"If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster." --Isaac Asimov

Monday, August 25, 2014

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon's foray into the e-book subscription market, Kindle Unlimited, has been interesting to watch. From an author standpoint, it's resulted in a few more "borrows" of my book. As a reader, I might be more inclined to use a subscription service if I had the time to read as voraciously as I did in school and college. Sadly, these days, my reading time is confined to whatever precious minutes I can snatch after everyone in the household goes to sleep.

What most readers seem to object to is the limited selection of books available through Kindle Unlimited. I can probably understand that, but I see it as an opportunity to try new authors and genres--to pick up books that I might not normally read. The other complaint I've heard is that the selection is dominated by self-published authors.

As a self-published author, I'd be the first to admit that there's a lot of terrible writing out there. The biggest problem that I see is authors who rush their manuscript into publication, without revision, editing, or even proofreading. The traditional publishing process has numerous gatekeepers who filter out this sort of writing for the most part--there's still awful writing that gets published, but it's generally free of typos and grammatical errors.

However, there's also some outstanding work being self-published, in just about every genre and category. I think readers who dismiss programs like Kindle Unlimited just because they're dominated by self-published authors could be missing out on some great books. Part of the self-publishing reality, when compared to traditional publishing, is that readers are now the gatekeepers, instead of agents and editors. The trade-off for this additional burden imposed on the reader is (usually) lower prices on self-published books compared to those from the Big Five.

I think Kindle Unlimited could be a good opportunity for readers and self-published authors to discover each other. Time will tell if the program succeeds.

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