Kobo Plus is an unlimited ebook subscription program, that has just launched in Canada. Readers can get a free 30 day trial to get a sense of how it works. Readers can purchase a membership directly on the Kobo Plus landing page or directly on the Kobo e-reader. How does Kobo pay publishers or self-published authors?
Each month, Kobo takes the total revenue earned from Kobo Plus subscriptions. They also take the total minutes that all subscribers spent reading that month. Then, they divide the Monthly Revenue by the Minutes Read, which allows them to assign a monetary value to each minute of reading (let’s call it Value per Minute Consumed). This value will fluctuate month to month based on subscriber number and total reading time.
Let’s look at an example. Imagine Kobo has 100 subscribers paying $9.99 a month each. The total revenue for that month is $999. Let’s imagine that those subscribers spent an average of 2 hours a day each reading. 2 hours a day for 30 days is 3600 (120 *30 = 3600). So 100 authors spent a collective total of 360,000 minutes reading on Kobo Plus that month.
In order to pay the authors, Kobo calculates the value of one minute of reading time. 999 divided by 360,000 =0.0027 (Monthly Revenue/Minutes Read = Value per Minute Consumed). The payment rate for authors on KWL is 60%. This means that for every minute a reader spends reading your book in this example, you earn 60% of 0.0027. A book that takes a reader 3 hours to read would therefore generate $0.2916 (180*0.0027) * 0.6) in earnings.
In the sales report, Kobo reports minutes read in measures of 300 minutes. In the example above, this would come out to $0.81 cents per 300 minutes of reading time. These blocks of 300 minutes are how these will be reported in your monthly subscription sales report.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.