On December 1, Amazon is going to go public with the announcement that self-published ebook authors are going to be invited to join its Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. It has established a fund of $500,000 for the first five months to compensate indie authors whose works are borrowed from this digital library. How that payout will work has not been released, whether there is a one-time payment for participation (less likely) or a per-borrow compensation (more likely).
There is, of course, a catch. In order to be included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, indie authors must agree to make their works available only through Amazon, meaning the potential for losing sales from other platforms.
Laura Hazard Owen of paidContent.org had this to say in her article:
“The traditional publishers participating voluntarily (and it is unclear how many of them are participating voluntarily; it may be just a couple) in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library are certainly not required to make their books exclusive to Amazon. But it appears that is required for the self-published authors that Amazon invites to participate” (Nov. 21)
That will very likely prove to be the draw for many indie authors interested in this offer. The chance to be cataloged alongside bestselling authors may be too tempting to pass up, even at the expense of potentially losing sales on other platforms. For Amazon’s part, it’s a bold step to fill its library catalog with indie authors, a move which speaks volumes about where the publishing industry may be headed.