news from the world of
- Kindle Lending Library to close on January 4th 2021 by Michael Kozlowski
The end of an era has arrived. The Kindle Lending Library has been one of Amazon’s longest-running services, having been launched in 2011 in part to help boost readership of the self-published works in its collection. The loss of access to this service will be a blow to those authors who have listed their titles in the Kindle Store, in that it will lower the circulation of their books, and will be deprived of the algorithmic benefits of proving popular in the lending library––once upon a time at least, if a book became popular in the Kindle Lending Library, it gained both word-of-mouth benefits in its offline sales and in exposure to new readers on Amazon by way of the “If you liked [x] you might also like [y]” algorithm. Writes Kozlowski, “This program was basically supplanted in 2016, when Amazon released Prime Reading. […] You can borrow up to 8 titles at a time, so it makes sense to use this over the Lending Library. Prime Reading is also available in way more markets, such as Canada, US, most of Europe and even China.” His next paragraph is even more telling:
If Kozlowski is correct, most readers who use Amazon as their point source for new reading material will already have crossed over from the lending library to the Prime Reading option, so the end of the service may have no further negative impact on self-publishing authors. That said, it marks both the end of an era and reflects Amazon’s overall shift away from its early days of author advocacy to a de-prioritization of those same authors’ best interests.
- Navigating the Parallel but Uneven Ecosystems of Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing by Evan Winter
Evan Winter, a traditionally published fantasy author, originally published this think piece in the SFWA Bulletin, a publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and one of the premiere SF&F-related publications out there. Even though Winter himself has chosen to publish exclusively by way of the traditional route, he structures his article as a sort of exposé of the publishing industry overall and comparing both traditional and self-published “ecosystems.” Writes Winter, “Not long ago, I was asked where traditional publishing spaces are failing self-published writers, and I think I may have an answer: everywhere.” His decision, he writes, was informed by the democratizing influence of self-publishing and the power of traditional publishing to promote his books’ visibility––spliced with a healthy abundance of representat
While he goes on to define the benefits to self-publishing for diverse authors who have not had a chance to see characters like them on the page––”Today, self-published writers can be read, make a living, and put out stories that might have an ardent audience even if those same stories wouldn’t attract an advocate in traditional publishing”––Winter admits that he chose to publish traditionally for commercial reasons. Even though this article is a testimony to that choice, it also, we believe, poses an important question to authors wavering in their own decision-making: How much do you value the preservation of your original perfect vision for your book’s content? That’s the trade-off: visibility for creative control. It’s a tough choice for many, we know.