Industry News

Amazon’s Virtual Voice poised to change Audiobook Industry

By: Ginger | Posted on December 8, 2023

This December, Amazon invited a number of self-published authors to beta-test Virtual Voice – a service that promises to make the production and distribution of audiobooks as easy, seamless, and accessible as Kindle Direct Publishing was for authors of the written word. However, many audiobook producers and voice actors are upset at this platform – arguing that it will devastate their business model, and ultimately diminish the quality of audiobooks being offered to the public. Today, Ginger takes a look at this service and why, while not the first of its kind, it is likely to become the most dominant. He also examines what it means to the industry, both from the perspective of authors as well as from the perspective of the human narrators and audiobook producers that it is poised to displace. Amazon revolutionized the publishing industry on November 19, 2007 with the launch of the Kindle, an… Read More >

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it in 2023?

By: Ginger | Posted on September 22, 2023

While some authors publish wide across multiple online storefronts, there are a great many others that are exclusive to Amazon due to their KDP Select enrollment terms. As part of that enrollment, their books are available to readers with a Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscription, and the authors are paid per pages read from a common pool of money. But as KU Page Reads hit their lowest payout ever this past July, those same authors may be asking themselves “Is Kindle Unlimited worth it in 2023?”  That’s exactly the question that Ginger is looking to answer this week, as he examines the pros and cons of remaining in KU as the main benefit to authors continues to fall, month over month. There may not be a single answer that applies to everyone, but knowing the facts can help make an informed decision for anyone still on the fence, or simply deciding… Read More >

Are AI-generated Books Already Ruining Kindle Unlimited?

By: Ginger | Posted on July 21, 2023

With the rising number of low quality AI-generated books flooding the digital bookshelves, there is already cause for concern about how this affects authors and customers alike. This is especially true for those books that are part of the Kindle Unlimited program.  Many authors are suspicious of the sheer number of these titles, often with poor covers and questionable content, that have somehow made it onto the bestseller lists. It is believed that many of these books are being artificially pumped up via click farms that are downloading and “reading” the books, not only pushing out more legitimate books from the top charts, but also taking an unfair share of the KU money pool. So what, if anything, is Amazon doing about it? According to some sources, AI-generated books are flooding Amazon’s best-seller lists and causing concerns for both authors and readers enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. When it comes to… Read More >

Amazon Makes Huge Change to KDP Book Categories

By: Ginger | Posted on June 9, 2023

If you’re a self-published author relying on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, you need to be aware of a recent change that can significantly impact your book’s visibility. The publishing giant has revised its category selection process, limiting authors to just three KDP book categories instead of the previous ten. While this simplifies the process and addresses abuse, it also raises concerns about your book getting lost among the vast sea of titles. As Ginger describes in his analysis below, there are a variety of implications to these changes and potential ways you may be impacted. Authors that don’t take action soon may find their existing books recategorized automatically, and leaving something that crucial to an algorithm or poorly trained rep is unlikely to do your career any favors. By proactively fixing them yourself, you’ll ensure you are placed in the best categories possible for your book, leading to maximum… Read More >

Should Amazon impose a ban on AI-authors?

By: Ginger | Posted on June 2, 2023

Like it or not, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, but how does it impact authors? Can it really be used as a replacement to write books, and if so, should companies like Amazon be moving to ban AI-authors from their KDP platform?  With such a new and rapidly changing technology, there are often more questions than answers, especially when that technology seems to threaten jobs. To help make sense of it all, Ginger is looking at the current state of Artificial Intelligence and how it applies to writing. Is it time for publishing companies to try and put a stop to it, or is it already too late? And more importantly, do authors really have anything to worry about? It may still be in its infancy, but Artificial Intelligence is already changing the very nature of the world around us. It seems like we hear new examples of this… Read More >

