Authors offered $5k to join Amazon's Prime Reading

Authors offered $5k to join Amazon's Prime Reading

Amazon US is offering authors $5,000 upfront in lieu of royalties to incorporate their books into its unlimited reading programme for Prime members.

Prime Reading, an "all-you-can-eat" service for Amazon's US Prime members, provides unlimited reading from a "curated, rotating" selection of Kindle books, magazines and comics, chosen by Amazon Books’ editorial team, at no additional cost to members' Prime subscriptions. It joins other services exclusively for Prime members, including Audible Channels, a streaming service providing access to exclusive audiobooks and original audio series.

Prime Reading launched in October 2016, but according to an email seen by The Bookseller, the company has recently begun approaching authors with an offer of $5,000 in exchange for helping it to fill a "limited number" of spots available on the programme.

The sum will be paid upfront (within 30 days of the book becoming available) for their books to feature for six months. The payment is in lieu of royalties for borrows from the Prime Reading programme, but will not affect payment terms for ordinary sales of the book outside the service, according to the email. Titles can continue to be featured in other promotions, except the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Amazon also assured authors a "a robust marketing effort" would support the Prime Reading service.

Addressing concerns about why authors' terms for participation on the Prime Reading scheme may have changed since its inception last October, Amazon US said: "As this program matures, we will continue to make changes to improve the experience for authors and customers and will use many factors to determine the terms for each title enrolled."

The programme holds books from Amazon Publishing, Kindle Direct Publishing and traditional publishers.

Prime Reading has not yet launched in the UK and a spokesperson for said the company did not comment on its business terms or “future plans” in regards to whether the service would soon be coming to Britain.

“Prime Reading is in the US only and includes a broad selection of books, magazines and comics chosen by Amazon Books’ editorial teams,” the spokesperson said.