Why I Left KindleUnlimited
disclaimer: my message below breaks a wall between author and reader by me disclosing information about publishing and authorship. This is my journal so all passages are unedited, unfiltered, and are my opinions alone. I do not expect anyone to make decisions based on what is said, nor expect anyone to agree with or fight for me.
Throughout the month of October, I've pulled each book, one by one, from KindleUnlimited once their term ended.
It's been an experiment these past four years deciding the best course of action to take for my eBooks. Because most of my readers are subscribed to KindleUnlimited, I've stayed with it for so long despite my growing frustration. However, there was a reason I chose self-publishing and that was to make sure my books stay within my control. For an indie artist, it is a constant battle between sharing and protecting our art, then limiting monopolists such as Amazon from having all the power over it. It's scary to think that at any point in time, Amazon could decide to cut pay, ban an account, at times for an incredulous reason, and take earnings if they feel necessary. I've seen this happen but most indie writers have no choice but to deal with it because Amazon is the number one seller worldwide. But this is not the only reason I've left my contracts.
There were whispers throughout the book community between authors that the ebooks that were being stolen and uploaded onto pirating sites were coming from the Zon. But I tend to not jump to conclusions on things that are being said and needed to see it for myself. I needed to find out for sure. So I did a little experiment.
For one of my releases, I made 4 different eBook editions, each with a hidden code. Then I uploaded them to each major platform. And I waited.
It took weeks. Not months but weeks for a pirated book to surface.
Sure enough, it was the code for Amazon.
It was disheartening. For so long I've promised Amazon to have my eBooks exclusively with them, but they have nothing in place to protect these ebooks and have not taken any measures to protect them, either. Not only that, they have banned author accounts for breaching contract due to ebooks being stolen and available on pirated sites (because they are supposed to be exclusive with Zon) while holding author's profits during that time period. When it was Zon who let this happen in the first place.
I cannot stand behind this and refuse to have my books exclusively with a company who can't protect them.
Two letters that have been talked about repeatedly in the creative community. You've heard of artists using AI tools for artwork, there are AI tools for organizing and planning, and there are AI tools for editing.
Recently it has come to my attention that a writing app has my writing style available on its platform. That anyone can purchase the app, write out a few key plot points, and ask it to "write like Nicole Fiorina". And it does, as though I had written it myself. It was shown to me, and I was devastatingly hurt because of how close it mimicked my writing voice and style. The only published books I have available online were exclusively with Amazon.
I'm not pointing fingers, I'm simply voicing my experience.
The only thing I have that sets me apart from any other writer is my voice. It's frightening to think what will happen to the art of writing, and the kind of books that will one day nap on our shelves. If we'll have a quarter of the writer population imitating my favorites, Stephen King or Nora Roberts. Or possibly a time when an author hits the charts, and within seconds, anyone being able to upload a book with their stolen voice under the intention of riding the coattails of their success.
We're in a generation that feeds off of copying others. Whether it be trends being repeated on TikTok, cliched phrases, older music being repurposed, dupes being embraced over originals, the list continues. Unfortunately, this has bled into art. The becoming of an unpoetic age. And AI is the eyes and ears hovering above.
3. Small Business Support
From being the daughter of a family multi-business owner, I understand the passion, drive, and sacrifice it takes in making something out of nothing and following your dreams. If I'm going to be in support with small business, I have to follow through in every aspect of my life, and the first step is not to give monopolized companies more while driving small business out the door. My stance is small in the grand scheme of things. I'm not in any way Colleen Hoover, but all I have control over is what I do with my books, and I am dedicated in supporting small-business owners any way I can.
I understand the benefits of KindleUnlimited, and its cost effectiveness, which allows people to read while saving money. But it also allows Amazon to be the most competitive platform in the book market. I am not asking or pressuring anyone to leave the subscription service. There are plenty of authors available to read through the service who still need your support. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be seen by new readers through Amazon, but for now, my road with KindleUnlimited has come to an end.
It's a decision I didn't make lightly but a risk worth taking and another fight worth fighting. There will be a learning curve on my end, but my hope is that all my KindleUnlimited readers stick around and take a chance on my books outside of the program.
How Can I Read Your Books Moving Forward?
The best way to read my books will be through the NF Shop at a discounted rate, cheaper than any other online retailer. I will also have eBook bundles coming soon to the NF Shop, where you can own at an even lower rate. My eBooks will also still be available at most online retailers including libraries.
The question I'm most asked is what do I, as the author, prefer. At the end of the day, I want what is best and easiest for you. I'm grateful regardless and appreciate you reading my books.