Should independent authors opt-in to Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited program?

I received an email from Amazon announcing its new Unlimited program that provides royalties for books read by subscribers to this new service that allows readers unlimited access to all participating author’s works for a monthly fee. The new subscription service is Amazon’s answer to Scribd and Oyster. It did not take me long to find the usual Amazon catch though: exclusivity. Authors who wish to have their indie books listed in this new service must restrict distribution of their Kindle titles to Amazon–just like KDP Select. In keeping with the Select paradigm, Amazon will add $800,000 to its Select global fund for author’s royalties under this new service.

While this may be a very welcomed addition for authors who distribute their books exclusively through Kindle, the exclusivity arrangement is unappealing to me and I will not participate, just as I no longer participate in KDP Select. I already enjoy access to Scribd and Oyster as well as BN, iBoks, Baker & Taylor, Library Direct, Overdrive and other retailers (including Amazon) through Smashwords.  Although I would gladly participate in this new Amazon subscription program as a reader and author if exclusivity were not required, giving up much more appealing distribution channels for an Amazon-exclusive  distribution is about as appealing as buying shares of the Brooklyn Bridge. Ayone feel differently about this?


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