Give by Borrowing: Amazon’s Holiday Bonus to Authors

Gifts are an important part of the holiday season. You can debate whether that’s a good thing or not, but it certainly is true.

Well, the nice folks at Amazon have decided to get in the spirit a bit. If you haven’t heard, Amazon has announced a bonus of $1.5M for its KDP Select program for December, January, and February.

What does that mean? Books enrolled in KDP Select are eligible to be borrowed by members of Amazon’s Prime program. For a fee, you can sign up to be in Prime, which allows you to “borrow” a book enrolled in Select to your Kindle for a month. It’s sort of like an electronic lending library you pay to be a member of.

Each month, Amazon sets aside a pool of funds to pay for borrows. That number is currently $700,000. Every time a book is borrowed, Amazon pays that author a percentage of the pool. The number is determined by the total number of borrows divided into the pool number. Amazon hasn’t released figures for November yet, but in October they paid authors $2.36 per borrow.

The $1.5M figure is on top of the $700,000 pool. I am not clear if that is $1.5M per month or for the total of three months. Regardless, it adds to the size of the pool available, which means it increases the per-borrow payoff.

What’s nice is that this bonus isn’t just for December. That covers the holiday shopping period, but books usually sell pretty well in the first quarter. Why? People get gift certificates to book stores for Christmas. So Amazon is going to be paying bonus money during a pretty strong three-month period.

Missing ONCE UPON A TIME already? "Sleeping Beauty" is FREE December 3rd!

“Sleeping Beauty” is one of my three books you can borrow through Amazon Prime.

I have three books enrolled in KDP Select — the two Wolf Dasher novels, State of Grace and Red Dragon Five, and “Sleeping Beauty.” Last month, I got my first two borrows — one each for SB and RD5. In the case of “Sleeping Beauty” that was particularly gratifying, because, since it sells for 99 cents, my royalty for a sale is 35 cents. So getting a borrow on it was much better than a sale — $2.36 is more than the book retails for, let alone my royalty.

Naturally, I’m excited about the bonus money Amazon is going to be paying out, as, I’m sure, are all the other authors with books enrolled in KDP Select. So here’s my Christmas pitch. If you’re enrolled in Amazon Prime, please make sure you make borrows in the next three months. Of course, I’d like to suggest borrow one of my books (and, hey, I’ve got three eligible books, and you’ve got three months, so . . .), but regardless, this is a real opportunity to help out the authors you like to read. We indie authors especially can use your assistance.

So, follow the links below to borrow one of my books for the holidays, or have a look at those available from your other favorite authors. This holiday season, you can give a gift by borrowing instead of buying.

State of Grace
Red Dragon Five
“Sleeping Beauty”


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