Amazon is offering strong incentives to independent authors who agree to have their new titles published exclusively through their imprint, via access to Amazon's e-book lending library. And from the looks of it, those incentives are actually paying off for authors.
E-commerce giant Amazon stated Thursday that its Kindle Lending Library has over 75,000 titles, which is way, way up from November 2011, when Amazon launched the lending library with 5,000 titles. The Kindle Owners' Lending Library is a catalog of ebooks for Amazon Prime members, where books can be borrowed for up one month without late fees.
Amazon Prime costs $79 per year, with the first month free. Members get free 2-day shipping, no minimum order size, and unlimited acess to Amazon's catalog of streaming movies and TV.
Other data from the same release concerns money being directed to Amazon's KDP Select initiative, which gives incentive to independent authors to self-publish their e-books exclusively in the Amazon Kindle Store for at least 90 days.
Authors who publish their independent titles only with Amazon for that time period get to have their books included in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
The authors are then given royalties from the KDP fund for every time someone borrows their book, $1.70 per borrow in December, which had $500,000 allotted from the KDP Fund for author royalties. However, because of popular demand -- KDP books were borrowed 295,000 times in December 2011 alone -- $200,000 more dollars have been allocated into the KDP Fund for January, bringing the available funds up to $700,000.
According Amazon's statement, the top 10 KDP Select authors earned a total of $70,000 in December, which is a 30% increase in royalties from what these same authors earned from sales for the same titles. These top ten authors earned a 449% increase of royalties from November to December 2011, including both sales and royalties from the lending library.
Those among the top ten KDP Select authors include Carolyn McCray, Rachel Yu, the Grabarchuk family and Amber Scott. KDP Select authors who participated in the lending library option saw an increase of 28% in their sales over the course of December.