Selena Kitt on The New Kindle Unlimited - What It Means for Authors and Readers
Hugh Howey on Why KU Short Fiction Still Makes Sense
The Guardian on Amazon's Pay-Per-Page Plan Could Alter Writing As Well As Royalties
David Daughran on The Great Amazon Hysteria: Part 31
Now, me, my knee jerk reaction was - I hope this doesn't make readers eventually think quantity = quality (in terms of the book's length). But then I got to read other people's reactions - saw how they perceived it in a different way, and yes, I do see their points, too. Some people think, for instance, consider the new payout scheme is a great thing because authors who write real page-turners are rewarded more than those who, well, don't.
Remember when movies couldn't yet be downloaded online illegally? When there weren't pirated movies you could buy easily (or at least it's still so in Third World countries like PH)? Before movie piracy, there were video rental stores. Back then, I was one of their loyal customers. Sometimes, I'd end up paying them a visit more than once a week, and I'd usually borrow several so I can take advantage of their 4 + 1 free promo.
Anyway, there'd be times when I'd borrow Titles A, B, C, D, and E, but because of one thing or another, I'd only end up watching 3 out of 5. Now, do I get a refund for the two ones I didn't get to watch? Nope. And that's okay. It's only fair, IMHO, which is also the same reason why I don't think the new payout scheme is completely fair.
Of course, I also know it's early times yet. Moreover, we saw how things eventually worked out for brick-and-mortar video rental stores. Could be Amazon doesn't want the same thing to happen to KU. And I totally get that, too.
Secondly, there's that new change over at Scribd, which announced its intention to rotate romance titles in its catalog. Two things I can't help thinking about this---
A) Scribd saw that KU would be earning more with their new payout scheme and thought that they should change their policies, too, to ensure they're still able to compete in the long run.
B) KU foresaw what was coming for Scribd and took the necessary preventive action to avoid having the same thing happen to them.
And just so we're clear - those are only my guesses. (I feel it's too big a coincidence that these two major changes are taking place at about the same time.)
Since I don't have any books on Scribd (or Oyster either, for that matter), I don't consider myself in the position to speak about how this would affect its authors. I just hope it eventually works out for everyone. As for KU...I know that their new payout structure is also meant to weed out books that were written solely to game the system (e.g. creating 10-page "books" so that merely opening to Page 1, which is equal to 10% of the book, will earn them a dollar). I'm all for that but, personally, I'd rather Amazon offer KU authors a choice - higher pay-per-page rate vs. a low but fixed rate for the number of times your book's borrowed up to at least 10% (basically the old rule).
I just feel this would be fairer. Getting paid per page will make KU worth it for authors with, say, longer novels or those who believe they've more to gain from it (i.e. they know their books are read cover to cover).
As for those who opted for a lower fixed rate, these authors may earn less per book but at least they also don't need to worry about whether readers who borrowed their works actually have time to read them, too.
What does this mean to Filipino authors?
I used to advise new or aspiring Filipino authors to give KU a try so they could enjoy added exposure / visibility for their titles. I also encouraged them to write serials - if their story allows it and they're comfortable writing it (like I am. I'm sorry, but I just love the high I get when writing a cliffhanger).
However, due to these changes, I personally think it's best you hold off from enrolling in KU just yet. Let's wait and see how much the pay per page is after July (we should know mid-August). You can publish your new book whenever you want, but just keep in mind that KU + new releases tends to work better than KU + old releases. Since with your first 30 days, you have a shot at getting on the Hot New Releases lists, you're likely to get more clicks if you're in KU while your book's ranking.
P.S. Everything above is only my opinion. You're entitled NOT to believe it's right, and you're entitled to your OWN opinion, too. Also, I only have a few books in KU and they're not my biggest earners. I have little to (directly) gain or lose, regardless of how the new KU payout scheme works.
P.P.S. Today (July 1, 2015) is Day 1 of KU's new payout scheme. Let's see how it goes. Also, remember that you can un-enroll your books from KU anytime between July 1 and Sept. 30.