Amazon Changes Rules for Some Publishing Royalties

June 23, 2015 Updated: June 23, 2015

NEW YORK—Amazon is adjusting its royalty payments for writers who publish with its Kindle Direct Publishing platform to encourage addictive page turners.

The e-commerce retailer says it will pay its authors for books read with its Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library service based on the number of pages read, starting July 1.

Kindle Unlimited is a $9.99-a-month service that lets users read an unlimited amount from a selection of about 800,000 books.

Kindle Owners Lending Library is a service for Amazon’s $99 annual Prime membership program that lets members borrow books to read for free.

Currently, Amazon pays its authors based on their share of total qualified borrows—borrowed and at least 10 percent read—under these programs.

Since page sizes are different across devices and font sizes, Kindle developed a Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count based on standard settings to measure pages read.

Amazon sets a Kindle Direct Publishing Select Global Fund each month to pay writers for books lent out. Writers get a share of it depending on how many times their books are read.

If the monthly fund was $10 million and 100 million pages were read that month, the author of a 100-page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000.

Amazon said it’s making the changes based on author feedback who wanted to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read.