Traditional Publishing Declares War on Florida Book Bans

By: Ginger | Posted on May 26, 2023

Despite the rise of self-published authors, traditional publishers still hold significant influence, particularly in reaching school-aged readers and supplying books to libraries and bookstores. In some cases, that’s actually a good thing, as we’re currently seeing unfold in Florida. There is a legal battle getting underway in the southern state, between Penguin Random House (one of the “big five” traditional publishers), and a local school district that implemented a “book ban” that resulted in the removal of numerous titles from the library system. As Ginger explains, the outcome of this case can have far reaching ramifications regarding not only free speech and the power of books, but towards safeguarding our intellectual freedom as a whole. Many of the posts you’ll find on this blog talk about how traditional publishing is on the ropes, and how independent and self-published authors are becoming more and more of a dominant part of the… Read More >

What 3 things can we learn from the Kindle Unlimited price hike?

By: Ginger | Posted on May 19, 2023

This May, Amazon announced the first Kindle Unlimited price increase since it’s inception, taking subscriptions from $9.99 a month to $11.99. What does this change mean, and will self-published authors benefit or be harmed? To answer these questions, Ginger delves into three key factors he believes led to this move. From the plateauing of KU subscriptions to Amazon’s strategic maneuvering against app transaction blockades, he explores what this means for your earnings and the competition within the program.  Having already disrupted the entire publishing industry in 2007 with the invention of the Kindle and the self-service Kindle Direct Publishing platform, Amazon took another swing at traditional publishing in 2014 with the launch of Kindle Unlimited. A monthly subscription service, Kindle Unlimited (KU) was essentially “Netflix for ebooks.” Subscribers are able to download unlimited books from the Kindle Unlimited library for one monthly fee, while authors who opt into the program… Read More >

Will 2023 be the Year of the Self-Published Author?

By: Ginger | Posted on May 12, 2023

Self-publishing has come a long way since its inception in 2007, or even when Ginger and I started with it a few years after that. The stigma of being self-published was thick back then, and while it hasn’t disappeared completely, there are signs that self-published authors and their books are finally starting to earn the same visibility and recognition as traditionally published titles. With more and more self-published authors earning a substantial income, it’s clear that the grip of traditional publishers on the industry is slipping. This disruption has opened up a world of opportunities for independent authors, and has led Ginger to question whether 2023 will finally be the year of the self-published author. Whether it is or not, one thing is clear: We’re not slowing down and there is still plenty of room for us to grow. There’s no question that the invention of self-publishing has changed the… Read More >

Self-Publishing Reaches Milestone with inclusion in Richard and Judy Book Club

By: Ginger | Posted on May 5, 2023

The Richard and Judy Book Club is more familiar to UK authors, but for those of us in the US or Canada, you can just think of it as the British equivalent to Oprah’s Book Club. Getting your book on their list can do wonders for your sales and career, but until now has always been reserved for works from the traditionally published world. That’s why it’s a big deal that their list recently included a book by Mark Dawson. While Dawson is a very well-known name in the self-publishing space, he’s still not backed by a big publisher, so it’s a big shift to see a book by someone like him be included.  Slowly but surely, self-published authors and their books are becoming more mainstream, breaking through barriers that once only let trad pub books pass through. Hopefully the recent inclusion of Dawson’s book isn’t just a one-off aberration,… Read More >

R.L. Stine reveals that publishers are censoring books behind authors’ backs

By: Ginger | Posted on March 31, 2023

If anyone reading this is still on the fence about whether or not traditional publishing is the way to go, moves like this might help your decision. It’s bad enough when a publisher censors the words of an author that is no longer around to complain or argue against those changes, but it’s even worse to do it to an author that is still alive and then not even tell them about it. That’s exactly what happened to R.L. Stine, author of the beloved Goosebumps series. As Ginger relates below, Stine only found out that his publisher had changed language in his books when he started getting the blame for it on social media from upset fans. Stine was left to defend himself, with his publisher essentially hanging him out to dry. Authors that are concerned about censorship should be aware that unless they are self-published, they’re likely at the… Read More >