If the fabulously wealthy Taylor Swift thinks music royalties are too low you can imagine what authors will think of a new idea from eBook giant Amazon, which announced Monday a new pricing plan that will see its Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library authors paid based on the number of pages users read.
Amazon is looking to compensate writers for their work on longer titles while at the same time encourage quality material. In order to avoid cheating, by say wider margins or larger font sizes, Amazon will use a normalized page count that compensates for how much content is actually in a book, so that the rate will be the same no matter the layout.
This may change the format of what you read, as images will count as content, so there may be novels with a few extra illustrations.
Yet the move may punish authors of textbooks, industry guides and other reference books that aren't likely to be read cover-to-cover. The new pricing also raises the concern that writers will compromise stories by including more cliffhangers, epilogues and other tactics designed strictly to make you read more but not necessarily better content.
The impact is not likely to be felt right away, given this will only affect how authors are compensated on Amazon's subscription services. Users can buy titles at regular prices, but depending on how its trials go Amazon may well unveil this model to its regular eBook distribution system.