program is dependent on whether the authors benefit, and that’s not something we could know until after it is tried. So here are my questions:

  1. Do you have ebooks in the KOLL, and if was it worth it?
  2. Did the loans boost sales?
  3. What’s the ratio between the number of sales sales and loans?

I really do want to hear what authors think. Now that the KOLL seems to have leveled off at $2 or more per loan, anyone thinking about joining the program can look at the results of current participants, do a little math, and then decide if it’s worth the risk.


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karen wester newton May 21, 2012 um 3:07 pm

The problem (for authors) with the Kindle Lending Library is the Kindle owner can only search for books by genre, by release date, and by popularity. There is no way to look for books by author or by title. Thus, if your books is already wildly popular, you are golden, whereas if you were hoping for a boost from the KOLL, you are more like SOL.

Sharon E. Cathcart May 22, 2012 um 4:39 pm

I opted out of KDP-S (and the KOLL) because I refuse to cut off the part of my audience that uses a different eReader technology. My sales in ePub format outnumber my KDP sales on the order of 100:1, and that is not a typo. I cannot explain the how or why of this, but my metrics every single month reflect that reality.

Furthermore, the price of putting all of my eggs in Amazon’s basket is losing my distribution to places like Fnac (the largest bookseller in France), WHSmith, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, etc., all of which carry my eBook titles via various distribution arrangements. Discoverability, which means having your book in more than one place, is key.

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